While sports can be expensive, there are major life lessons to be learned and opportunities to be had.
St. John’s and metro area house leagues can cost over $500 in registration fees alone without counting the cost of equipment and travel fees.
This can get very expensive especially when parents have more than one child who wants to be involved.
Steve Callahan is a local hockey coach and scout.
“I think sports, as we know, can become so expensive,” said Callahan. “With facilities and, for instance, in hockey the cost of ice time and equipment.”
“I think sports gives us an opportunity to grow.”
– Steve Callahan
In St. John’s, the Avalon Minor Hockey Association’s youngest program starts at $410 per season with discounts if there is more than one child per family. The next age bracket jumps to $570 and the top under-18 level is $620.
Callahan says kids really miss out when they don’t get the opportunity to play hockey, or other sports.
“I think sports gives us an opportunity to grow, to challenge ourselves to play within that team concept.”
He says organized sports build teamwork skills which are important and can help later in life.
It can be, however, difficult for parents who have limited financial resources to get their children into sports. There is, however, financial help available.
KidSport is a not-for-profit group that offers families $300 per year to offset the cost of a season. Children 18 and under are eligible and the application process is confidential.
Alicia Curran is the coordinator for KidSport NL. She says organized sports build leadership skills.
“ … When a child has the opportunity to participate in their community and sport, we see them build leadership skills,” said Curran. “We see them build confidence, we see them get social skills and for a lot of children it’s a way to make them feel like they’re a part of their community.”
It’s especially important for kids who are new to Canada, says Curran. While not all of them want to play hockey, she says sports like soccer can help them adjust to their new country and even help them learn English.
Groups like the Breakaway Foundation and the Canadian Tire JumpStart program also helps kids who want to play sports but whose parents can’t afford it.