So, you’ve found a sport you like and want to join a team – now what? For young athletes and parents alike, putting a newfound passion into practice can be confusing and even overwhelming. Between paperwork, consent forms, registration fees – and, of course, costly equipment – there’s a lot of boxes to tick off before budding stars can send a slap shot from the blue-line or hit a dinger into left field.
Whether on the ice on the field, newbies vying for a chance to play in one of the city’s leagues are required to register before joining a team.
Step 1: Registration
The registration process varies among organized sports in Yellowknife, from the price to the paperwork
Here’s a breakdown of the registration and costs of two of the city’s main leagues.
For newcomers to hockey eyeing a spot in the Yellowknife Minor Hockey Association – the city’s sole hockey association – would-be entries must go online to submit their date of birth, health card number and parental consent, according to association president Kacee MacLean.
In the minor hockey league, registration fees hinge on age divisions: the older you are, the more you pay. For players under the age of five looking to learn basic skills as part of the Timbits team, a seat on the bench will cost $450 for one season. To register for the initiation team – both male and female players from ages four to six, it costs $570, while novice players – ages seven to eight – pay $100 more.
Registration hits the pocketbook hardest at the midget level – players aged 15 to 18 – where fees reach $780 per season. MacLean said the league offers payment plans so that parents who have multiple kids in multiple sports aren’t stretched too thin financially.
“We try to make it as accessible for everyone as possible,” said MacLean, adding programs like Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart are available for beginners who can’t pay registration fees up front.
For those who prefer FIFA over frozen ice, Yellowknife’s Aurora Minor Soccer League is an affordable option for young footy fans who want to develop their skills in an environment where teamwork and fun is placed over winning. The league hosts players from age five to 18.
Registry fees are $200 to join, regardless of the age-group. The league, which has operated for 25 years, provides jerseys, shorts and socks. Players are responsible for buying their own shoes and shin pads.
Step 2: Getting the gear
An important part of pre-play preparation is buying the equipment that’s right for young athletes. But with so much gear up for grabs, where does one even start? And is equipment really as expensive as everyone says it is?
According to Sandra Stirling, co-owner of Overlander Sports in Yellowknife, the price tag depends on the sport – and the person.
“For soccer, it’s fairly basic. You just need cleats, you need the correct pair of shin pads and a pair of socks to go over them,” said Stirling.
She said a young athlete could leave the store with everything they need to hit the pitch without spending more than $100.
“For hockey, it’s a lot more complicated,” laughed Stirling.
“There’s a lot of equipment needed for hockey …” On prices, she said it varies. “It depends. If you’re a goalie; if you’re a wee guy just starting out, it’s a lot less money than if you’re a teenager.”
All in all, rookies could spend hundreds of dollars on the gear they need to launch their young sporting careers, she said.
At Yellowknife’s Canadian Tire, the same is true – hockey is the big draw and the big revenue earner for team sports.
Crisanto Busbos, manager of the store’s sports department told Yellowknifer families preparing for an upcoming season can easily dish out $300, and upwards of $400 if it’s hockey equipment.
Busbos said it’s usually the kids leading the charge, leaving their parents “scratching their heads.”
Step 3: Get your head in the game
You’ve got the gear and you’re all signed up. You’re ready, right? According to Mustafa Sarikaya, head coach at the Aurora Minor Soccer League (AMSL), young athletes should prepare to bring non-material tools to the field, too, by demonstrating respect, fair play and manners.
“We want our players to respect each other and try to create good friendships,” stated Sarikaya in an email.
AMSL is open to all players, regardless of their skill level.
“It is a fun league. We want all our players to have fun first. We teach them to become team players,” stated Sarikaya, adding all players are giving equal playing time.
“I take great pride in seeing players new to the game excel in their skills, work together with new friends and demonstrate that having fun learning a new sport is more important than winning.”
FACT FILE: ACTIVE OPTIONS IN THE CITY
Martial arts: What? Beginner and advanced Tae Kwon Do for youth ages seven to 12 and 13-plus, recreational Judo for seven-year-olds to adults. When? Various days. How much? $75 to $185.
Dog sledding: What? Dog sled rides for kids ages eight to 14 and 15-plus. When? Saturday, Dec. 1. How much? $40 to $45.
Bella Dance Academy
Dance: What? Various styles of dance, from ballet to hip hop to musical theatre, for young people ages five and up. When? Next session begins Sept. 12 How much? Fees vary based on the course, hours per week and costumes. Scholarships are available.
St. Joseph School gym
Bollywood dance: What? Kids ages five to 12 learn a mixture of Indian classical dance, Bhangara and Western styles. When? Monday evenings starting in October. How much? $80.
Bella Dance Academy
Dance: What? Various styles of dance, from ballet to hip hop to musical theatre, for young people ages five and up. When? Next session begins Sept. 12. How much? Fees vary based on the course, hours per week and costumes. Scholarships are available.
Yellowknife Ski Club
Cross-country skiing: What? Ski lessons for kids ages four and up, biathalon training for kids 10 and older. When? November through April. How much? Membership fees are $40 per person or $280 for a family.