Some hockey moms remember tournament weekends by the medals and trophies. I remember tournament weekend by the hotels. There have been some beauties.
Tournament weekends away are characterized by everything in excess: too much driving, too much junk food, too much wine, but far too little sleep. And all this excess is centered on either the hockey arena or the hockey hotel.
I can still remember our very first Novice tournament when we stayed at the best hotel in Kingston, Ontario – the one with the indoor waterpark. There we spent hours of endless fun in a heavily chlorinated paradise. Soon thereafter there was hide and seek in the maze of wings at the NavCentre in Cornwall. Just two weeks ago we endured a major hotel reno in Brantford where our continental breakfast was served in doggie bags. Hotel mini-suites are awesome for hockey mom gatherings during tournaments, but true hockey tournament luxury is a condo. Those tournament weekends in Huntsville or Jay Peak were spent in condos that could accommodate an entire team (not that we did that of course, just in case you’re reading this and an employee of Deerhurst Inn!)!.
Hockey tournament weekends in U.S. destinations are memorable (somewhat, anyway) thanks to the afternoon manager’s special (as in, free drinks and snacks at the lobby bar from 5-7pm). There was the Niagara Falls, NY tournament that offered parents an entire ballroom in which to party and dance the night away (with free beer until 9PM). Jay Peak, VT tournaments are famous for their ability to offer skiing in the morning, hockey in the afternoon, beer and pizza overlooking the Flow Rider surf machine in the evening, and then doing it all again the next day.
Hockey on its can be expensive and adding on a tournament hockey weekends with all that extra gas along with a two-night hotel stay make it even more so. It’s nice to be able to save on some expenses when you’re on the road. So all those hotels over the years that offer free WiFi and complimentary hot breakfasts get five star reviews from this hockey mom. It’s pretty rare; in fact it’s unheard of, that our hockey hotels be categorized as luxury. My daughter and I joked recently about calling down to the front desk once and alerting the clerk that the hotel had somehow overlooked our robe, slippers and complimentary champagne. Right! Truly, the absolute basic necessities of a hockey hotel, besides a bed and a bathroom of course, are a coffee machine and an ice machine. If a mini fridge is being provided along with more than two towels; well that’s practically hockey mom nirvana.
Alongside our collection of Player of the Game awards and tournament banners, are also our collection of budget hotel toiletries. Most importantly, though, it’s their promise of exciting and entertaining hockey memories - because that’s what a hockey hotel can guarantee! What is your hockey hotel memory made of?
Three cheers for hockey hotels – may you find your oasis.
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