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Alaskans on Ice

The New York Times has an article about the popularity of hockey in Alaska and the game’s role in keeping kids out of trouble.

But hockey can also be a roiling pressure cooker, full of big expectations and even bigger disappointments, especially across south-central Alaska where the sport is highly competitive and many parents harbor hopes that their children might get a college scholarship and maybe even make it to the National Hockey League.

If football dominates Friday nights in rural Texas, hockey dominates here.

“All of us basically raise our kids here from August to March,” said Donna Cooley, who has an out-of-town Avalanche player as a boarder and a 12-year-old son who plays. “We call the kids ‘rink rats,’ and we all miss each other when the season ends.”

The article itself is interesting and a departure from the media’s un-love affair for Governor Palin. However, the news that hockey helps keep kids busy is not really a revelation for anyone in small Canadian towns, or those in hockey friendly states like Minnesota.