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10-25-2013, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by BadgerBruce View Post
The raw registration numbers are interesting, but as several posters have noted, interpreting them is a bigger challenge.

For a fulsome historical account of the many self-proclaimed governing bodies/federations in Canadian ice hockey and amateur sport more broadly, Bruce Kidd's 1996 book, "The Struggle for Canadian Sport," is nearly indispensable. Kidd's attention to detail is exacting.

I can't neatly summarize Kidd's research in one post here, but suffice it to say that youth/minor hockey was not really on the National radar in any wide spread way until the early 1960s. Instead, local "Amateur Athletic Associations" (forerunners of today's minor hockey associations) focused largely on adult amateur hockey at Intermediate, juvenile and Senior levels. Youth hockey was left to the service clubs, churches and schools, few of which had any affiliation with "governing bodies."

Even Bobby Orr, in his new book, speaks of the "fledgling" Parry Sound Minor Hockey Association he joined as a kid, how his Squirt team was likely the first rep-level effort in the area, and that the Bruins' $1000/year sponsorship of the association from 61-64 was crucial to the organization (sorry, Killion, but Orr's personal recollection is that the Bruins sponsored the entire association, not just his team, for those 3 years).

At any rate, CAHA national registration numbers were for a very long time not about "minors" (legal age distinction) but adults in amateur hockey.
The distinction between association and team in such situations was always murky. The reality was that the NHL team would sponsor the "Player", the actual flow of dollars was a function of the non-profit structure at the local level. Sometimes the association was the non-profit entity other times it was the team. Key was getting the dollars into minor or youth hockey.

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