Hockey By The Numbers: Understanding The Youth Hockey Landscape

The sport of hockey is believed to have originated as a simple stick and ball game in the United Kingdom from the 18th-19th century. The sport has since come a long way and has established amateur and professional organizations all over the world. TeamSnap helps hockey organizations centralize the grueling operations of registration, payment collection, rostering, and scheduling so that everyone can focus on what matters: the playing part.

In order to best understand why organizations are searching for a management solution in the first place, it’s important to observe the sport’s growth and why young athletes, parents and coaches are investing in the game.

According to the Aspen Institute’s Project Play, youth hockey participation numbers have declined from 2018-2020.

  • 2018-19: 567,908

  • 2019-20: 561,700

  • 2020-21: 453,826

While most youth sports faced a hit in one way or another during the pandemic, hockey in particular struggled because of the importance of an ice rink. Many ice rinks closed down or local recreational centers with rinks were low in staff. Bobby Reiss, owner of Ice Vault Arena in New Jersey spoke with about the changing landscape of youth hockey.

“In recent months, several ice rinks in the state were sold at reduced prices. Though they are still running, they are under new ownership. That changes the feel of the youth ice hockey world,” Reiss said. he said.”

Whether ice rinks were shutdown, sold, or under new ownership the sport has seen more drastic changes in participation rates amongst teenagers.

Let’s compare ages 6-12 who participated on regular basis vs. ages 13-17 who participated on regular basis 

  • 6-12 year-olds
  • 2008:  .5%
  • 2018:  1.1% 
  • 2019: 1.2%
  • 2020: 1% 
  • 2019-2020 Change: -9.9% 
  • Total Participation: 291,000


  • 13-17 year-olds
  • 2008:  .8%
  • 2018:  1.2% 
  • 2019: 1.3%
  • 2020: 1.1%
  • 2019-2020 Change: -11.3%
  • Total Participation: 243,000

When we look at USA Hockey membership data, player numbers and coaches have also dropped.

2022: Players: 547,429; Coaches: 58,601

2021: Players: 453,826; Coaches: 54,927

2020: Players: 561,700; Coaches: 61,179

2019: Players: 567,908; Coaches: 60,142

According to the data, the least amount of coaches and players was from the hockey season that ran from 2020-2021, however there has been a spike back up in players and coaches through 2022, which shows a rebound since the in initial COVID-19 period. While hockey like many other sports had to close things down for a period of time during the pandemic, organizations are back up and running and many of them are turning to TeamSnap to help with registration, member management and more.

National data actively tracking the safe return of youth sports activities

See the map

Create Your Team Today!

It’s Free and Free is Good!