The number of ice hockey players in Arizona, based upon active player registration numbers for USA Hockey members, has risen dramatically in the past five years.
There were 7,329 registered hockey players in Arizona at the end of 2015, an increase of just over FIFTY percent in one year. The year before showed a similarly impressive 36% increase after a statistically inconsequential increase (0.29%) in 2013. The membership numbers for 2015-16, while showing an increase, showed the rate of increase flattening out.
The most dramatic increases in 2015 were in the most significant demographics to DHD, youth hockey. The group of kids age six and under had an impossible to ignore, 162.56 percent increase in one year. All of those kids, and a few more, stuck with the program through 2016. The next group, ages 7-8, came in second with a still impressive 76.57 percent increase.
Arizona led the United States in new USA hockey memberships in 2014-15, and had the second-highest overall growth rate in the nation. There is perhaps no more “non-traditional” hockey market than Arizona, yet growth of participation in hockey is pacing the nation.
|Arizona Ice Hockey – USA Hockey Registered Players|
|Year||Total||19/Over||17-18||15-16||13-14||11-12||9-10||7-8||6 & U|
|Percentage change from prior year|
While we’d like to, DHD isn’t taking credit for this growth. Of course we’re convinced we DID participate, but the numbers are a lot larger than we are.
It’s clear that the enthusiastic participation of the Arizona Coyotes in building youth hockey since they’ve been free of ownership concerns is what’s made the difference here. All of the youth hockey numbers started their meteoric rise coincidental with the renewed Coyotes. Their staff assigned to the task are all completely committed, professional, and energetic.
For example, the Coyotes have built partnerships with the local ice rinks and have made a tremendous success of their Little Howlers Learn to Play ice hockey introduction program. Little Howlers signed up over 1,300 kids last year and managed a retention rate of 60%. Look at the numbers in the table above, you can see the impact of keeping those kids on the ice playing hockey.
The future is bright, you’ll see those number spike again next year as Tucson gets more ice time and the AHL team generates interest in the sport.