Youth hockey registration in the Pittsburgh area is soaring, especially among kids 10-and-under, according to figures compiled by the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League (PAHL).
Over the past two years, registration in the mite division (8-and-under) has increased 57 percent and registration in the squirt division (9-10) has increased 26 percent.
In the mite division alone, there are now 49 PAHL teams – as compared to the 2006-07 season, when there were 30 teams.
“The folks in local amateur hockey are calling this the ‘Crosby Effect,’ ” said Mark Shuttleworth, the Penguins’ director of amateur hockey. “There certainly was a ‘Lemieux Effect’ back in the 1980s and early 1990s, when local hockey participation exploded for the first time. Now, they’re seeing the same kinds of increases, especially among the little kids, because of the excitement generated by Sidney Crosby
and the Penguins.”
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL), which is the organizing body for high school competition in the Pittsburgh region, also has seen an increase in participation, with 13 new teams added in 2007-08 alone.
The Penguins today invited local amateur players to watch the team practice at Mellon Arena, as part of the team’s continuing outreach to the local hockey community. Today is also the first day of team’s holiday youth power skating camp.