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Hockey: USA Hockey player membership analysis for 2023-24...

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Published Time: 19.06.2024 - 01:13:33 Modified Time: 19.06.2024 - 01:13:33

Michigan’s situation is somewhat different. Despite having the fourth-highest number of USA Hockey members, Michigan has been experiencing a steady decline since its peak in 2010-11. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many leagues and rinks in Michigan are not affiliated with USA Hockey, so their numbers are not reflected in the USA Hockey membership data. The recent spike could be due to one of these non-USA Hockey leagues transitioning to require USA Hockey memberships. Hockey


As the graph shows, 2023-24 saw the highest number of youth hockey player memberships ever, with 389,820 members, surpassing last season’s 387,910 members. This is very encouraging, especially considering studies indicating a decline in youth sports participation overall and reports of a steady decrease in youth hockey players in Canada.

Examining individual state growth reveals that Florida experienced the highest percentage increase in hockey players, with an 8.4 percent rise last season. Michigan added the most memberships, with 2,966 new players. Florida’s growth is likely driven by the success of the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning over the past decade. Historically, states with NHL teams that are not traditionally hockey-centric tend to see a measurable impact when their regional NHL teams perform well in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Michigan’s situation is somewhat different. Despite having the fourth-highest number of USA Hockey members, Michigan has been experiencing a steady decline since its peak in 2010-11. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many leagues and rinks in Michigan are not affiliated with USA Hockey, so their numbers are not reflected in the USA Hockey membership data. The recent spike could be due to one of these non-USA Hockey leagues transitioning to require USA Hockey memberships.

I expected Nevada to add more than the modest increase of 116 members this season, especially after the Vegas Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup last June. However, it is challenging to account for that state’s capacity for hockey, meaning that the current ice rinks in Nevada might be at full capacity. Limited rink availability continues to be one of the biggest constraints to growing the game.

Breaking down the data by age categories reveals that adult hockey is growing at the highest rate, but there is also growth in the age categories from nine to 18 years old.

Although smaller in overall numbers, USA Hockey membership among females is increasing at a higher rate than the total memberships.

Following the Seattle Kraken’s first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance and subsequent playoff round victory, Washington State added 406 player memberships this season, making it the sixth-highest increase in the US.

While this is promising, I would have expected more, given the excitement that gripped the city during the playoffs. Kraken Community Iceplex tends to be fully utilized during all operating hours, so it could be that they are already at capacity.

Examining the growth and decline by age group in Washington State reveals a concerning trend: declines in the under-eight age category. Ideally, we could dig deeper to identify if specific regions or associations are struggling to attract these younger age groups. While the arrival of the Kraken has been fantastic for hockey’s growth, smaller associations might find it harder to promote their youth programs under the shadow of the Kraken Youth Hockey Association.

For a state-by-state breakdown of USA Hockey memberships, I’ve created an interactive dashboard where you can drill down by state. If you encounter any issues or have questions, please let me know.














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