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In Canada, it seems as though it’s practically a crime if you don’t love hockey. After all, every beer, bank and coffee commercial tells us that it’s our national pastime, and that all the cool kids are playing it. If you’re a parent, you’re going to need a pretty darn great car to tote your kids to all those early morning practices in.

When it comes to the reality of the hockey situation in Canada, a new study finds that parents priorities might actually be a little out of order when it comes to their kids’ playing time.

A survey called Beyond the Blue Line asked roughly 1,500 parents how they spend their income in relation to their children. As it turns out, nearly 43 per cent of the parents polled revealed they’re either borrowing money or putting off their retirement savings in order to fund their kids’ extracurricular activities — like hockey, which can cost thousands per season when you factor in the ice time, equipment and team fees to play.

On top of that, while at least 63 per cent of the parents from the survey agreed that saving for their kids’ post-secondary schooling was more important than extracurriculars, less than 50 per cent of respondents had set up a registered education savings plan for their kids.

The bottom line? Parents seem more willing to pay for the immediate things, like hockey, than they are for what they say are more important long-term things, like education.

The mindset does seem to be slowly changing. Hockey is still a huge priority in Canadian homes according to the study, but it is on the decline (67 per cent last year said it’s important for their kids versus the 57 per cent who said the same thing this year). Now, work-weary parents are beginning to pull their kids from activities because of the cost — at least 46 per cent of those polled admitted they just couldn’t swing it all anymore.

So what’s a well-meaning parent supposed to do?

The key may be balance. Consider putting your kids in house league, rather than an expensive elite or rep program, so that the extra money can go to savings. If hockey is their jam, look into other cost savings such as secondhand equipment. If your children are in more than one sport or extra curricular per season, consider reeling it back, just a little.

After all, what’s the point of paying for all these fun things for your kids to do if they’re too tired to enjoy it anyhow? Your kids, their future educated selves, and your bank account may just thank you in the long run.

Or we suppose you could always just consider enrolling them in baseball or soccer instead.