But the one factor you don't hear a lot about is how hockey is expensive to play, and the issue of how to make it easier on the pocketbook is on the docket when key individuals from all levels of the game gather in Toronto in August to discuss the state of the sport globally.
The issue of affordability was front and centre when organizers held a conference call Wednesday to introduce the summit leadership team of Toronto Maple Leaf general manager Brian Burke, Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson and Canadian Olympic gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser.
Burke zeroed in on the issue, saying more rinks have to be built and the ones that have been built have to be better maintained. He also suggested that in-line hockey is an under-utilized development tool, and called for more equipment recycling programs.
"These are the things we need to look at," said Burke.
Yzerman and Alfredsson agreed, with Yzerman adding that the affordability debate has been going on as long as he can remember.
"People have always felt that the cost of playing is prohibitive and I don't know what the solution is," said Yzerman. "But I do know having arenas in communities is beneficial to the community ... and everybody, from the equipment manufacturers on down, has a responsibility to make it affordable to grow your business and ultimately grow the game."
Burke also noted that the biggest stumbling block facing the growth of hockey in non-traditional markets where minor league teams have sprung up in the United States is money.
"It does not cost any money to go out to a field with a soccer ball. It does not cost any money to take a basketball to an outdoor court and shoot baskets. It does not take any money to throw passes to your buddy.
"To play hockey you need equipment, you need ice. It has to be organized and then you get on the ice and it is the hardest sport to play by a mile."
Burke thinks Europe has it right because there are three times as many practices as games.
"I think the parents are a big part of the problem. They do not want to watch a practice," continued Burke. "They want to see Johnny out there with four other skaters and a referee and two linesmen, not realizing if we played three-on-three, change on the horn, we can keep their kid on the ice a way more and develop their skill to a higher level."
Alfredsson grew up in Sweden and joined the Senators in 1995. He said one of the first things he noticed was how many more games kids play in minor hockey in Canada compared to his homeland.
"It is important to get ice time and you need to be on the ice to get better. But if you are a decent to average player, you are not going to touch the puck many times in a game. But in practice you can have the puck all the time and develop your skills."
Usually summits are held when there's a crisis to deal with.
In this case, Burke and company agreed there's no crisis in hockey, outside of how to make the game more affordable.