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Matt Magness, Fargo, Published February 21 2013

Letter: Fargo hockey facilities limited

Fargo Youth Hockey is growing at a record pace, and our area youth are ending up practicing later and later at night. Fargo ice facilities are simply not keeping pace with the growth. Today, it is common on virtually any night of the week to have youth players practicing past 10 p.m. at area ice facilities.

Hockey families are nuts. Right? Well, we earn the reputation honestly. But, it is not because hockey players practice more than other sports. It is largely because lack of available ice facilities causes practice/

games to hours of the day that others view as unusual, or even “outrageous.” If I play other common sports, you rarely hear of 12- or 13-year-old kids having to practice past 10 p.m.

I am proud that, as a community, Fargo invests in the courts/fields necessary to support fairly good access for our youth athletes. Our youth athletes deserve it. Except, I have to exclude hockey from having the appropriate “access” for area youth.

For a hockey parent, add 30 minutes after practice for your child to change out of gear, run home, grab a snack and you realize your 12- or 13-year-old’s practice was so late you weren’t home in time for the 10 o’clock evening news on TV. That is nuts, right?

We have outgrown our available hockey facilities due to the volume of youth players. As a community, we are requiring our youth hockey players to practice at increasingly late times – simply to participate in the sport they love. It is a problem we need to address. And, we need to commit ourselves to address it today.

Fargo Youth Hockey is committed and working to expand our youth hockey facilities. Yet, we need the support of the residents and the civic leaders such as our park board and school board to accomplish the task.

Please voice your support for youth hockey to your local civic leaders and elected officials.

Magness is president, Fargo Youth Hockey Association.