Is lack of broadband hurting hockey in Northern Minnesota?

Sometimes it’s the little things that hurt – like not being able to complete the online training necessary to become a hockey volunteer. That’s a big issue in parts of Northern Minnesota. I got the details form a friend in Grand Rapids.

Apparently basic registration as a coach, player or volunteer is pretty easy to complete. It’s just a quick form. But for player safety, volunteers (coaches, locker room monitors, board members, etc.) that have regular contact with the players must also complete USA Hockey SafeSport training. USA Hockey says the training is 90-minutes of online video and quizzes; however, many folks in and around Grand Rapids are reporting it takes much longer due to slower internet speeds in the area.

For each level a coach coaches, they have to complete an online training module. These online modules are designed to provide you more age-specific information on how to best develop your player’s athletic potential. This will foster a fun learning experience for both you and the youth players under your guidance. Like SafeSport training, these modules must be completed online and consist of videos and quizzes. These modules take 8 – 10 hours to complete!

The Minnesota USA Hockey folks are mostly based in the Twin Cities and/or Duluth. They are having difficulty believing that it’s a problem. I thought it might be helpful to post a map of connectivity for the folks in charge. The maps below shows (in pink) the areas of the state that do not have access to broadband – as defined by 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. Some of these areas may have access to wireless options – but with data caps, using a personal hotspot (or MiFi) option could get ridiculously expensive. The problem in these areas isn’t that people are unwilling to pay for faster service – the option is simply not there for them.

It’s just another way that lack of broadband impacts daily life – and another example where the folks in the cities just don’t understand that it’s a real problem with real world implications.


This entry was posted in Digital Divide, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

2 thoughts on “Is lack of broadband hurting hockey in Northern Minnesota?

  1. I’ve been talking with USA Hockey and MN Hockey officials about how the lack of broadband in rural is impacting the ability of the hockey association I am a part of to get volunteers and more specifically coaches.

    I’m happy to report a small win – They will provide a SafeSport official to come to the local area and show the SafeSport training video that will allow volunteers to obtain this important certification for player safety!

    -Traci Gangl

  2. Yay for hockey! And I’m glad we can use this example as way to get people in metro areas to understand that there really are parts of Minnesota that don’t have access to the broadband they need.

    Thanks for the update!! Ann

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