Woah, Nelly hockey tournaments have kept us hopping since December this season. We have just one more to survive before we call it a wrap for this season. January we had an away tournament and an in-town tournament on back to back weekends. December we also had tournaments in back to back weekends before Christmas. With a boy in Novice and a boy in Atom, we’re all about the hockey tournament weekends for at least a month or two during the hockey season. I shudder to think what next season might bring with all three old enough to play in tournaments.
With that pleasant thought, here are some rules to live by when it comes to tournament weekends. Some apply more to away tournaments than in town, but you get the idea.
1- Always double check the hockey bag to ensure no equipment is being forgotten before you leave. This is especially important if you are going to an out of town tournament. It’s not to say you won’t be able to replace whatever you’ve forgotten when you get there, but I’m told hockey players can be a superstitious bunch.
2- Feel free to consume more coffee and junk food than is advisable. When I say feel free, what I mean is give in to the fact that you will consume more coffee and junk food than is advisable. Try to have a veggie at some point during the weekend, but don’t lose any sleep over it.
3- Cheer until you lose your voice. Three games in two-ish days pretty much guarantees that.
4- Roll with the punches. There’s a good chance that any semblance of routine you might have will go out the window. So make sure you get enough sleep to function…the rest can slide for a day or two. Of course, this is more difficult the younger the kids are. In this case, my advice remains, do what you can to keep things on an even keel. Even if that means divide-and-conquer where one parent handles the player and the other runs herd on the younger siblings.
5- At the end of the day, good sportsmanship goes a long way. Clap for the other goalie when they make a good save. Applaud for the other team if they win. Remember that these are kids and this is supposed to be fun. Just be a good sport. Even when your kid gets squished into the boards and goes to the bench crying. I may or may not be speaking from experience here.
6- You will push yourself to your emotional limits over the course of three round robin games and wonder how you’ll survive if they make it to the finals. Then you’ll push yourself farther if they do in fact make it to the finals. It’s parenthood at it’s finest. When you don’t think you have any more to give, you’ll find more. Even for a hockey game.
7- Pack snacks and water. This has a multiple benefits. Your player will be playing more games in a weekend than normal, so they will be in need of more fuel and hydration. Snacks help. Especially when you have an ice time around a meal time. Snacks stave off the hangry. It has the added bonus of entertaining the siblings during the multiple games. Also, I don’t know about you but travelling, anywhere, makes me thirsty. So a case of water never goes to waste.
8- Have your player ready to hit the ice at least 15 minutes before the scheduled game time. Most every tournament I’ve ever been at has it in their rules that they will start a game early if they are running ahead of schedule. Save your coach and your team manager a lot of stress by being there and ready with time to spare.
9- Join in on the team things. Dinners, activities. If someone offers their room as the “hangout” room, let the kids join. Go and hang out where the parents are. The more time you spend together, the more enjoyable you’ll find it. And let’s be honest, with the hockey schedule being as demanding as it is, when else are you going to get adult interaction? Especially with people who understand things like a demanding hockey schedule.
10- Have fun. No need to elaborate there. Just have fun.
As with anything kid related, when it comes to the hockey life, the days are long, but the years are short. So enjoy the memories. Push your limits.
And I’ll see you at the rink,