Energy Face-Off (1st Period): Minor hockey road trips

Hockey is Canada’s game and it’s the start of another season! Hundreds of thousands of hockey enthusiasts are gearing up and getting out to the arenas to watch or play. Whether it’s their first go on the ice or parents and players going through their evaluations in minor hockey associations across the country, it is definitely an exciting time. Hockey after all is far more than a great sport: it’s a key social fixture for many families through the fall and winter, to hang out, chat with friends and have a coffee leaning up against the boards at dawn!

Hockey-energy stats

Have you ever thought about how much energy goes into our national game? I’ve done some “back of the envelope” calculations based on my own experience getting one Novice and one Bantam player around the 40+ arenas in Calgary. I based this on doing ten trips of 16 km per player per month, which means that Hockey Mom or I drive 160 km per month per player. With about 15,000 kids playing in organized minor hockey around the city (many also play recreational or adult league hockey), the Calgary drive for hockey ALONE is about 2.4 million km per month!

Now let’s pass across the country, where about half a million kids are playing minor hockey (maybe more- let me know!). Even if we reduce the trips to 10 km and eight times per month, it equates to 40 million km per month or 240 million km per season! If we assume that all these folks just happened to drive around in Honda Civics (compact car with a fairly modest fuel consumption of 8.2 litres/100 km), that means we are using about 200 million litres of fuel and emitting about 460,000 tonnes CO2 per season. WOW!

What to do?

If you are involved with a hockey team (or any other sports team), talk around your fellow players/parents and find out who you live close to. Get a hockey-car pool going and try promoting it in your hockey association or league and get others to join in.

Report back!

How many play minor hockey in your town and how far do you travel for our game? Have you got a hockey-car pool organized? Share your hockey-energy stats and stories with me!

Next up

Coming up in my next blogs will be some thoughts on energy in the NHL and what it takes to make ice.