“Why didn’t we go to the Cornwall tournament this year, Mom?” asked my daughter, as she and I prepare for her team’s year-end hockey party. “Well,” I started, “You’ve been to that tournament so many times and the last couple years you said it was really boring so Coach thought we’d skip it this season.” “I never said it was boring!” (She did.) “And I love going to Cornwall!” (She doesn’t) “And all the girls on the team said they wanted to go!” (They didn’t.) “Okay, so there is NO WAY we can skip it next year!” she protested. “It’s my last year of hockey and we need to go for old times’ sake.” (I guess she does.)
My daughter will be playing her third and final year of Midget hockey next season and sounds like I’m not the only once getting nostalgic. Her very first away tournament as a Novice player was with the Cornwall Girls Hockey Association and it does seem fitting that one of her last should as well.
In reminiscing about the Cornwall and many other away tournaments we’ve attended, I thought how our experiences have grown as the players themselves have grown. Take, for example, the dramatic evolution in the simple questions I ask when calling about hotel reservations for these tournaments:
In the Novice and Atom years:
“Do you have a pool – and do you swear on your mother’s grave that it be open during our stay?”
If they answer is ‘yes’ – book ’em Danno – that’s all that matters in these early years. Hotel stays in general are still a novelty to this age group, but the pool? The pool is like having a Slushie for breakfast (not that any of my players ever did that!)! Between games, activities and team dinners, the entire team congregated by the pool. Coaches were not yet worried about rubber swimmers’ legs and I didn’t yet care about drinking wine out of a plastic cup.
In the PeeWee years:
“Is there a Business Centre with computers in the lobby?”
“Do you have free WiFi and is there a limit on the devices?”
"Is there a fridge in the room?"
The kids are now all about gaming or movie watching or something to do on the Internet. My kids sure didn’t have laptops in these early years and darned if I was lending them mine. Head down to the business centre on a Friday evening after the hockey game, and there you will find the team all lined up playing on the computers! And I'm getting tired of looking for ice to chill my wine so there better be a fridge in the room.
In the Bantam and Midget years:
“There by two beds in the room, right? For sure, for sure, FOR SURE, right?”
“Is there a fitness facility?”
“What’s the closest shopping centre?” (A must ask for female teenage players.)
They’re growing up fast and tend to take up more space. They also want to be seen less with you and more with their friends. Best let them go work out by themselves or drop them off at the shopping centre.
The Juvenile and beer-league years:
“I’d like to provide you with fair warning…”
Just kidding! What hockey mom makes hotel reservations for the juvenile or beer-league years (unless of course it’s for herself as in the latter case!)?
There are many ages and stages as our hockey players grow. There are just as many ages and stages to our needs from a hotel as the years go by.
Three cheers for hockey tournaments – and how they’ve changed over the years!
1) The New Age of Hockey Training and Development
2) Jack Hughes wins 2017 Hockey Player of the Year Award for Ontario
3) 4 Takeaways from the 2017 WHL Cup
4) Kids Share Love of Hockey with Taste of Fame at 2017 BT Hockey Classic
5) Team Canada Roster Named for 2017 Women’s Worlds