USA Hockey Magazine

October 2013

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on the fly USA Hockey people & Programs Bauer Hopes Study The First Step To Growing The Game Big Dreams Come In Small Packages OneGoal Gear Brings The Gift Of Hockey To First-Time Players | By Ryan Satkowiak The shrill beeping of a semitrailer's backup signal indicates that it's delivery day at a Colorado Springs warehouse. Within minutes of the truck's docking, USA Hockey staff members spring into action, positioning a forklift into place to begin the unloading of boxes. The precious cargo, which will be quickly repackaged and sent back out to rinks around the country, contains 3,500 sets of equipment earmarked for youth hockey associations as part of USA Hockey's "One Goal" program. This particular shipment contains enough sets of OneGoal hockey bags to help hundreds of associations get their Learn to Play programs off the ground. Each set, valued at $76, contains all the gear – except for a stick and skates – needed to get a beginning youth player on his or her way to discovering the fun of ice hockey. In total, about 450 associations have signed up to earn OneGoal gear, with the attainable goal of 500 sets within sight, said Kevin Erlenbach, director of Membership Development. Among the associations that will receive equipment from this order are 275 associations that completed USA Hockey's 2 and 2 Challenge, a relatively simple program that encourages associations to register two new 12 October. 2013 When it comes to selling hockey, nobody sets loftier goals than Bauer Hockey. One of the worldwide leaders in supplying hockey players with quality equipment for more than 85 years, Bauer is looking to add one million new players by 2022. To reach those goals, Bauer teamed up with Hockey Canada to conduct an in-depth research study to better understand the reasons behind a startling trend north of the border when it comes to a drop in youth hockey registrations. While 73 percent of nonhockey families surveyed said they would consider enrolling their children in hockey, there are perceived barriers — such as time commitment, safety, affordability and hockey not being a "fun" sport — that prevent some families from doing so. They discovered the most effective ways of overcoming these obstacles is to foster a fun experience, make the game more affordable and improve communication with prospective families. These pillars are all basic elements of USA Hockey's growth initiatives that have been in effect for several seasons. With the support of the National Hockey League, USA Hockey has created programs such as the American Development Model and various growth initiatives to break down these barriers and provide families with a fun and rewarding experience on the ice. "After the 2005 [NHL] lockout, we saw our membership numbers start to slip, so we wanted to find a way to bring kids into the game," said Pat Kelleher, assistant executive director of Development for USA Hockey. "Our Membership Development Department is in its fifth year now, and we're active every day with it." players and retain two additional players from last year. They must also commit to participate in both "Try Hockey" days (Nov. 2 and March 1) and conduct a low-cost, low-commitment transition program to give interested newcomers a chance to join a Learn to Play program. By doing all those things, they will receive four sets of gear. There are additional incentives on the table throughout the season that can earn associations even more free sets of gear from USA Hockey. When it was created in 2004, OneGoal was hailed as the greatest team effort ever undertaken to grow the game with USA Hockey teaming up with Hockey Canada, the NHL and NHL Players Association, suppliers, retailers and rink owners to lure more players into the rink. Modeled after golf's "First Tee Program," hockey created "OneGoal" in an effort to appeal to the youngest levels, enticing kids 4 to 8 years old and their parents to give hockey a try by breaking down one of the biggest barriers to entry, which is the cost of equipment. Since its inception, more than 40,000 sets of OneGoal equipment have been distributed in the United States. T date it has helped drive monumental o membership growth for USA Hockey, which has regularly seen the ranks of 8 & Under players topping more than 100,000. Associations interested in participating in USA Hockey's growth initiatives can go to 2and2challenge.com. From the factory to the USA Hockey warehouse to the ice rink, sets of OneGoal gear help to grow the game. USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM Photos By Norman Hayward; USA Hockey Magazine Archives

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