Pack your hockey bag, it’s tournament time.

Many things come to mind as you start the car for a tournament weekend.

Hockey bag? Check.

Full tank of gas? Check.

Directions to the venue? Check.

Hockey sticks? Ugh, still in the garage.

If you always wished you had a survival guide to stay on top of your tournaments, read on.

It happens to all of us. Whether it is the first or the 10th one of the season, tournament weekend can be an exciting, high-pressure, exhausting, yet exhilarating time.

Who better to ask than the experts? The people with 20+ years of experience in the hockey tournament world, teaching you how to survive when you’re running on little sleep and making sure your kids are having fun.

Oh yeah, that’s us! The Canlan Classic Tournaments team has executed hundreds of competitive, fun, and enjoyable hockey tournaments and hosted thousands of players of all ages and skill levels across North America.

Over the years, we’ve learned plenty of lessons the hard way, so here are our best practices and all the tips & tricks we wouldn’t want you to forget. We’ve got your back so that you can remember those sticks… they’re still in the garage.

Prepped for Puck Drop?

Whether it’s practice, a game, or a tournament, you always want to ensure all the essentials are in your child’s hockey bag, ready for puck drop. A well-stocked hockey bag can be the difference between a minor mishap and a big emergency. Prior to the big weekend, take some time with your child to neatly pack all the items in their bag and see what is missing to avoid that last-minute trip to the store.

Here is a list of essentials to ensure that the bag is well equipped for any situation during the weekend:


List of Hockey Bag items

• Undershirt
• Shoulder pads
• Neck guard
• Elbow pads
• Shin guards
• Helmet + face protection
• Jersey
• Gloves
• Pants
• Socks
• Stick
• Tape
• Skates

Hot tip: We recommend packing an extra set of jerseys (light and dark-colored) to prevent any colour conflicts with opposing teams during a tournament! (pinnies suck, but it can still happen)

Of course, we all tend to forget the odd piece of equipment during the packing of a hockey bag. No need to worry. At most Canlan Sports complexes, our Sports Shops offer a wide selection of hockey gear from tape and mouth guards, to gloves and laces to ensure your child won’t miss their next shift!

Whatever happens, don’t turn dirty socks inside out.

If your next tournament requires an overnight stay, treat it like a small road trip or vacation to ensure you have all the essentials ready for the weekend. Again, a dandy checklist will come in handy in the days leading up to the tournament and especially afterward, packing up to leave the tournament for home.

We asked a few families, and these are items that they highly suggest being added to your list:

Clothing: Pants, T-shirts, Sweatshirts, Underwear, Socks, Pajamas, Bathing Suit, Sneakers, Slippers, Boots, Jackets

Important Documents: Do not forget to bring your health card and important printed documents you will need.

First Aid Kit: Anyone who has seen or played hockey knows that you get banged up quickly. A small box of bandages, heat/ice packs, rubbing alcohol, and wraps will ensure you are ready for an emergency. If your child has an allergy, be sure to pack an Epi-pen just in case!

Toiletries: No matter what, hygiene is especially important to maintain during any tournament weekend! A small travel kit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and skincare products is essential to freshen after a day packed with action!

Electronics and entertainment: Laptop, chargers, portable batteries for cellphones, cameras, headphones.

Snacks: Always have on-the-go snacks and beverages readily accessible for any hungry players looking for a pre or post-game treat!

If you plan to stay overnight in the local area of an out-of-town tournament, contact the hotel/motel ahead of time to double-check any toiletries or amenities they offer, so you’ll know if you need to bring anything from home!

Coach, you got a second?

In the days leading up to the tournament, take some time to have a quick chat with your team’s coach to ask any questions or bring up any concerns you would have. As the main representative of the team, the coach is responsible for relaying any essential information (scheduling, locations, player eligibility, or parking situation at the arenas) from the tournament officials to you.

Here are some questions you can ask to be extra prepared:

• What time do we need to arrive at the first game?

• What’s the parking situation at the arena?

• Any additional registration information we need to provide?

In addition, you should check with the coach to make sure your child’s team is registered at the appropriate skill level in the tournament to guarantee it won’t ruin the team’s results or morale.

One game down. How many to go?

One minute you’re cheering your heart out from the stands and the next thing you know; you’re scrambling to find the rink for the next game. It’s so important to know the complete tournament schedule, inside and out, so you can plan your weekend around leisure, meals, and sleep.

Always be on standby in case there are any updates to the schedule of any tournament from your team’s coach. The tournament officials will always contact all teams ahead of time if there are any changes, so be sure to be flexible & prepared for a potential change.

Can’t watch every game?

Did you know we also have you covered in that department too? All of our sports complexes are equipped with Canlan Sports Live cameras to catch all the action, so if you have to take a snooze while your child’s on the ice, don’t beat yourself up about it! You can watch live from your hotel room, or on-demand to relive all the action. Plus you can even download game highlights to share with family and friends of that game-winning goal!

P.s we’re also offering 10% off when you sign up using the code: CNSP-LIVE.

Learn more about live streaming.

Honey, I lost the car.

For any tournament, you should get to know the ins and outs of the venue and its location. Your child’s coach should provide all the information but take some time to research and familiarize yourself with the sports complex where the tournament will be hosted at. When in doubt, map it out.

Access to utilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and coffee shops will be crucial, especially with a tightly packed tournament schedule. Follow up with the coach to ensure you get all the details regarding parking accommodations. If you happen to have any questions at a tournament, ask for help. At all Canlan Sports Complexes, our staff will be happy to answer any questions or direct you to the right rink to cheer on your child! Just look for the folks in blue jackets.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, showing sportsmanlike conduct is what it means to me.

We get it! We all want to see our kids succeed and demonstrate everything they have learned so far this season. There is no shame in screaming happily when your child scores the game-winner or has an extraordinary play, but it is important to remember you are also a representative of your child’s team. Always act and show respect towards all parents, players, coaches, managers, teams, referees, and tournament officials throughout the weekend.


Referees are crucial members of any successful tournament and are there to ensure the game is safe and fair for everyone. It’s very possible they may make a mistake with a missed call; they’re human! We have a zero-tolerance policy, so be mindful of your actions or they could result in serious consequences. If you do not agree with a call, take 24 hours to sleep on it. Use that time to determine whether it is worth escalating the issue to your coach or the officials.

It’s all about the time spent and memories made!

Before you depart for the next tournament, take a breath, and relax. We’re certain if you’ve made it this far, you’ve done all the pre-planning for the weekend and yes, finally remembered where you left those sticks. Be present and enjoy the experience with your child.

Tournaments are a fantastic opportunity for your child to learn, grow, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Win or lose, take pride in the amount of preparation you did to ensure a stress-reduced weekend for everyone involved!

Now, where’s the nearest coffee shop?


Loved it? Share it.