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GameSheet Insider – November 2023

Nov 15 2023

GameSheet Insider is a recurring look into sports statistics and trends. We go beyond the scoreboard by diving deeper into game stats to provide interesting and insightful analytics. GameSheet tracks data across hundreds of hockey and lacrosse leagues throughout North America and beyond. Check back next month for more of the inside scoop on the latest trends and analytics.

This edition focuses on the length of hockey seasons. How many weeks per year are youth in Canada and the US playing hockey? This report sheds some light on the variance in season lengths and how it differs across North America.

Considerable attention has been given to the number of weeks young athletes dedicate to sports and its correlation with athletic development and success. How much is too much? What is the right amount of time to continue to develop and not “burn out”? While GameSheet cannot answer these questions, we are hopeful that our data can be used as a stepping stone for deeper research.

Start and End Dates for a sampling of Canadian and American Hockey Leagues

Key take-aways from this chart:

  • Start dates are similar in both countries, with most leagues beginning right after Labour Day.
  • Canadian hockey leagues run 2.2 weeks longer, on average, than American leagues.
  • Canadian seasons generally finish later in the year.

A few items not included on the chart but relevant to the conversation:

  • Many players  in the US play “split seasons”, particularly at the U14 age and above. These seasons end in November, at which time the players begin playing in their HS leagues. This leads to a shorter league season but longer for the players overall. 
  • Minnesota runs a late summer / fall High Performance (AAA) season and then the players return to their District teams, similar to the “split season” above.
  • Young hockey players regularly participate on spring/summer tournament teams, which may extend their hockey lives to virtually year round.
  • Provincial, state, and national championships, which occur after league play has completed, also extends the hockey season for athletes.

This GameSheet Insider report was authored by Luke St.John. Check back soon for more insights about the game.

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