The cost of youth hockey (and how to save money)

youth hockey goalie

Looking to get your kid into youth or junior hockey? You’re making a great choice.

But you should know there are a lot of costs involved. In fact, the game of hockey is the most expensive youth sport to get started in. Mainly due to all the different pieces of equipment you’ll need to invest in.

However, there are a few ways to cut down on costs and save some money.

But first, If you want to enroll your child into youth hockey, you should know how much it generally costs.

How much does it cost to play youth hockey?

The average annual cost to play youth hockey ranges from $1,000-$2,500. This includes equipment fees, league registration dues, travel expenses, ice time, team uniforms, etc. However, this number can vary greatly depending on where you live and what type of hockey program you choose.

According to an article in the New York Times, the average hockey parent will spend about $1,300 a year on youth hockey.

Of course, if your child is going to be playing in house league rather than a rep league where the added expenses of travel quickly pile up, your costs will be cut down considerably because you won’t be paying for things like food, gas, hotels etc.

The cost of equipment

To play in an organized youth hockey league, your child will need each piece of equipment listed below:

Hockey Equipment Price
Hockey skates $59.99
Hockey stick $49.99
Helmet $54.99
Elbow pads $19.99
Shin guards $24.99
Shoulder pads $24.99
Hockey Gloves $24.99
Hockey pants $34.99
Mouth guard $12.99
Neck guard $16.99
Jocks or jills $20
Hockey socks $16.99
Jersey $19.99
Hockey bag $22.99
Hockey tape

Prices were pulled from dicks sporting goods.

All together, that’s $409.16. Youth hockey equipment will cost you between $300-$500.

Throw in the cost of having skates sharpened, anywhere between $5-$10 per sharpening.

Of course, as we all know, kids grow. As they grow, you will need to replace each piece of equipment with new stuff that fits. It will seem like nearly every year you’re buying new gear.

As your kid grows, so does the cost of the gear. Youth hockey skates for example, you can get a pair for just $59.99 whereas a pair of junior skates will cost you between $100-$200.

The cost of hockey league registration fees

Any hockey league you are going to register your child in will have fees, some higher than others. Registration fees for rep hockey will always be more expensive than house league registration fees.

But, chances are if you’re here to learn about the cost of youth hockey, you don’t have to worry about rep hockey league fees just yet.

Registration fees for youth hockey range between $300-$800. Fees change from area to area, and some programs will allow you to pay these league fees in installments.

When I was first starting out, my parents actually took me to play in the next town over because their league fees were far cheaper. Can’t say I blame them.

As your child gets older, league fees can continue to rise.

The cost of lessons

When I first started playing, my parents put me into a program known as power skating to improve my skating ability.

There are tons of different programs for youth hockey players that will help them get a leg up on the other kids in their age group, these programs typically range anywhere between $200 all the way up to $1000.

The good news is these private lesson programs aren’t necessary at all. Do they work? Yeah, sure they do.

But ask how many kids actually enjoy their time in them. Personally, I know I hated power skating and much preferred just showing up to my house league practices and games.

If you want your kid to be the next Conor McDavid, then sure throw them in these private lessons. But if the goal is just to get them to enjoy the sport, start them out in a house league program and let them tell you if they want lessons.

Is the cost of youth hockey worth it?

In the end, the answer to this question comes down to whether you can afford it or not.

If you can afford it, the cost of youth hockey is absolutely worth it. Your child will learn an abundance of life lessons and meet lifelong friends. 

If you can’t swing it, it’s entirely understandable, and you are not alone at all. A sport like lacrosse may be more in your wheelhouse. It’s less expensive and has some similarities. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Ways to save money in youth hockey

If at this point you are feeling as if you won’t be able to afford it, I don’t blame you, it’s tough. However, there are some ways you can cut down the costs!

Youth equipment starter packages

Rather than paying for each piece of equipment individually, you will often be able to find package deals that include most if not all the gear your child is going to need.

These packages will often come at a substantial discount.

For example, you can get a five piece CCM equipment package from dicks sporting goods for $99.99 that includes:

  • Shoulder pads
  • Gloves
  • Pants
  • shin guards
  • elbow pads

If you were to buy the above gear using the (lowest) prices I found on the same website, you would be spending $129.95. That’s a savings of $30!

Buy used

There is nothing wrong with getting your kid started with used gear. My first blocker and trapper (I was a goalie) were super older models my dad picked up from a garage sale, and I loved them. I actually still have them.

However, not all gear should be purchased used. I would avoid purchasing hockey helmets used, protecting your kid’s brain is one area you don’t want to save on.

Often times, used helmets can be passed certification expiration and could even already be compromised, which would decrease the levels of protection it offers.

These days, you don’t have to go hitting up garage sales, you can actually use this great site called sidelineswap. They have some great deals on used gear for all levels of play. No, I’m not sponsored by them nor do I get a commission, they just have truly some of the best deals you’ll find.

Forget the leagues

Perhaps the best way to save money is by not joining a league! League fees add up and can be one of the bigger expenses you’ll face.

Before you put your kid into a league without knowing if it’s actually something they will enjoy, you can take them to the local outdoor rink, or pond provided your area has one.

My first and some of my fondest memories as a kid is playing outdoors with the local kids. If you’re handy, perhaps you could even set up and outdoor rink in your backyard!

There are ways to save money in this game, you just have to get creative! My parents actually got a discount on my league fees by volunteering to be timekeepers for all my games!

The cost of youth hockey is high, but it’s not impossible to afford. Despite the price, it’s a great experience you won’t regret signing your kid up for.