DC's Hockey Participation Likely To Rise After Capitals' Stanley Cup Win
Hockey rinks in DC got "hundreds of calls and emails" in the weeks following the Capitals' Stanley Cup win, with parents wanting to know "how to get kids involved in the game of hockey," according to Sam Fortier of the WASHINGTON POST. Virginia-based Bishop O'Connell High School hockey coach Flip Collins said, "We’re going to see a huge uptick in participation." Fortier notes Collins embodies the "hopes of local hockey experts who anticipate a wave this fall, a second coming of 'The Ovechkin Effect.'" Since the year before Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin’s first season in '05-06, USA Hockey data shows youth participation nationwide "is up" 4%. In the same time span for the DC, Maryland and Virginia area, it has increased 37%, and the former 8-and-under players who "fueled the rise in Ovechkin’s first few seasons are now entering high school." The Capitals practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, and the center's Hockey Dir Brad Surdam said, "It’s going to take probably three years from now to see that huge explosion of hockey players. That (impact) is going to come from the kid who is 4 or 5 years old, whose parents took them to the parade and now is learning to skate" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/10).
FUN FOR THE KIDS: In Las Vegas, Jesse Granger notes the Golden Knights’ youth hockey coaching staff yesterday held a "street hockey clinic for children ages 6-10 at the Walnut Recreation Center." The youth hockey scene has already "grown tremendously in Nevada in the last year." According to USA Hockey registration numbers, participation "has gone up" over 15% from '16-17. That is a "massive increase" considering the nationwide growth of the sport was only 1.26%. Granted, Nevada’s growth numbers are "inflated because the starting point was so low" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/11).