If you haven’t already, you’ll probably soon be preparing for the first away tournament of the season. The out-of-town hockey tournament is generally all things excessive: too much food, too much driving, too much cheering, too much wine, too much loud music in the car for much too long — and far too little sleep.
I’ve learned a thing or two about out-of-town hockey weekends and hope you’ll allow me to share some of my hard learned lessons:
For your hockey player:
Don’t forget to call your child’s school to report their absence for the Friday games. It’s unlikely your child will forget that they get to miss a day of school, but no hockey mom should go through their hockey mom years without the joy of telling the school administrator, “No, he’s not suffering from flu-like symptoms, he’s off to a hockey tournament.” (Hopefully you get by with just leaving a message.)
It goes without saying that the hockey gear is important for the out-of-town tournament. But let me say it anyway: Don’t forget the hockey equipment. Or the hockey stick. Or the game jerseys.
If your child was the team MVP at the last league game and got to wear the hard hat home, make sure the hard hat makes it to the out-of-town hockey tournament too. Another teammate will be vying for it throughout the tournament weekend.
Some teams have a stuffed team mascot. The mascot’s place is at centre ice during the pregame warm-up, and not centre bunk bed in your child’s room. The mascot is a big part of the team and should not be forgotten. Make sure he comes along.
Whatever distractions and hand-held entertainment your child is used to at home, they’re likely to need it just as much on the road. The hotel may not have a pool and if it does, it may be closed. Bring reinforcements.
Your hockey player is going to want water, Gatorade, between-meal food, or all three at numerous points during the weekend. It’s a good idea to call ahead and make sure there’s a fridge in the room. If not, ask if there is one available on request, and then by all means request it. If none are offered, bring a couple of plastic containers for ice for your cooler because a) you can’t count on there being a functioning vending machine in your hotel for these drinks; b) you’re probably not a millionaire and aren’t keen on ordering chocolate milk from room service; and, c) God forbid you should have to drink your chardonnay at room temperature (not that you can really count on there being a functioning ice machine either).
For you – the hockey mom:
Only consider luggage that rolls. You think you’re going to find a trolley at check-in for all your gear, but you’re not. A cooler that rolls is an equally important necessity.
Google maps is your best friend except when your best friend says “guidance cannot be provided in this area” and you swear you’ll never talk to her again. It’s a good idea to print off a map to the tournament arenas and the hotel.
What my toiletry bag usually looks likes: hair brush and numerous accessories, toothbrush, toothpaste, make-up, cleansers, moisturizers, and jewelry. What my toiletry bag looks like when I go on hockey tournaments: two toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair elastics, clips or a ballcap, Polysporin, Bandaids, Tylenol, earplugs, hockey tape, and a corkscrew.
If you haven’t already lost it yet by this point in the hockey season, make sure you bring along your trusted coffee travel mug. Not only do you need coffee at numerous moments during the weekend, you get a ten percent discount at Tim Horton’s!
It’s not to say that your weekend will be ruined without remembering these tournament tidbits, but they will save you some tears and temper tantrums. And your child might be better behaved too.
Three cheers for out-of-town hockey tournaments – without the tears and temper tantrums.
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