Each year, thousands of children play in basketball, football, baseball, and other leagues across the country. But despite their prominence in American culture, youth sports have had trouble finding much of a presence online due to their tribal nature. But that may be changing, at least for one sport, thanks to the Youth Hockey Hub, a website launched in 2011 which is dedicated to tracking the scores, rankings, and future prospects of youth hockey across the United States. What exactly does that mean for you as a parent of a present or future youth hockey player? Here is everything parents need to know about the Youth Hockey Hub.
Perhaps the most useful and popular aspect of the Youth Hockey Hub, at least for Minnesota residents, is the tournament guide, which tracks the tournament schedules of Minnesota youth hockey leagues of all ages. Why Minnesota? Because in Minnesota, hockey is not a sport, it’s a lifestyle and that lifestyle indoctrination begins at birth. For most leagues, finding a schedule this comprehensive is nearly impossible, so it’s a credit to Youth Hockey Hub that they do such a thorough job of keeping track of when these tournaments are happening and what the result of these tournaments are. The charts also show the location of the tournament and the level of the tournament, which means that there aren’t any mix-ups.
Another one of the most popular features is the Now Rankings, where teams in Minnesota and the larger United States are ranked on the site. According to the site, the Now Rankings are “a combination of a team’s winning percentage, their opponent’s winning percentage, their opponent’s opponents winning percentage, average goals differential, and how recent the games were played (i.e. games in October weigh less in February than the games played in February).” For now, readers can find rankings in Minnesota, Colorado, and the wider US rankings. You can also view historical rankings to look back on previous years and see who dominated in the past. The rankings range from Bantam AA to Boys High School A, which means that the dominant teams of all age ranges will be carefully tracked.
Along with keeping track of tournament scoring and rankings, Youth Hockey Hub also keeps up with young hockey players who may one day be playing in the NHL. In fact, the site tracks the top potential prospects by year all the way up to 2023. However, in order to see these future stars, you have to sign up for the Youth Hockey Hub Premium Subscription, which costs $6.95 per month or $19.95 for a whole year. Along with exclusive access to these top prospects, Premium members also get access to “Exclusive YHH Stories.”
But even if you don’t a Premium Subscription, readers can still find plenty of stories about up and coming players and teams in the site’s News section, which regularly has features about teams and players that die-hard hockey fans should know before they make it big. Previously, there was a forum that allowed people to discuss players and teams but it has been disabled and the site gives no indication if or when the forum will be returning.
Of course, an essential part of the sports online experience is getting to see the action, which is why Youth Hockey Hub has a wide video offering for fans. While there isn’t too much in terms of highlights (this isn’t ESPN, after all), there is ’10 with Tony’, a weekly video series where Tony Scott, the founder of the Youth Hockey Hub and father of three, catches the audience up on the latest happenings in the Minnesota youth hockey scene, for both boys and girls.
So if you are looking to get a leg up on the other parents before your kid officially hits the ice, you may want to give the Youth Hockey Hub a brief parusal. Because even if it’s just to get familiar with the basic culture and terminology of youth hockey, it doesn’t hurt to do a little research. And who knows? One day you mind find that your kid has lead their team to the top of the Now Rankings or even end up featured in a ’10 with Tony.’ A dad can dream, right?