Hockey vs. Education: Canadians are still struggling to score the right balance this winter

1 in 4 parents say they or someone they know regret how much they’ve spent on extracurriculars

Toronto, ON (November 17, 2014) – Although more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of parents believe every kid should learn to play hockey since it’s an important part of growing up Canadian, 1 in 4 parents say they or someone they know regret how much they spent, with many using funds they don’t have to keep their kids on the ice.

The results from the second annual Beyond the Blue Line survey conducted by Leger for CST Consultants Inc., one of Canada’s leading RESP providers, echo our findings from 2013 and paint a concerning picture of the debt parents are incurring:

  • Thirty-six per cent of parents say they or someone they know have borrowed money (credit card, line of credit, personal or family loan) to put a child in an extracurricular such as hockey.
  • Twenty-four per cent say they or someone they know are deferring/using their retirement savings to put a child in an extracurricular such as hockey.

These decisions are being made at a time when household debt levels are approaching record highs and Canadians owe more than $1.63 for every $1 of disposable income.[1] Close to half (49 per cent) of parents are personally having trouble balancing the costs of extracurricular activities with education savings or know someone who is, with the same percentage saying they or someone they know are pulling kids out of hockey because of costs.

“With the average university undergraduate tuition increasing to $5,959 in 2014/2015[2] and some families spending as much as $10,000 a year on hockey[3], it’s no wonder parents are having trouble managing the costs of both hockey and post-secondary education,” says Peter Lewis, Vice President, CST Consultants Inc. “Many families think they need to choose between one or the other, but it doesn’t need to be that way. By opening an RESP for your child, you can put money aside over time and also take advantage of the government matching 20 per cent of the first $2,500 in annual contributions.[4] Regardless of the costs of hockey, it’s something every family should be doing.”

The survey also shows that 63 per cent of Canadians 18+ believe it’s important for parents to save for their child’s post-secondary education before spending money on hockey. In reality, however, almost half of parents (46 per cent) say they or someone they know are channelling more of their precious dollars into extracurriculars like hockey instead.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and forget about your savings goals,” adds Lewis. “Take some time each month to remind yourself of your long-term strategy. Where do you see your child in 15-20 years? How are you helping them get there? If you don’t envision them becoming a professional hockey player, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities. As a parent myself, I know that you’ll never regret investing in your child’s post-secondary education.”

For full survey results, tips on how to balance the costs of hockey and education and insights from Canadians themselves, visit

The Leger survey of 1,520 Canadians 18+ (with a sample size of 441 parents with children under the age of 18) was conducted between November 3-6, 2014 using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About CST

The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that has been helping families save for post-secondary education for over fifty years. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Foundation, C.S.T. Consultants Inc. (CST) is the distributor and fund manager of the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans.

 Focused exclusively on growing and protecting its planholders' savings, CST currently manages $4 billion in assets for over 280,000 Canadian families. CST boasts a sales force of 590 located across the country.

For more information about RESPs at CST, visit, follow us on Twitter at @CSTConsultants and like us on Facebook.

Media contacts

Edyta McKay

(647) 242-5433

[email protected]

Erin MacFarlane

(416) 602-4849
[email protected]

[1] Statistics Canada: National balance sheet and financial flow accounts, second quarter 2014

[2] Statistics Canada: University Tuition Fees, 2014/2015

[4] $7,200 lifetime maximum per beneficiary.