Stretching Your Hockey Budget During The Season

We clip coupons, scour ads, comparison shop, and who can resist the lure of a BOGO (buy-one-get-one) to keep the hockey family budget skating along a smooth sheet of ice? 

But hockey is an expensive sport and your budget is bound to get hip-checked into the boards from time to time. League fees, travel expenses and equipment costs can rip through your wallet faster than an Auston Matthews wrister.

If I’ve learned anything as a veteran of so many youth hockey campaigns it’s how to keep the fun up and the costs down. And thanks to the bleacher brainstorming sessions and lobby conversations I’ve had with other hockey parents over the years, I started to compile a list of ideas that could help you as you and your family dive head first into another hockey season. 

• Shop, swap and save. Remember the player makes the equipment; the equipment doesn’t make the player. Never refuse hand-me-downs, but never skimp on the helmet.

• Trade equipment with fellow parents. It seems if you have one kid in hockey, the others follow suit.

• Look for last year’s equipment models. You can save money when your local hockey shop clears inventory or even get a deal on equipment that was special ordered for a customer who changed their mind. Also, locate your local shoe repair shop. They can repair skate boots and protective pads, even goalie pads.

• Seek sponsors and raise funds. There are so many generous organizations out there that want to help players get in the game, and stay there.

• The only limits to your fundraising efforts is your imagination. Our kids collected returnable bottles and cans to raise money for goody bags for the end of games (avoiding fast food) and a tournament DVD.

• Share a ride to the rink. If you’re along for the ride, offer to chip in for gas or pay for a meal.

• Download a gas pricing app to guide you to stations where prices are more wallet-friendly, especially when you’re in unfamiliar territory. Some of the more popular apps include GasBuddy, GasUpside, Waze and GasGuru. 

• Encourage your team and association to share the practice ice with other teams. Again, the only limits to what a coach can do during a half-ice practice is the limits of his or her imagination.

• Drive by the drive-thrus. We pack a snack/drink bag for each game. The snacks are for my hockey player after the game and his sister during the game. Our own snacks are more healthful and way cheaper.

• We used an old hockey bag to bring a small microwave, griddle and utensils to hotels. Grilled cheese and soup make good snacks between games. Hotel honor system members can earn points towards a free stay and late check outs after championship games. 

• For long days and weekends on the road, bring along your crock pot and blender. There’s nothing better than pulled chicken sandwiches and your own healthful protein smoothies for the team to enjoy in between games.

• Finally, donate your gently-used gear to another family and pass along your money-saving experiences to help their budgets shoot and score. And who knows, you might even discover enough room in your cluttered garage to actually park a car.

Issue: 
2022-09

Poll

What's Your Favorite Thing About The Hockey Season?
Hanging out with all of my friends.
13%
Dangle, snipe, celly!
16%
Getting a great workout in.
5%
All of the the above!
66%
Total votes: 583