How to slash the cost of hockey

How kids can play hockey for less

Keep kids on the ice without delaying retirement

Getty; iStock

Getty; iStock

Sure, it’s the best game you can name—but hockey can empty a parent’s wallet like no other sport. These tips will keep your kids on the ice without delaying your retirement.

      Play: David Hodges talks money-saving hockey tips and tricks with 680 News’ Mike Eppel

Score with savings

Save the expensive gear for when the little ones stop growing and buy secondhand from stores like Play it Again Sports, or through sales/swaps organized by minor hockey associations or online classifieds. But even for brand-new equipment, kids don’t need sticks costing more than $75 or skates over $300, says Phillip McKee of the Ontario Hockey Federation.

Host a tournament

This year, the Nepean Vipers—a novice-level hockey team in the nation’s capital—slashed its players’ fees to nearly zero by hosting a tournament in return for free admission and the opportunity to do fundraising with the crowds that generated $2,000. By recruiting tournament sponsors they raised another $1,000.

Speak up on team fees

Let the coaches know you want to keep costs at an affordable level. For starters, practices held at arenas outside city limits can reduce fees by as much as 50%, says Craig Shouldice, District Chair for Ontario’s Nepean Minor Hockey Association. And maybe those expensive team jackets aren’t really necessary either, right?

Get a grant

Families of limited means can qualify for annual grants ranging from $100 to $500 through charitable organizations such as Canadian Tire Jumpstart, KidSport Canada and Hyundai Hockey Helpers. If you’re interested, try contacting minor hockey associations in your area, as they’re likely to know of any local organizations offering financial assistance.

Claim your $500 credit

Under the Child Fitness Tax Credit, parents can claim up to $500 toward annual fees paid for kids to participate in organized hockey. As well, for a child enrolled in a day sports school where the primary goal is child care, lower-income spouses may be able to claim up to $250 per week (to an annual limit of $7,000) through the Child Care Expense Deduction.

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