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Go to just about any youth hockey game and there's a good chance you will hear parents complaining about the outrageous costs associated with keeping their kids involved in the sport. It has been one of the major concerns when it comes to the growth of the sport and it is one that is unquestionably costing the National Hockey League some of the world's premiere athletes.
On Saturday, while fielding questions from his fans on social media, retired National Football League superstar J.J. Watt revealed that both he and his brother had almost gone the hockey route. Unfortunately for all of us hockey fans, we never got to see the dominant athlete that is J.J. Watt on the ice, and according to J.J. himself it sounds like it was due to the costs associated with the sport.
Here's how J.J. responded to a question about why football was chosen over hockey in the Watt family:
Biggest barrier to entry for hockey is the expense associated with it.
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport in large part because all you need is a ball.
Hockey equipment is expensive, kids constantly grow out of sizes, ice time is scarce, etc.
To be perfectly honest I'm not sure which Watt brother is being referred to here given that both brothers Derek Watt and T.J. Watt have also had careers in the National Football League, but either way it is a tragedy for the sport of hockey. To have such a strong athletic family turned away from the sport due to the costs associated with it has no doubt been a huge loss for hockey as a whole.