Op-ed: Webster hockey’s potential popularity comeback

Michael Blessing
Contributing Writer

The Skatesmen play at the ice arena with John Burroughs. The final score was 2-2 as the result of a clinch tie in the last 30 seconds of the game. More games like these gather people and inspire interest of the sport for the future. Photo by Shawn Buchanan Greene

Only 35 of the 961 Missouri high schools have hockey teams. Webster is one and the players are thankful. There’s one problem. Not many viewers show up to the games.

A factor in why most high schools don’t have an official school team is because of the high costs for the equipment. That ranges from anywhere of about $500-$1,000. A person and that’s not even mentioning that you have to buy a new stick about every two weeks that cost around $125 each. The equipment is so expensive that it impacts the roster. As of last year Varsity only had about 20 players. Compared to other sports the numbers are not as strong. 

To go too a hockey game is too support the community. Webster is mostly known for the football, and basketball programs but more support needs to be drawn toward hockey because it has the potential too be just as well recognized as those trademark sports of Webster and as it once was.

The Webster Groves Ice Arena was built in 1994 decades before the current high school generation of players were alive. It has gained some attention from the games, but also from other individual events and just free skating in general.  

The rink is so well done in fact that other schools actually sometimes play their games in the Webster rink. This happens almost once a week.The general consensus is that the rink is very professional as it holds a 4.6/5 user rating; with praise coming from the community but this is still not enough too draw more teenagers out to play or watch. 

It’s notable that last year the Blues players traveled through the rink with the newly won Stanley Cup and events like those understandably garner a substantial amount more attention than the high school games. It would still be reasonable to assume however that this would increase the popularity of the games, but that’s not exactly the case.

 Reviewers of the rink noticed the trend, such as an arena review by Bhavik Modi who stated, “The ice is almost always perfect, but I’ve never encountered too big of a crowd.”

Watching a high school hockey game is a safe easy way to get together with you’re friends and support the community. Another bonus is that it’s next too free, ticket prices for varsity games are almost always under $5 or sometimes completely free of charge. The games are usually around 7:30 on weekdays, so get out there and support the community.


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