View Full Version : Your Thoughts on New Player and League Recruitment
08-27-2009, 09:55 AM
Dear IHC Readership:
I would be interested in hearing what any of you might have to say on the following fundamental grassroots questions:
- How do you attract new (i.e., younger) players to the sport of inline hockey and in turn your local league?
- How do you get new inline hockey leagues started in areas that have not traditionally embraced the sport (assuming a suitable facility exists)?
So, both good experiences and not so good experiences would be of interest/value.
Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.
Grassroots Committee Chair
National Inline Hockey Association (NIHA)-Canada
08-27-2009, 10:19 AM
I would take a strong look at what's been done in Richmond VA with the CVYRHL (www.cvyrhl.com). They start the kids at age 4 in an 8U league where they play an A & B line - A is the more experience kids and B is the beginners, and they never ever play against each other - period. So there is not a lot of risk for kids getting killed by an older, bigger or better kid, or worse, not enjoying it because their team got slaughtered. They play in a roller skating rink and many of their graduates move up to play in the dedicated inline hockey rink, but it offers a very low cost, low risk option to get started. I think the costs are like $85 per season. They also have a shed out in front of the building to allow kids to donate outgrown but not out-used equipment, so if someone wants to try out the sport, they don't really have to go out and buy all new stuff just to see if they are going to like it - but from what I see, once most of those kids get involved, they stay involved. We moved away from that area, but completely appreciate what thay league has done to grow and maintain the sport in a pretty small metro area.
08-27-2009, 11:23 AM
where there are schools there are kids.
08-28-2009, 01:53 AM
Contact Richard Kent in Richmond. He does a phenominal job promoting his rink to young kids. He also does a great job keeping experienced player in his programs.
08-28-2009, 02:32 AM
I think you guys in that part of the world have a great advantage. School sporting teams are such a big deal, why not use this??? schools are always looking to get funraising to buy certain items, why not use a participation program for the to gain points that tally up to a grand prize?
By starting a development program, you can invite kids along from the local schools. organise to go to a school meeting, explain your program, the fun they will have and the prizes they can win for their school. If this takes off, you can then turn the next round into school vs school, and on from their.
08-28-2009, 09:17 AM
WOW! Big props for us here in Central VA! Thanks. Yes, both the CVYRL & Shooters do an awsome job. This could not be done without the dedication of people like Richard Kent and his whole family who own Shooters, and all the volunteers in Ashland (Darryl Talman, Nick Hodges just to name a few). We too have seen a decline in players over the last couple of years, but everyone is making an effort to bring the numbers back up (and it is working). We offer loaner equipment and fee discounts to new players. Discounts to existing players who bring in new members, and there has been a real effort to get 6U players playing travel (yes, we should be able to field a 6U team in 2010). I would agree to work at getting kids skating early (4 years old) and playing as well. Remember, kids who can't skate, can't play hockey.
08-28-2009, 01:14 PM
I would say that putting together some kind of fan fair with either the local NHL team or minor league team sending a mascot and/or players while also displaying your league would be a good way to start of a new year (maybe as ice hockey ends in Canada). If you mix in some free clinics and maybe get a local hockey shop to offer deals you might be able to really work up the excitement a bit.
The one thing I haven't seen enough of and think it would be a good idea is trying to encompass grades when kids are old enough into eligibility. I have played so many tournaments and roller hockey over the years while it's been a lot of fun, my living is made well outside the game.
I think organizing travel teams is a good idea for a league too. I think that for whatever efforts you make for the elite players like this, the house/grass roots players should get just as equal of an effort in their honor as well.
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