Thunder Bay minor hockey sees slow down

It may be Canada's game, but boys in the northwest aren't signing up for minor hockey like they used to.

Fewer players registering for popular northern Ontario sport

It may be Canada's game, but boys in the northwest aren't signing up for minor hockey like they used to.

In Thunder Bay, the organization that oversees minor hockey in the region reports more than a 20 per cent drop in registration over the past 15 seasons.

The manager of Hockey Northwestern Ontario said the financial and time commitments of hockey — as well as safety concerns — are driving some parents away from the game.

Trevor Hosanna, general manager of Hockey Northwestern Ontario, said his organization has seen registration decline by nearly 20 per cent over the past 15 years. (Adam Burns/CBC)

“We've seen our registration decline ... in the 15-year total, we're looking at a loss of just under 1,000 players,” Trevor Hosanna said.

"Some associations that used to thrive with lots of teams and lots of players may be struggling now to put a team on an ice in a certain age group, or may not be able to put a team on the ice at all. So it's definitely impacting the minor hockey associations, especially in the small communities to the east and west of Thunder Bay."

Back at the rink, one parent of a young hockey player said keeping his son on the ice is worth the cost.

Terry Hill played hockey growing up, and says his nine-year-old son has been playing for five years. He said he does "whatever it takes" to keep his son on the ice. (Adam Burns/CBC)

“You have to find the time, no matter what it takes — rely on grandparents, family members, friends, whatever it takes to get the kids to the rink or any other activities they're involved in,” Terry Hill said.

Hill also has a daughter, but said she has no interest in the game. Her reluctance to play is a bit of an anomaly, as registration in girls' hockey is up by more than 14 per cent across Ontario since 2005.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.