USA Hockey's Hat Trick Growth Challenge provides the "blueprint," guiding youth hockey leadership through national programs and resources to realize their goal of growing their association, particularly at the 8-and-under age category. 

By registering to participate in the Hat Trick Growth Challenge, your program will be accomplishing two things:

1) You will drive participation in the 8-and-under age group and ensure that your program continues to grow as players graduate to older age levels.

2) Your association will establish itself not just as the best hockey program locally, but as the best youth sports option in your community!


The Hat Trick Growth Challenge focuses on three primary driving forces of growth: 


Fact: Only 60% of youth hockey players are still playing by the time they are 9 years old. For an organization to truly experience growth, they need to focus on inviting previous players back to the rink.


  • Participate in USA Hockey's 'Welcome Back Week'
  • Host a season kickoff event
  • Hold at least two parent meetings for 6u / 8u programs each season
  • Create your own retention exercise!



Invite children to learn new skills and introduce them to a game that they can enjoy for a lifetime.


  • Host a 'Try Hockey For Free' event on one of USA Hockey's national dates (November and February)
    • USA Hockey national dates (November & February each season)
    • Local date of your choice (must be registered with USA Hockey)
    • 'Girls Only' Try Hockey For Free events
  • Publish your 8u beginner program information on USA Hockey's Find Hockey Near You map
  • Create your own acquisition exercise!



Families have now sampled youth hockey... but that doesn't equal a new hockey player. A low-cost, low-commitment program can easily transition families from consideration to membership, significantly increasing your chances of adding more players. 


  • Learn to Skate - Allow skaters to become more confident on their skates before introducing a hockey stick and puck to the lessons.
  • Learn to Play - Focuses on skating skills, but also teaches the basic skills of stickhandling, shooting and passing. 
  • Shortened Season - Usually offered by the local youth hockey association and should include a level of play geared to entry-level kids.