Fewer and fewer kids are playing hockey these days. It's a fairly expensive game and there are plenty of other, often safer, options. Neither of my nephews play hockey. It's no longer a surety that a Canadian kid will strap on the skates each week and chase a puck.
I just watched my oldest play. He's 14 now, and I've been watching him play since he was a Timbit. That's about a decade of house league hockey action, and I've loved every minute.
And I mean it. I absolutely love watching him play, and always have. He loves it, too. I tear up at the thought that one day I'll watch him play for the last time.
For the record, I put my oldest daughter in Timbits, and would have loved to follow her career, but she chose dance over hockey. I still remember my very convincing argument as to why she should should keep playing, and I still remember her gently letting me know hockey wasn't for her.
But two more are coming. My youngest boy is almost two and will be a Timbit in no time. Then, as my oldest winds down, he'll take the reigns. And then his little sister can follow suit.
If I play my cards right, I'll have hockey games to enjoy for another twenty years, and by then I could have grandchildren playing. I hope it never ends.