What is your association doing to grow?

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:10

By Minnesota Hockey

This might surprise some people, but hockey participation in Minnesota continues to grow. Each of the past six years have seen statewide growth. Although there are probably multiple and varied reasons for this growth, the main reason is simple – passionate association volunteers that are committed to inviting new families to the game and ensuring that once a family tries hockey, they become a HOCKEY family. 


So, what is your association doing to grow and welcome new families in 2013-14? As your association plans for the 2013-14 season, please ask your group if you are doing all that you can to increase hockey participation in your community. Does your association have a Recruiting & Retention Coordinator? Is your association applying for the various Minnesota Hockey grants that assist with an association’s growth efforts? 

A common theme for most of the associations that have experienced growth is that usually the simple ideas provide the best results. Staging a “Try Hockey for Free” event ... loaning free starter hockey equipment to first-year players ... passing out flyers at schools ... hosting low-cost, low-commitment beginner programs … incentives for current families to refer new families and many more. 

On this page is information about grants provided by Minnesota Hockey as well as contact information for some USA Hockey and Minnesota Hockey people that can help your association be successful as possible with recruiting new players and retaining existing players. 

Thank you for doing so much for hockey in Minnesota!

Would new starter equipment help your association grow?

Gear Up Minnesota! grant applications are now being accepted. Equipment grants from Gear Up Minnesota! have been used by associations across the state to attract new players and make hockey more accessible. 

Gear Up Minnesota! – a joint effort between Minnesota Hockey, Total Hockey and the Minnesota Wild Foundation – awarded starter hockey equipment grants to 39 community youth hockey associations in Minnesota last year. More than $130,000 in equipment was provided to youth hockey families and associations in Minnesota.

Apply now and let us know what your association has done or is doing to earn a Gear Up Minnesota! grant. It can be a novel concept that has never been done before or a program that worked really well at another association. What matters is whatever it takes to get more boys and girls involved in hockey. 

Grants will likely be for starter hockey equipment, but all requests will be considered. The application deadline is Feb. 28.

A special thank you to the Minnesota Wild Foundation, Total Hockey, Fruchi, West Bend Insurance, Subway and our other partners for making Gear Up Minnesota! a success.

Did you host a recruiting event this year?

If so, you may be eligible for a Grow the Game award. Associations that administered a successful recruiting event(s) during this past season can win awards of $500 to help cover the cost of your growth promotion.

Have a new recruiting idea for next season?

Minnesota Hockey’s Pass the Puck grants are designed to help. Grants are awarded to associations with creative or unique ideas for increasing youth hockey participation. Apply now and you could secure up to $2,000 to help bring your idea to life.

Need help? Just ask.

Contact Minnesota Hockey’s Recruiting and Retention Chair, Shari Olson, at 218-348-2417 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or go to the Recruiting and Retention page on for information and ideas on how to get started.