Ice hockey has been one of the most popular sports in North America for generations. The main reason, of course, is that hockey is just plain fun. But there are also a number of benefits to playing ice hockey that keep parents and children returning to the rinks year after year.
Sports in general have been shown to increase well being and success for young athletes. Children who engage in sports become much more self-confident, and this translates into greater success in the classroom and later in life. Participation is sports also forces children to balance practice with their studies, giving them a vital early lesson in the importance of time management.
Being part of a hockey team means working with others to achieve a common goal. Individual acknowledgements are secondary to the successes or failures of a team. This is an important lesson for youngsters to learn, allowing them to become part of something larger than themselves.
Hockey also provides young athletes with a wonderful opportunity to grow into leadership roles. Every team has its members who are the first to arrive at practice every day, leading the others by example. There are also those players who are always ready with a word of encouragement or inspiration when times are tough and the puck just doesn’t seem to be bouncing in the right direction. These athletes are proving themselves to be young leaders, and the skills they develop on the ice will propel them to greater success down the road.
What makes hockey a uniquely great opportunity is the fact that it is one of few sports played on ice. That means that, when a child takes up hockey, they commit to learning a skill that will serve them the rest of their lives: skating. And by practicing still-handling, passing, and shooting while on the ice, they’ll become so accustomed to skating that it will seem like second nature.
Hockey, like any team sport, has an excellent ability to promote camaraderie and turn amazing girls and boys into even better young men and women. And while growing their characters and mental fortitude, young hockey players will become naturals on skates, opening the doors to a lifetime of recreation.