Youth hockey tournaments bring together hockey players and their families for an exhilarating experience both on and off the ice. Securing the hotel accommodations is a big deal in the tournament journey, and while your hockey team may have decided to travel a long distance or just an hour, the tournament host hotels are in your future. 

We are hockey parents who have traveled the road you seek of tournament hotel accommodations and how to make it the best experience for your family and your team. We explore the dos and don’ts for youth hockey families when it comes to tournament hotels and navigating the Stay-to-Play guidelines.


Register Early:

  • Get your tournament application in early as most hotel choices or assignments are based on the date your team applies to the tournament and completes all necessary paperwork. Securing your team’s application and knowing if other teams in your hockey organization are participating too, will help ensure that your teams stay together.
    • Note: If staying with the other teams in your organization is not a priority, be sure to note that where applicable.
  • Choose Proximity for Swift Transitions:
    • Select a hotel close to the tournament venue. This not only adheres to the Stay-to-Play policy but also ensures quick and convenient transitions between the hotel and the rink.
  • Understand and Respect Stay-to-Play Rules:
    • Familiarize yourself with the Stay-to-Play policy of the tournament. Understanding and respecting these rules contribute to a seamless experience for both your team and the hosting community.
  • Be Courteous Hotel Guests:
    • Respect the hotel’s policies, especially those related to noise, parking, and common areas. Being courteous hotel guests reflects positively on your team and ensures a harmonious stay.
  • Maintain Stay-to-Play Integrity:
    • Adhere to the Stay-to-Play policy by staying at the designated tournament hotels. This helps maintain the integrity of the policy and supports the hosting organization.

Use the facilities as they are Intended:

  • Hotels are not required to provide space for your team to congregate and for your kids to play knee hockey. It’s a privilege and adhering to the guidelines set forth by the hotel you are currently a guest at is key to having an enjoyable time. It doesn’t matter what the hotel offered you in Waterloo or Timbuktu. 
  • Practice Team Bonding Responsibly:
    • Plan downtime for team bonding within the hotel premises, but do so responsibly. Respect other guests and the hotel’s facilities during these activities.


  • Bypass Stay-to-Play Guidelines:
    • Avoid booking accommodations outside the designated tournament hotels. Non-compliance with Stay-to-Play guidelines can lead to penalties for your team, including being disqualified.
  • Disrupt Hotel Harmony:
    • Celebrate victories and team spirit, but be mindful of other guests. Keep celebrations within reasonable hours to avoid disturbing those who may not be part of the tournament.
  • Neglect Parking Considerations:
    • Confirm parking arrangements in advance to avoid complications. Ignoring parking considerations can lead to inconvenience for your team and other hotel guests.
    • We suggest finding out what the hotel’s parking policy is ahead of your visit so you are prepared. It could be anything from valet parking, parking garages, self-service parking, shuttles, a card-accessed gate to get your car in and out…
    • Knowing what to expect in advance will assist with keeping your team,  your family, and you on time and enjoying your tournacation. 
  • Overlook Check-in & Check-out Procedures:
    • Adhere to hotel check-in and check-out times to ensure a smooth arrival and departure. Ignoring these procedures can disrupt the hotel’s schedule and affect the overall experience for everyone. 
    • Be mindful of the time and realize if check-in is at 4 pm, there’s going to be a lot of people checking in a the same time. The same goes for checking out
    • Remember, the hotel staff is welcoming you to the hotel and they don’t want there to be a line at check-in any more than you do
    • Perhaps there’s an app you can check out to speed your process along
  • Misuse Hotel Amenities:
    • Utilize hotel amenities responsibly, avoiding overcrowding and respecting other guests who may not be part of the tournament. Misusing facilities goes against the hotel guest ethos.
    • Picture yourself on a business trip and you go to use the gym, but there’s a team of 10-year-old hockey players messing around with all of the gym equipment… They are not supposed to be in the gym, it’s poor parenting to allow the kids to take over the gym and every hotel guest should be able to enjoy their hotel experience within reason. A squirt hockey team in the is not this
    • We could go on and on here but, we are hoping you get the idea
  • Fail to Communicate:
    • Maintain open communication with hotel staff. If issues arise, address them promptly and professionally to uphold the positive experience for your team and future tournament participants

This is a big one and needs to be addressed for the hockey adults. Parents, Coaches and Team Managers.

Laws of bringing outside alcohol into hotels

Laws regarding bringing outside alcohol into hotels can vary depending on the country, state, or even local jurisdiction. It’s essential to be aware of the specific regulations governing alcohol consumption and possession in the area where the hotel is located. Here are some general considerations:

  • Hotel Policies:
    • Most hotels have their own policies regarding the consumption of outside alcohol on their premises. These policies are often outlined in the terms and conditions or house rules provided to guests. It’s crucial to check with the hotel management about their specific rules.
  • Local Laws:
    • Local laws and regulations play a significant role in determining whether guests are allowed to bring outside alcohol into hotels. Some places may have strict regulations on alcohol consumption, and hotels are required to enforce these laws.
  • Licensing and Permits:
    • Hotels that serve or allow the consumption of alcohol on their premises usually hold specific licenses or permits. Bringing outside alcohol may be restricted to comply with these licensing requirements. Violating such regulations could lead to legal consequences.
  • Event or Banquet Policies:
    • If you are attending a specific event or banquet at the hotel, there may be separate policies regarding outside alcohol. Hotels often have arrangements for catering and beverage services during events, and bringing outside alcohol may not be allowed.
  • Common Areas vs. Private Rooms:
    • Policies may differ for common areas, such as the hotel lobby or pool, compared to private rooms. Some hotels may be more lenient with alcohol consumption in private rooms, while restrictions may apply in shared spaces.
      • If your team wants more private areas for just your team to gather, ask ahead of your stay what is available and be prepared to pay a fee for use of the room.
  • Penalties for Violations:
    • Violating hotel policies or local alcohol regulations may result in penalties, including fines or eviction from the hotel and the tournament. It’s important to be aware of the potential consequences and act in accordance with the rules.

To get accurate and up-to-date information about the specific regulations at a particular hotel or location, we recommend directly contacting the hotel contact for your group or checking their official website for details on alcohol policies. Additionally, understanding local laws and regulations regarding alcohol consumption is essential to ensure compliance and a smooth stay.

Bonus Tip

During your Tournament and Hotel stay we highly recommend:

Find the best dining options for your stay. Hopefully, the tournament you are attending or the host hotel provides some great options for you and your team. If not, start the search ahead of time so you have some good options to explore.

Insider tip: Check to see if it’s better to eat near the rink or the hotel, ahead of your visit. Give your family, you and your team options to satisfy the group. 

Hockey Tournaments are a blast and traveling to hockey tournaments provides for some great memories. You, your family and your team are guests in the hotel, city and state you are participating in. And, you represent your youth hockey club. Be a good representation that makes everyone you encounter say, “We enjoyed hosting the team from Waterloo or Timbuktu.” 

By following these dos and don’ts, youth hockey families can ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience, both in the tournament and during your stay at the host stay-to-play hotel. Most likely your hockey player will not remember the wins and losses but will remember the fun created Embrace the spirit of the game and create lasting memories for your team, having fun and sticking to the rules at your stay-to-play host hotel!


We hope you have an awesome hockey tournament season! We know these tips will help you with navigating hotels during your travel tournaments!

Want more tips on having a great hockey tournament experience, follow us on Social Media. We share what our tournament attendees have to say and our tournament experiences and tips daily. With over 30 years of experience organizing youth hockey tournaments, we are the go-to for a great tournament experience. We look forward to having your team participate in a Showdown Tournament!