‘Number one growing sport right now in our county’: Ice hockey is making impact in Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County Sports Commission Executive Director George Linley recently spoke with WPBF about the fastest growing sport in The Palm Beaches this year: hockey. Originally featured on WPBF 25, you can read the full article and watch the interview below:

Ice hockey has been making an impact in South Florida even before the Florida Panthers recent run at the Stanley Cup.

The executive director for the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, George Linley, said the growth of ice hockey in the county over the last decade has been tremendous.

“Going back to 2019, we had one youth amateur hockey tournament at Palm Beach Skate Zone and Palm Beach Ice Works,” Linley said. “In 2024, by the end of the fiscal year, we will host 13 ice hockey events.”

Linley is excited to see the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final. But he adds, hockey was already the number one growing sport in the county.

“What we’ve seen with the sport of ice hockey has been youth hockey,” Linley said. “But amateur hockey has been phenomenal, and it is the number one growing sport right now in our county.”

Palm Beach County has three rinks and all together they provide six sheets of ice which allows for larger and more tournaments to come to the area.

According to tourism officials, during the first six months of the last fiscal year in Palm Beach County, ice hockey events generated 4,118 room nights. This fiscal year, that number increased to 9,300 room nights, an increase of more than 127%.

“We project at the end of this fiscal year to be up $4 million in direct visitors spending and that’s up significantly from just a few years about when we were at a couple of a million dollars,” said Linley.