Changing interests and demographics affecting local hockey


By Jocelynn Blacker

THIS winter, the Port Dover Pirates minor hockey league teams will be mostly competing at the local league level. There is only one Southern Counties Minor Hockey League team, that being the Peewee Rep team.
In the past, Port Dover Pirates had up to nine teams for the Southern Counties League. However, for the last 10 years there had been only five teams competing in that league. There have been no Novice or Bantam rep teams for several years.
Brad Pepper, Southern Counties Rep Convener for the Port Dover Pirates, said in a recent interview that the number of registrations has been declining.
“We will have, maybe, 150 this year,” Mr. Pepper said, citing a steady decline in the number of registrations for minor hockey programs over the past few years.
When asked why that might be, he hypothesized that youth now have access to other sports year-round such as soccer and baseball.
Hockey is also a fairly expensive sport to play compared to other sports now available in the winter.
Local demographics also say there are simply less young people in the Port Dover area to draw registrations from. Mr. Pepper noted how the local elementary schools have a decrease in student populations from past decades.
The Port Dover Pirates are still offering local league teams in the Novice, Atom, Peewee, and Bantam groups. The Port Dover Pirates also offer a Learn to Skate level for beginners.
Everyone is invited to support the local Pirates team as they play home games on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. at the Port Dover arena.


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