Awards & Engraving

November '17

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A NEW ROSTER Let's start with a basic outline of which sports fall under the winter classification. Sports such as hockey and snowboarding will always be a staple to the season—that goes without saying. But the big change in this aspect is that, anymore, many sports are played year-round, which means there are more teams participating in different sports in the colder months. According to Cathy Garcia, Marco Awards Group, ice hockey is among the most popular sports in the winter months. "It must be noted that ice hockey is no longer a regional sport," she points out. "Ice hockey spans the USA coast to coast and north to south. The growth of ice hockey has been affected because of the national presence of the NHL." To that list of traditional winter sports, she adds wrestling, basketball, and ice skating. But that's not all. With the emergence of sports specialization and club leagues, winter sports become even more broadly defined. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), many youth participants are starting to focus on one, maybe two sports, but will play them all year long. The association notes that with the growing popularity of club and travel leagues, kids are encouraged to focus on one sport, but play it year-round. Garcia agrees with this point. "Usu- ally the definition of a club team is the higher skill level players, no matter what sport, who play most often, usually year- round," she elaborates. She does point out, however, that school-tied teams gener- ally adhere to the "normal" sports seasons, winter being December through March. Ice hockey continues to be one of the most popular winter sports across the U.S. A&E NOVEMBER 2017 • a-e-mag.com 23 Fantasy Football: The growth of non-traditional sports Brenna Walsh, JDS Industries Inc. There has been huge growth in Fantasy Football. It is a great way to get involved in the sport because you have players on multiple teams instead of just focusing on one team. You can be in as many leagues as you want, and it's much easier to play now because everything is online. You used to have to wait for the paper to come out with the stats, but now stats are easily and immediately at your fingertips. It keeps people interested because you pretty much always have someone on your team playing since you have invested in so many teams. With Fantasy Football, you can have a variety of different trophies and can get as creative as you want with them. Suppliers are also pro- viding more options to choose from whereas just a few years ago, it was mainly just a trophy cup on a base. Now there are even "loser" trophies added to the selection. IMAGE COURTESY JDS INDUSTRIES

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