Minnesota, for the third year in a row, has broken the record for number of hockey players aged 8 and under (8U), according to Minnesota Hockey Magazine.
The report says there were 18,839 8U players in Minnesota, around 15 percent of the 122,135 8U players across the country.
In Minnesota, there were 14,030 boys and 4,809 girls registered in 2017-18, and 7,053 of them were playing for the first time.
It's an encouraging sign as USA Hockey, with the help of volunteers across the state and country, continues to grow the game after data in recent years showed a decline in the overall number of youngsters trying hockey.
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Minnesota has a bunch of recruitment and retention programs through USA Hockey, including Try Hockey for Free Day, which took place March 3 at more than 30 locations across the state. It gives parents a chance to bring their kid to a rink to give the sport a try, often leading kids to extended futures on the ice.
For more on USA Hockey's recruitment and retention programs for youth hockey players, check out their website right here.
“To set another record at the 8U level really is astonishing and shows that the strength of hockey in Minnesota has never been better thanks to the incredible efforts of our local hockey associations,” said Minnesota Hockey President, Dave Margenau.
USA Hockey's Grow the Game campaign focuses getting 8U kids involved in the sport while focusing on safety, growth and player development.