Paying to Watch
For years, I could watch the GTHL and all the controversial stories that emanated from the world's largest hockey organization from a bemused distance.
My two daughters played rep hockey, but not in the GTA. So the issues that seemed so rife in the GTHL never seemed to touch our family. Letters and emails would pour in with parents complaining about this or that, about how their kid was getting screwed, and it all seemed to be happening a million miles away.
Well, that bemused distance is no more. I now have a son playing in the GTHL, which means I'm in it up to my hips.
I was fearful going in, but so far the experience has been outstanding. Great coaches, nice parents, good kids mostly from local neighborhoods, reasonable practice times and generally a good environment for my boy.
Hopefully, it will all last.
But as a GTHL newbie, there's one thing that has taken me aback even though I knew it existed, a reality of life for many GTA hockey parents that so far feels uncomfortable and odd to a rookie.
The price of admission.
Paying $5 a pop to watch your child play hockey, and $5 for the child as well, is something that's going to get some getting used to.
I don't know where the money goes, although I do know the costs of minor hockey continue to skyrocket, and the pressures on ice time have never been greater.
It just seems an awkward way to run things. If I invite my parents to come and see their grandson play, I've gotta tell them to make sure they don't come with empty pockets.
If I bring my oldest daughter and my wife, there's $20 right there.
This, as mentioned, is old news to those who have been around this league for years, and I'm certainly not accusing anyone of doing anything wrong, although nobody seems to be able to tell you exactly where the money from admission goes.
It's fundraising, I suppose, and every organization has to do it in some way or another.
Quite frankly, if the need is there, I'd rather pay more in up-front fees. Digging into my pocket just to watch the boy play, and asking others to do the same, just doesn't sit right.
It's how the GTHL works, I guess. Gonna have to get used to a few things.