Packing for a tournament can be a whirlwind experience. Between the hockey schedule and the off-ice planning there’s a lot to remember ahead of an action-packed weekend. There are lots of tips and tricks you learn over the years that help make the process easier. Here are some ideas to keep in mind for all members of the family before you hit the road.
Local rink pro shops and sports stores may not be open during the span of the weekend. Stock up on supplies like stick tape and get your skates sharpened ahead of time. There may be some items you need on the road that you wouldn’t normally pack for hockey. Flip flops are great to wear when visiting the hotel pool and can double at the rink if using the showers there after a game. Parents can also bring bandaids and icepacks to help treat sore muscles that build up over the course of the time away. Airing out equipment after a game helps reduce the chances of bacteria forming as well.
It can be hard to eat right all of the time while on the road. This is where pre-packing comes into play. Lots of snacks like trail mix can pack a nutritious punch and be easy to transport and store in bunches during the weekend. These are also easy to eat during car rides without making a mess and can also be eaten at the rink between games instead of being weighed down by a heavy meal.
Take advantage of the mini fridge in your hotel room to keep food cold. Bring a cooler that can act as a portable fridge – plus during the winter months the outdoors can help with that as well. Paper plates, napkins and cutlery are great for team meals or any food ordered to the hotel.
Get everything together the day before you are leaving and double check before you hit the road. You don’t want to spend hours on the road driving to a tournament and realize that you forgot to pack an important piece of equipment. These extra minutes will be worth it, especially if it ends up saving you hours of time or being unable to play.
Hanging out in the hotel with your teammates is fun but what is there to do in the town or city you’re in? Take advantage of the time away and explore your new sights and surroundings. Look at the tournament schedule once you register and use the extra time for off-ice team activities that can be a fun break in between games. There are plenty of sights to see - the few days spent on the road can turn out to be the most memorable of the season. Check the weather forecast before you go as this could affect outdoor plans or road delays.
Bonus tip: The car rides to and from a tournament are the best times to get homework done so you can focus in hockey and your teammates all weekend.
Some activities at your tournament’s city may offer group discounts for large numbers if given enough of a heads up beforehand. This ties into creating a budget and schedule, as it can help dictate what your team will decide to do off of the ice during the free time. Establishments are also likely more able to take on your group request ahead of time instead of showing up at the door with 20+ people. Your hotel may also have a conference room available to book for a team party or dinner to keep everyone (and the noise that comes with it) out of the hallways.
Going on the road for a tournament can often be a family affair. For the siblings tagging along – make sure they have enough activities to keep them busy when at the rink. Don’t forget the chargers for electronics, and headphones for when in public to not bother others with the sound over the speakers. Some may have other habits or comforts that make the road feel more like home, like fans for the hotel room to block out noise.
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