About 1.64 million people are registered as playing the sport, which marks a 2.7 percent increase from last year. Among traditional hockey countries,* the most dramatic increases happened in the Czech Republic (up 13.28 percent) and Finland (up 17.68 percent).
The only bad news is that enrollment dipped in Canada from 625,125 players to 617,107. One probably shouldn’t worry about that decline too much, as Canada still covers more than a third of the world’s hockey players according to those numbers.
Granted, there might be more cause for concern if that number dips significantly each year.
Overall, though, it’s a great bit of news for the sport … especially since the 2014 Winter Olympics are likely to inspire more to lace up some skates.
* – The report also notes that South Korea’s enrollment improved by 28.73 percent and Australia increased its number of rinks from 17 to 20.