It’s no surprise that having a child in hockey is expensive. I had several years where three of my children were in minor hockey at the same time and our bank account was in shock. With equipment, registration fees, travelling, and more, it was a constant expense.
Luckily, there’s a more affordable alternative if your kids love hockey, but your wallet does not.
Ball hockey in Canada: The basics
Because this sport isn’t on skates or rollerblades, children need runners. This is a great option for kids who don’t skate or have balance or coordination issues. The rules of ball hockey are like the game on ice, although the periods are shorter. Games typically occur in gymnasiums or indoor arenas with hard flooring, although sometimes there are outdoor games during the warmer months.
There are several ball hockey associations with leagues in many major centres. The Canadian Ball Hockey Association has branch members in various cities across most provinces, including:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland & Labrador
The Ontario Ball Hockey Association also has dozens of branches throughout the province for prospective participants if you live close to one of these. And if you live in or near Barrie, Niagara, or Orillia, Ont., the BallHockey.com association has youth leagues you can enjoy in these areas.
However, even families not residing in these major centres can still take part in ball hockey in cities that offer Sportball leagues. The good news is, the opportunities for ball hockey are becoming more and more available as more children are discovering how much fun it can be even off the ice.
Why it can be a great option for you and your kids:
Ball hockey combines running, using a stick to catch, passing, and hitting a ball during play, which gives your child an opportunity to develop several key fundamental movement skills through playing. They also benefit from the joy of having fun with kids who are close in age and skill level.
1. Less expensive
One of the biggest advantages of ball hockey for many parents is the cost. After comparing it to minor hockey, ball hockey registration fees are significantly less. Of course, any sports fee will increase as your child grows in age, but on average, it costs around 80 percent less for ball hockey registration than minor hockey. Participants also need less equipment than playing ice hockey, saving money in gear.
In addition, depending on your area, some ball hockey leagues may not need much travel. This difference adds up in fuel costs and extra meals out when your family is away from the house.
Some regions have year-round ball hockey youth leagues, while others follow a standard sports calendar. The versatility of this sport ensures that you can keep your kids active and still enjoy time as a family during the holidays or summer months.
3. Your kids are still enjoying hockey and being active
Although not every kid will love hockey, there are many who do but aren’t interested in skating or don’t have the option of joining an ice hockey team. Ball hockey can be more inclusive for children who struggle with physical activity or for families who can’t afford ice hockey fees.
Finding a hobby for your kids to keep them moving and active can be challenging. It can be more difficult if your family is on a budget or your child struggles with popular sports, like minor hockey. But ball hockey is a great option that might just be the right fit for your family.