Saturday, December 21, 2013

Beyond the Blue Line

My oldest son fell in love with hockey at around the age of 2. We had no idea where this love came from, it was just always there. He wanted pucks in his stocking for toys and while skating on his own was work when he was 3, put a stick in his hand and it suddenly became fun. Because of this love we knew that we would put him in hockey when he was old enough to play. The past 5 years on the ice have certainly been an eye opening experience into a world I never really knew existed (I played piano growing up).

Hockey is certainly an exciting sport to be a part of, but it also an expensive one. We now have 2 on the ice and a third one declaring she wants to play when she is in kindergarten too. My husband I have to plan our budget carefully, saving year round to allow them the opportunity to play. Hockey is an expensive sport, there's no doubt. We have to be real about it too. We view hockey as a fun community to be a part of where our kids get plenty of exercise. We want them to do well, but you can get carried away. So many families put so much money into hockey. They buy specialized sticks and gear. They put their kids into all sorts of extra clinics and leagues above and beyond their regular team. I spoke to one mother recently who told me she spends $10 000 on hockey for just one of her children to play (and she has 3 who take part). Personally, I can't imaging spending that much money on one child for sports. There are other opportunities that we want for our children too.

Thinking long term, I want to give our children the opportunity to take post-secondary education. That's why from day 1 of our children's lives we have invested in RESP's with CST Canadian Scholarship Trust. Each month CST automatically withdraws money from our account and invests it for us, allowing us to save for our kids' futures. Life is all about balance. Absolutely, we love having hockey be part of our children's lives. We also know that it isn't everything in life. Here are some facts about balance from CST:
  • 89% (of parents, surveyed by CST) believe it is important for parents in Canada to help their child pay for their post-secondary education 
  • Three out of five Canadian parents (61 per cent) say they, or someone they know, have borrowed money or used their retirement savings to put a child through hockey or other extracurricular activities. 
  • 36% believe paying for extracurricular activities like hockey is more important before saving for post-secondary education  
CST recognizes the need for balance between extra curricular activities and saving for our children's  futures.  That is why they are inviting the hockey communities (teams and associations) to tell them what they are doing for their community and to encourage the educational success amongst their players.  They will get a chance to compete for $10 000 to go towards their program and help alleviate the cost of hockey for their families.  You can find out more about this program at

I think it is a fantastic opportunity for all of us hockey families to think about balance amongst their community.  I hope you do take the time to check it out.

Disclosure: I am part of the C.S.T. Consultants Inc. – Beyond the blue line blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”