Hockey still the sport of choice for Ontario families with Niagara areas seeing double digit growth

Hockey continues to be a growing sport in Ontario with more and more parents signing up their young stars.

A provincial study shows the three youngest Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) age groups edged forward in participation in 2017-18 with almost 30,000 kids enrolled in the Initiation programs, or hockey school for 5-6 year olds.

That's a 35 percent increase.

Executive Director of the OMHA Ian Taylor expects the increase to have a long-term ripple effect through all age groups going forward, saying they hope to continue to make hockey the sport of choice for families in Ontario and ensure kids get the most out of the game, both on and off the ice.

The study also pointed out areas which are seeing double digit growth in young hockey players.

Three Niagara areas are on the list with Niagara-On-The-Lake seeing at 15% bump, the Southern Tier Zone (which includes Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Pelham, Port Colborne, Thorold, Wainfleet, Welland) at 15%, and West Lincoln/Smithville at 11%.

West Lincoln is in the process of building a new community centre, including a new hockey arena which is slated to be open this winter.