Students unable to play ice hockey in school due to high costs


Photo used with permission from Google Commons.

MCPS should make ice hockey teams varsity sports so that students of all socioeconomic backgrounds can play the sport at school.

In Montgomery County, students who are unwilling or unable to pay roughly $2,500 per year can’t play ice hockey for their school. The cost to play in school is high because ice hockey is a club rather than a sport. By not forming an official ice hockey sports team, MCPS deprives students whose families are not in a position to pay thousands of dollars each year the opportunity to play ice hockey.

Before understanding the consequences of ice hockey being a club rather than a sport, it’s important to consider the benefits. The team and league’s flexibility is one benefit of ice hockey being a club. However, virtual learning is preventing hockey from being able to begin a season. The teams are part of the Maryland Student Hockey League, an association with teams spread across Maryland and the District of Columbia, that allows all students to play without discrimination of race, color, religion, age, sexual orientation, or national origin. Even this year, with virtual learning, not being an official sports team has raised the ice hockey team’s possibility of having a season.

However, these added freedoms and flexibility that the ice hockey clubs have do not compensate for equal opportunity. The price of equipment and ice time is too high for the school to fund. Ice time, protective equipment and uniform costs require the school board to pay more for ice hockey compared to other sports like soccer or basketball. Not only is the price extraordinarily high, but because the ice hockey team is a club, they have minimal fund-raising opportunities, which, if allowed, could give more high school students the chance to play.

Another downside is that the students who can participate in the ice hockey club will not have their hard work officially recognized as a varsity sport participant. Despite the overwhelming time and effort that the ice hockey team members are investing in the sport, they will not get recognition under the current club system.

The county’s current lack of financial support and official recognition is unacceptable. No matter their socioeconomic status, students should be able to participate in ice hockey despite the cost that it may impose on the county. These reasons alone should compel the county to create a new official varsity sport because the increased opportunity outweighs the added cost.