If your family loves all the action on the ice — but your budget won’t stretch to cover the cost of taking everyone to an NHL game — this is your year to check out minor league hockey. Every NHL team has at least one farm team where they develop promising new talent and send injured players to complete rehab assignments. With five different minor leagues in North America, there’s sure to be a puck-drop in an ice arena near you.

Here’s why you should consider attending a minor league hockey game this season:

High-Quality Play

Minor league players are typically young and hungry: They’re looking to wow a scout and angle for a spot in the NHL, so they play hard every game. If you take in an American Hockey League (AHL) game, you might also catch a favorite pro player who’s been sent down to the minors for one reason or another.

More Access to Players

Smaller crowds in smaller venues mean that you have a much better chance of getting to meet the players for autographs — and if you catch a rising star, those could be valuable some day! Meeting a future Hall of Famer can be a great way to build memories with your family.

Great Seats for a Great Price

Those smaller rinks also mean that you can forget about sitting in the nose-bleed section. When you hit a minor league game, you can get seats close to the action for a fraction of the price they’d cost you at an NHL game.

Fun Extras for Kids

Minor league games often come with additional entertainment geared to making the experience fun for the whole family. Each team has its own traditions, but minor league teams love to get the community involved in off-ice fun and games between periods.

Find a Farm Team Near You

Not sure where your local farm team plays? You can get more information about each of the minor leagues by visiting their websites:

You can also check out the Hockey Team Finder for a handy map of all the teams playing in or near your zip code — NCAA colleges included. Find one that’s close, buy some tickets and enjoy another season of intense ice hockey action!

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