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Charle and Treena Dumba with their son Kyle on their Calgary rink. He later rented a home in Port Huron, Mich., so his son could play in Detroit’s renowned ‘Honeybaked’ AAA hockey organization, with its twice-daily hour-long commute. quality=75&strip=all&w=620" /Every weekend for a year, Carlo Cimetta drove three hours from Sarnia, Ont., to Toronto so his then-10-year-old son could play in the high-calibre Greater Toronto Hockey League.
The chance of some child making it to the NHL is such a small number that you needed to have your schooling.” School came first, and if you didn’t have your schoolwork done and you didn’t have the grades, you couldn’t play …The Mississauga, Ont., dad rented extra ice time at a.m.every Wednesday or Thursday for half a year since his three hockey-playing children were six years old.Charle Dumba enrolled his sons Mathew and Kyle at the Edge School for Athletes, a private sports school in Calgary.He spent more than $1,200 building a rink in the backyard and two hours a day maintaining it so the boys could practice shots.So that means we have to make some sacrifices — and they were big sacrifices,” he said.
“From the outside, [people say] ‘This is crazy, this is fanatical, this is extreme.’ I understand all that.
It’s really only the super-elite players who can boast better odds — the kind of guys who played in the World Junior Championships in Russia this month. Cimetta, whom he also interviewed for his book, would be working so hard on his son’s behalf if a sustained career in professional hockey was not among the Sarnia lawyer’s hopes. Besides, one would be hard pressed to find an NHL player today who did not have all this stuff on their way up, he said.
Of those born in the three age groups, 93.9% went on to play one game in the NHL, but only half that — 49.4% —got careers of more than 400 games out of it. A growing industry caters to people with this goal — private hockey academies with $20,000-$35,000 tuition. “If you took all the money you’re investing to get a scholarship at the end of the rainbow and you actually put that into an educational fund and allowed your child to enjoy a hockey experience and if the talent was there, allow the talent to rise to the top, it would be a win-win,” said Paul Carson, the Calgary-based vice-president of hockey development at Hockey Canada.
Parents, he writes, are playing a game of “Canadian roulette.” “There’s always going to be a critical mass of really really good special players out there — I don’t think that’s ever going to change in Canada.
But what I do worry about is kids that get turned off the game at an early age because doors have been closed on them,” he said in an interview.
Campbell said, if one considers the chances of making it. Campbell studied former minor league hockey players in Ontario (where roughly 45% of Canada’s hockey players live) born in 1965, 19 and found only 1 in 1,000 played a single game in the NHL.