Few things are more Canadian than the out-of-town weekend hockey tournament. And joining you and your budding all star is the rest of your family.
The planning that goes into these weekends would make the schedulers at NASA blush. Game times, rink locations, booking accommodations and mapping your route to and from the host city are just some of the tournament essentials that affect everyone involved.
Still, it can and should be an enjoyable weekend for the whole family. Here are some great tips for making your kid’s hockey tournament a safe and fun trip for everyone in your home lineup.
The Road – Winter Driving
Hockey tournament season is wintertime. That can mean rough weather and traveling over icy and snow-covered roads.
Check road and weather conditions before leaving home and before your return trip. Contact your province’s or territory’s road conditions hotline or website for the latest updates and advisories. Always heed road closure announcements and police advisories to stay off the roads. And give yourself lots of time.
Whether your team manager or a committee of player-parents books out-of-town accommodations, group rates at decent hotels are easy to attain provided you book early. The benefits include having everyone stay in one facility, great for team building and bonding between families. Plus you enjoy a favourable rate compared to an individual booking.
Accommodations close to the arena or arenas hosting the tournament ensure you get to your kid’s games in plenty of time.
Not everyone in the family is playing hockey so try and book a hotel that offers amenities like an indoor pool. A decent in-house restaurant is also key. Hotels near a mall or cinema complex offer more entertainment options for the family.
With your time divided between the highway, the hotel and the rink, your eating options are going to weigh heavily toward restaurant food. The concern is to make sure you’re eating healthy (in particular, for your hockey player) and that you’re not spending too much money on restaurant meals.
A good hotel will feature a restaurant offering healthy choices for everyone in the family. To help keep your eating costs low, you could also bring sandwiches and side dishes that’ll stay fresh in a cooler. Take advantage of your room’s mini fridge and microwave (if available). And bring water bottles and healthy snacks to the rink for when kids get hungry in between meals.
Being a Role Model
Every parent wants to be a positive influence on their children – and a kids’ hockey tournament is a great setting to do so. Remember that the game and the tournament is for the enjoyment of your child who’s playing, not your own.
Show respect toward everyone you’re with, and meet, at the tournament – your child’s teammates, the other teams and their families, and the tournament officials, many of whom are volunteers. As well, show your appreciation toward the referees. Your child is watching, will notice it and act on it. That’s a good thing for everyone.
There are number of helpful apps and Internet sites for traveling hockey parents. These can assist with finding rinks in a new town to providing the rules of the game to compiling your little player’s stats. Here are a few you may want to check out.
HockeyGPS Pro by Hockey Science & Technology Inc., for the iPhone ®
Using the iPhone location services, HockeyGPS can quickly provide locations for arena and other hockey-related venues like training centres, hockey equipment stores, skate sharpening services and more. Additional details such as address, phone number, web site and of course, the option to map using Google TMMaps are also provided.
An easy-to-use website that can help you find arena names and their locations across Canada and the U.S.
My Hockey Statsby 3SD Development LLC, for the iPhone ®
My Hockey Stats lets hockey parents track their child’s performance, or statistics, while the game is being played, then review and compare with stats from other games. Stat categories include goals, assists, team goals, shots on goal and more.
SharpSk8s By Hockey Science & Technology Inc, for the iPhone ®
The SharpSk8s app helps you take care of your children’s skate blades by tracking the amount of time your child was on the ice during a game or practice. When the App’s blade indicator turns from green to amber and eventually to red, it’s time to get the skates sharpened.
A weekend hockey tournament offers plenty of fun for everyone in your family, on the ice and off. Through careful planning, being a team player and never forgetting it’s about the kids, you and your family are in for a memorable weekend.
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