There’s a revolution taking place in Canadian minor hockey. Some call it evolution; others call it anarchy on ice.
Across the country, teams are being spawned by the hundreds outside the long arm of Hockey Canada. It’s an entire subset of unregulated, under-the-radar programs, especially for children between the ages of eight and 13. They have become a beacon for parents with needs to fill and money to spend — whether they can afford it or not.
The most elite teams will spend the months of April, May and June travelling across North America — from Boston to Chicago to Toronto to Los Angeles — participating in tournaments that can reap organizers tens of thousands of dollars in just one weekend.
The tabs for parents can run well over $20,000. But increasingly, money is no object. In fact, the competition created in the spring leagues has only escalated the price of success.
In Winnipeg, minor hockey has become a 12-month-a-year sport, where a plethora of camps, tournaments, training programs and teams have been spawned — and proliferated — in the last decade.
How’s this for irony: there are some hockey-obsessed kids in Winnipeg right now, as young as eight, who are on the ice more than any member of the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets.
Read Randy Turner's feature story in Saturday's Free Press.