When 10 year old Taylor Wolsey is out on the ice playing hockey there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.
“It means so much to be able to do it,” Taylor smiled, “I love the sport so much.”
She started playing when she was five years old and now plays right wing for the Kingston Ice Wolves.
It takes hard work, commitment (practice at 5:30 AM some mornings!) and as any hockey parent knows, a lot of money.
“It’s a very expensive sport,” said Taylor’s mom, Erin.
“Her fees alone are almost $1,300. A tournament costs about $500 a weekend. There’s also gas, to and from games.”
CST’s 3rd annual Beyond the Blue Line survey found 1 in 5 Canadians spend $1500 on extracurricular activities like hockey.
It also found 66 per cent of parents say they personally or know someone who is, borrowing money or using their retirement savings to put a child in an extracurricular activity such as hockey.
“We always set aside money to pay for that,” said Erin. “That’s why you have to have a budget.”
The survey also found 63 per cent of Canadians believe it’s important for parents to start saving for their child’s post-secondary education before spending money on extracurricular activities like hockey.
For Erin, balancing the cost of hockey and saving for Taylor’s future education is important.
“My husband and I were in huge debt when we were done university,” Erin explained, “We both owed $25,000 each by the time we were done school.”
That’s why she and her husband started a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for Taylor early on.
“We made a decision that we would, from the day she was born, put money aside so she wouldn’t be in the same position as we were in.”
The family also plans and prioritizes their spending. These days, that means saving money where they can where it comes to hockey.
“I buy second hand if I can,” said Erin, “It helps offset the costs.”
There are other money-saving lessons she’s learned along the way.
“I have a close friend on the team; we share hotel rooms, we carpool everywhere, just things like that to cut costs,” Erin added, “I also pack my own lunches and dinners or do potlucks when we go to tournaments.”
For Taylor, while hockey is a huge part of her life and she dreams of playing for Team Canada at the Olympics one day, she admits – it’s not her only focus.
“I’ve got two priorities,” said Taylor. “One of them is hockey and one of them is school. So, I want to make sure I make both of them my priorities.”