High School Hockey
Many people enjoy watching hockey on television. If you are interested in playing hockey or getting your high school kid onto a hockey team, you would understandably be wondering whether or not hockey is a high school sport. You might also wonder just how popular hockey is, both in the United States and all around the world.
Hockey is a high school sport, but it isn’t as widely recognized as some other sports. There are many high schools that do not have hockey teams. Hockey has a definite fanbase in the United States, but it is not nearly as popular as other sports. It is more popular internationally than in the US.
If you want to learn more about hockey, its popularity, and high school teams, read on. You could discover some information that will help you decide whether or not you should follow local hockey teams, including high school teams.
When you think about high school sports teams, the first sports that likely pop into your mind are basketball and football. Hockey isn’t considered one of the mainstream sports in the United States, especially in high school sports. However, this doesn’t mean that hockey is nonexistent in the realm of high school athletics.
Indeed, there are high school hockey teams. In fact, the National Federation of State High School Association does include both field hockey and ice hockey in its coverage. The website includes sets of rules and resources for each applicable sport, including these two.
Field hockey and ice hockey are very similar; the most visible difference is that field hockey is played on grass, and ice hockey is played in an ice rink.
There are 41 states in the United States that have websites for their high school hockey teams. There are also national high school hockey websites, showing that the sport does have a presence in the country on a larger scale.
There are a few reasons why hockey is not as popular among the high school crowd as some other sports. There are many exorbitant costs associated with the sport. For example, when considering ice hockey, the schools need to have access to ice rinks for both practices and games. Many schools simply can’t maintain a hockey program due to finances.
Also, instead of playing hockey through their high schools, many students opt to play travel hockey instead. This isn’t the perfect option for many students, as it is very expensive and thus usually only an opportunity for the students whose parents can afford it.
Many parents aren’t able to pay for all of the national and international travel included in the package. Additionally, they often lack the time and resources to travel to their kids’ hockey games because of their work obligations.
Another consideration is the time commitment that it requires on the part of the kids, making it hard to balance hockey with school and other activities.
However, it allows the students to use better equipment, provides them with better conditions, and gives them more potential exposure that can be conducive to playing at a higher level, such as college or professional hockey. It also provides the hockey players a more extended season in which they can hone their skills.
You can find a more in-depth resource about travel hockey in our article titled: Is Travel Hockey Worth It? Pros & Cons of It
Overall, even though hockey can be considered a high school sport, its availability to students is relatively limited.
Many people don’t think of hockey as a major sport in the United States. It does have its fan base, but even professional hockey is seen as a “niche sport“, according to Chad Hartman, a WCCO radio host. In 2012, for example, there were 10 million fans who watched the NBA playoff game on ESPN versus the 2.9 million who watched the Stanley Cup.
The difference becomes even more pronounced if you compare the Stanley Cup to different kinds of sports championships. There were 16.6 million viewers who tuned in to watch the 2011 World Series, and there were 111.3 million who watched the 2012 Super Bowl on network television.
However, this doesn’t mean that the NHL is going out of business anytime soon. They still sell plenty of tickets (about 21 million) and have over 1,200 games in the average season. These numbers of tickets and games are similar to what is sold by the NBA. It’s actually a lot more than the number of tickets and games that are sold by the NFL.
In all likelihood, hockey will never be as popular in the United States as baseball, football, basketball, and even NASCAR. However, it definitely has a significant fan base and will always be a fixture in American sports culture.
To get some more perspective, take a read through our article Should You Play Junior Hockey? Pros & Cons Over Other Sports.
Field hockey and ice hockey are two similar forms of the sport. There are differences between them beyond the obvious, mainly in the skills required to play them and the ways in which they are played. However, field hockey gets significantly less attention than does ice hockey. It’s only publicly televised during the Olympics or Commonwealth Games every four years.
Ice hockey is considered to be a well-known sport. Even though it doesn’t get the same attention that football and basketball do, its popularity is growing around the world.
Ice hockey is becoming more mainstream around the world. More countries have ice hockey facilities than has ever been the case before. For example, there are many European nations that are accustomed to cold climates, and ice hockey is a very natural sport there.
One factor that makes hockey quite popular is the natural pace of the game. There are some sports that proceed very slowly, such as baseball. The audience might find it challenging to stay focused on the game the whole time.
However, hockey is very fast-paced, and the spectators need to pay close attention in order to catch everything. Otherwise, they risk missing out on critical moments in the game. The players move quickly, and the puck moves with even more speed.
Ice hockey is a sport that doesn’t depend on the weather, which isn’t the case for many other sports. Because of this, fans don’t have to worry about games getting called off due to inclement weather.
Fans can also be prepared for the temperature in the arena because it will be about the same every time, unlike an outdoor football stadium, which can vary widely in temperature. The ice does cause some chill, but all of the warm bodies and the fact that the arena is indoors will keep everyone reasonably comfortable throughout the game.
Many people go to ice hockey games not just for the game itself but also for the lively atmosphere, the scoreboard that makes it possible for them to keep up with every play, and the fact that it isn’t as politicized as some other sports (such as football) have become in recent years.
There is definitely a certain appeal to hockey, which is why there are high school hockey teams. There is definitely a following for these teams as well, which includes the parents of the students who play. However, there is no denying that high school hockey does not get the same attention as other high school sports.
At the end of the day, if you enjoy watching ice hockey, at either the high school or professional levels, it doesn’t matter how popular it is. It will always be around, and you will always be able to enjoy it with other fans.
- National Federation of State High School Associations: Field Hockey
- National Federation of State High School Associations: Ice Hockey
- US High School Hockey: High School Hockey State & National Websites
- The Davison Index: Travel hockey puts strain on high school programs
- CBS Minnesota: Good Question: How Popular Is Hockey?
- The Hockey Paper: Ice Hockey vs Field Hockey: Core differences in playing style explained
- SBS: Hockey is hugely popular, so why the little sports coverage?
- Sports Retriever: Is ice hockey getting more popular around the world?