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Downtime At A Tournament? What To Do!

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Downtime at a Tournament? What to Do!
Hey Travelsporters!

Good luck to everyone who is playing at Memorial Day tournaments this weekend. Thank you to all who have served as we remember and honor those who have fallen.

– Team Travelsports

What to do with your downtime during a tournament?

During downtime when traveling to a youth sports tournament, it’s important to keep the team engaged and make the most of the experience.

Here are some suggestions for activities during your teams downtime:

Relaxation and Recreation: Downtime is a great opportunity for relaxation and recreation. Consider activities like swimming, playing games, or simply enjoying some leisure time at the hotel. Some hotels may offer recreational facilities like a pool, gym, or outdoor spaces that can be utilized for team activities.

Sightseeing and Exploration: Take advantage of the opportunity to explore the tournament’s host city or nearby attractions. Visit local landmarks, museums, parks, or other points of interest. It can be both educational and fun for the team.

Team Meetings and Strategy Sessions: Utilize the downtime for team meetings to discuss game strategies, review performances, or plan for upcoming matches. This can be an excellent opportunity for coaches and players to communicate, set goals, and make adjustments.

Volunteer or Community Service: Engage the team in a volunteer or community service activity. Look for local organizations or initiatives that may need assistance. It not only provides a valuable learning experience but also promotes a sense of giving back.

Cultural and Educational Activities: Research the local culture and history of the tournament’s location. Plan visits to cultural centers, historical sites, or museums that can provide insights into the local heritage. It can be an educational experience for the team.

Team Dinners or Social Events: Arrange team dinners or social events during downtime. This can be a fun way to celebrate accomplishments, build team spirit, and enjoy local cuisine together. Look for nearby restaurants or consider organizing a potluck or BBQ at a suitable location.

Rest and Recovery: Downtime is also essential for rest and recovery, especially for young athletes. Make sure to prioritize downtime for relaxation, proper sleep, and rejuvenation. Encourage team members to take care of their physical and mental well-being.

Group Activities and Games: Plan group activities or games that promote interaction and fun. This could include card games, board games, team challenges, or outdoor activities like a scavenger hunt. Engaging in recreational activities can boost team morale and create lasting memories.

Watch Other Matches: If there are other games happening during the tournament, consider watching matches of other teams. This can provide an opportunity to observe different playing styles, strategies, and learn from other athletes’ performances.

Remember to balance downtime activities with the tournament schedule and the need for rest. It’s important to create a mix of fun, relaxation, team-building, and preparation to make the most of the overall experience.

2023 Trending Tournaments

Check out the top trending tournaments, by sport, on our site!


Travel Ball USA Memorial Day Classic
All American Open
2023 PG West Memorial Day Classic
Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament


PGF Atlanta Fastpitch Memorial Day Classic
National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Div I Softball World Series
Lexi Kretsch Summer Showdown


Kings of Spring Nashville
Montreal Meltdown AAA Hockey Tournament
Ponytail Challenge Hockey Showcase


NCAA DI Women’s Lacrosse Championship
The Ohio Lacrosse FestivalSummer
Genesis Lacrosse Tournament

Sports for a Cause!

Buddy Baseball is a program designed for children ages 7 to 22 with various learning and/or physical disabilities. Buddy volunteers are comprised of teens and young adults. It’s a great program – find a local one near you! Here is an example of a local program in Wilmette, IL.


Did you know that Travelsports’ tournament and facility pages have a section on What to Do that are near the location of the tournaments and facilties? If your team has some downtime and is looking for something to do, make sure to check the “What to Do” section on tournament & facility pages.

“What to Do”
Bowling Alleys
Batting Cages

And More!

Don’t forget to check out our Marketplace!

We want to highlight an online marketplace that has joined Travelsports. Be sure to click on their name to check out their store on Travelsports.


Sports Plus We developed Sports Plus as a way to introduce meaningful hockey ideas to parents outside the big box stores. Our first product, Heads Up Head Safe™ embodies our love of the game and caring for the players’ safety. Our second product, The Drying Twig comes from our kids constantly leaving their wet equipment in a pile on the floor at home and on a tournament. Made in the USA is a big plus with us and a lot of people we speak with and that is why we are bringing this to you.

We are proud supports of The Wounded Warrior Project and The Long Island Warriors Veterans Hockey Club.

Interested in advertising on our newsletter? Send us a note to



Top Hockey Academies Across Canada


Northern Alberta Xtreme

Location: Edmonton
Head Coach: Jason Stewart

About The Program: The Northern Alberta Xtreme (NAX) was launched in 2013 by Jason Stewart. Initially, the program consisted of just one team, the Female Midget Preps. But as the program began to expand, more teams were added to meet the demands at each level. In 2015, the Elite 15s team was added, winning the league title in their first season. The following season would see the launch of the Male Midget Prep team, while the Female Midget Preps would join them in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL). In 2017-18, the Male Bantam Prep team was added, bringing the program to its current status of four teams competing in the CSSHL.

Notable Alumni: Luke Prokop, Michael Benning, Carter Savoie, Ethan Edwards, Connor McClennon.

For More Information:


Calgary Edge

Location: Calgary
Head Coach: James Poole

About The Program: Founded in 1999, the Edge School offers training in dance, golf, hockey, soccer, figure skating, basketball, and a flex program for students who would like to pursue a sport other than those currently offered. Edge follows a three-sphere philosophy – academics, athletics and character development of students – which aims to prepare students for either post secondary education or a career in their chosen sport.

Notable Alumni: Tyler Myers, Matt Dumba, Taro Hirose, Thomas Hickey, Jake Bean.

For More Information:

Looking for Academies in Ontario?

Okanagan Hockey Academy

Main Location: Penticton, B.C.
Head Coach: Craig Bedard

About The Program: The Okanagan Hockey Group was founded by Larry Lund in 1963. The primary focus of the Okanagan Hockey Academy is to promote the long-term development of each of their athletes in the classroom, on the ice, and in the community. Putting young, motivated people in a structured environment, surrounded by a world class staff and support system, they believe allows them to deliver a consistent message and value system. They hold their student athletes accountable on their efforts, attention to detail, and above all their attitude. The Okanagan Hockey Group has expanded its reach in recent years, opening Academies in Edmonton and Whitby, Ont.

Notable Alumni: Curtis Lazar, Joe Hicketts, Michael Rasmussen.

For More Information:

Rink Hockey Academy

Location: Winnipeg/Kelowna, B.C.
Head Coach: Rob Smith (Winnipeg)/Shae Naka (Kelowna)

About The Program: Offering programs in both Winnipeg and Kelowna, the Rink Hockey Academy provides competition for four teams – U15 Prep, U16 Prep, U18 Prep and U18 Female Prep, all of which compete in the CSSHL. The RHA student-athletes’ school day will be modified to allow maximum time for school and training needs. The teams will travel and compete mostly outside the province at the highest levels on both sides of the border during the full school year. School-board appointed team liaisons ensure players meet minimum standards and academic readiness for post secondary applications and career choices.

Notable Alumni: Justin Schultz, Seth Jarvis, Matthew Thiessen.

For More Information:

Burnaby WC Logo

Burnaby Winter Club

Location: Burnaby, B.C.
Head Coach: Mike Santorelli

About The Program: The Burnaby Winter Club (BWC) was founded on May 29, 1956 as the Burnaby Curling Club and incorporated under the Societies Act of the Province of British Columbia. On April 18, 1958 the Club changed its name to reflect the multi-sport dynamics of the activities at the time. It became the Burnaby Winter Club and its constitution was amended to include hockey and figure skating. Over more recent years, with the success of the Vancouver Canucks, hockey has become the predominant sport at the club.

Notable Alumni: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mat Barzal, Karl Alzner, Jack McIlhargey, Cliff Ronning, Paul Kariya, Chris Joseph, Glenn Anderson.

For More Information:

The post Top Hockey Academies Across Canada appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


Food Tips for Hockey Road Trips

Road trips and hotel stays are increasingly common today for all levels of hockey — especially during tournament season. While sports travel is exciting, it definitely brings new challenges to fuelling athletes. Finding good restaurants in unfamiliar cities can be difficult and dining out for every meal gets expensive quickly.

Even if you don’t want to travel with a crockpot or portable grill, here are seven simple ways to make fuelling on the road convenient and easier on the wallet.  

Pack Snacks

Whether it’s pre-packaged granola bars or homemade trail mix, bringing an assortment of nutrient-dense snacks helps avoid overpriced concession stands and convenience stores for the post-workout refuelling window or travel delays.

Large Water Jugs

Traveling by car? Skip the cases of plastic bottles and save cargo room (and the environment!) with gallons of water to refill reusable bottles.

Peanut Butter and Jam

Pre-game meal timing often happens while on the road. Instead of settling on less-than-ideal fast food, pack bread, nut butter, and jelly to make sandwiches in the car (turkey is a great option also, but then you have to take coolers into account too). Sandwiches are also perfect for the hotel room or post late-night games for athletes that are hungry again before bed. 

Hit the Market

Refrigerator in the room? Stop by a local grocery store for yogurt, fresh fruit, salad, and/or rotisserie chicken. Grab some milk if your player enjoys cereal before early morning games.

Add Hot Water

Hotel room coffee makers or microwaves make oatmeal and quinoa cups a convenient nutrient-dense pre-game fuel.

Portable Blender

If smoothies are a favorite, rechargeable portable blenders are a great option for early mornings or the post-game refuelling window. They can also be repurposed for fun, adult drinks later in the night!

Pre-made Meals

Packing a cooler? Make and freeze breakfast sandwiches, egg cups, or quesadillas to reheat in the room microwave.

Most parents are tired of paying for restaurant food between games at tournaments and want to avoid feeding their player fast food that does nothing to improve their performance.

A little pre-travel food preparation minimizes the stress of last-minute fuelling between games. Planning ahead also ensures your skater has nutrient-dense options to maintain endurance and support recovery throughout the long weekend.

Need a travel fuel checklist? Looking for freeze-ahead meal recipes? Visit to learn more.

The post Food Tips for Hockey Road Trips appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


Hockey Scouts Discuss CHL vs. NCAA Routes

In this series on amateur hockey scouting, we compiled responses from 20 different hockey scouts and coaches that scout representing NHL, OHL, CJHL and NCAA teams about their unique job. Many wished to remain anonymous, which we allowed in order to get more candid responses to our questions.
These hockey scouts come from varying backgrounds, ranging from former players — from the NHL, junior and college ranks — to former coaches, including some with limited hockey playing experience. Believe it or not, there is even a former referee. Some have been a hockey scout for over 30 years and others only a couple.


Hockey scouts have interesting perspective when it comes to debating the Canadian Hockey League or an NCAA school and possible scholarship as the route to go.

Traditionally the best players in the world are choosing the CHL route, but that is definitely changing.

Over 30% of the NHL is coming from the NCAA now. A majority of those players are American but we are starting to see some elite Canadian prospects make that decision to play NCAA hockey.  

Cale Makar and Alex Newhook are the most notable players to play NCAA hockey recently.

“Some NHL scouts have confided to me that they think the NCAA is now the best amateur league in the world,” said one NCAA coach. “Most of that has to do with the number of older players in the league, but also the influx of high end talent deciding to go that route.

“If an 18 year old can thrive in that NCAA environment, there is a very good chance he will translate to pro very well.” 

Most of that discussion surrounds the speed of the NCAA game. The older, more mature players create a very pro style compared to CHL, which is composed of 16-to-20-year-old players.

A former NHL coach said, “Both are wonderful options. Traditionally, the NCAA was for the so-called “late bloomers” while the CHL tended to cater towards the higher end, instant impact players.

“This thinking has changed for the better as both routes cater to all types of players. It is largely based on a players interest, opportunity and finding the ideal situation for the player and the person.” 

Both leagues are heavily scouted. The one major difference is that as a young Canadian player you cannot play in the CHL before choosing the NCAA route. This forces players to play in the CJHL or the USHL before attending school. 

Although the CJHL and  USHL are scouted, players are often undervalued and taken in later in the draft. 

“It is true, we see players either slide down in the draft or get taken in their second year of eligibility because they chose the NCAA path versus the CHL path,” said one scout.

Many scouts confirmed these thoughts as they found it more difficult to compare a player playing in those Tier 2 junior leagues.

There are more intangibles at play and it’s difficult to compare players from one league to another, not to mention that there are fewer views of these players in these leagues. 

“This possibility of being drafted later than expected is one aspect Canadian players must realize when they choose this route,” said one scout. “The upside for these Canadian NCAA players is that they end up getting a little more time to develop and often get second chances through free agency.”

The scout went on to say, “NHL teams like taking NCAA players — especially middle rounds — as they are investments that they do not have to spend money on as soon as compared to a CHL player.

“When you draft a CHL player, decisions on signing that player need to be made much sooner.”

Amateur Hockey Scouting

The post Hockey Scouts Discuss CHL vs. NCAA Routes appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


Cal Foote’s Hockey Hero

Every day – usually around lunchtime – Cal Foote gets a text from his hockey hero.

While almost all youth hockey players will pick out an NHLer to emulate, to admire, or simply to worship while watching them excel on the ice, few are ever lucky enough to meet, let alone get to know their idol.

In Foote’s case, he interacted with his idol on a daily basis and continues to do so to this day. That’s because his hockey hero is his dad, former NHL defenseman Adam Foote.

“I was young when I watched him play, and that was all I wanted to do when I grew up,” Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Cal Foote said of his dad. “Whenever he was out there, whenever he was playing I was always watching him to see what he was doing.”

In 2019-20, Adam Foote coached the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets. Among his players on that squad was his younger son Nolan Foote, today a player in the New Jersey Devils system.

Cal might not have benefitted from his father’s coaching, but the sage advice offered by a father who played 1,154 games over 20 seasons at the same position as Cal is never far away.

Even today, he still turns to his dad for advice.

“I always get that text message before the game, giving me a few pointers,” Cal said. Sometimes, it’s simple, straightforward message such as move your feet. On other occasions, the text can come with a video attached, often featuring diagrams on a white board, as well as clips of NHL players executing the described play properly.

Cal putting his dad in the unique position of cheering against the team with which he won both of his Stanley Cups, the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado and Tampa Bay squared off in the 2021-22 Stanley Cup final, with dad’s old team winning in six game.

Adam Foote won Stanley Cups with the Avalanche in 1995-96 and 2000-01.

Born in 1998, Cal wasn’t around for his dad’s first Cup win and can’t really recall the second one.

“I want to say I remember the ’01 Cup, but I don’t,” Cal Foote told The Athletic. “All I really remember about playoff time in Colorado was that they have the white pom-poms. I used to love playing with those and cheering him on.”

The post Cal Foote’s Hockey Hero appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


What To Do In Cases of Abuse

While sport is often considered to be a safe, healthy environment that contributes to the positive development of young people, it is also an area where violence can manifest itself in various ways, including sexual assault.

“The studies we currently have at our disposal show that between two and eight per cent of minor age athletes are victims of sexual abuse within the context of sport,” states a report on Sexual Abuse of Young People in Sport by the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec.  “To date, available statistics have shown that most of the victims of sexual abuse in sport are young female athletes, although a large proportion of boys are also victimized.

“Researchers have noted that young people who have been sexually abused in the context of sport often have low self-esteem, strained relationships with their parents, and eating disorders. In addition, they are often high performance athletes.”

It is essential to not tolerate behaviour in sport that would be considered unacceptable in other contexts, such as day-care centres or schools, continues the report.

“Parents can also play a role in prevention by finding out what preventative measures are in place in the organization their child attends and by choosing sports organizations that give priority to the well-being of young people.” 

The decision to report to law enforcement is entirely yours, states Erinn Robinson, director of media relations, Rape, Abuse & Incest Network (RAINN). 

“Some survivors say that reporting and seeking justice helped them recover and regain a sense of control over their lives,” says Robinson. “Understanding how to report and learning more about the experience can take away some of the unknowns and help you feel more prepared.”

RAINN notes several options for reporting sexual assault:

  • Call 911. If you are in immediate danger, dial 911. Help will come to you, wherever you are.
  • Contact the local police department. Call the direct line of your local police station or visit the station in person. If you are on a college campus you may also be able to contact campus-based law enforcement.
  • Visit a medical center. If you are being treated for injuries resulting from sexual assault, tell a medical professional that you wish to report the crime. You can also choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam. 

To learn more about the options in your area of the United States, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673). You’ll be connected to a staff member from a local sexual assault service provider who will walk you through the process of getting help and reporting to law enforcement at your own pace.

In most areas, there are specific law enforcement officers who are trained to interact with sexual assault survivors. Service providers can connect you to these officers, and might also send a trained advocate to accompany you through the reporting process.

There is no limitation on when a victim can report a crime to police, notes information from RAINN. However, in many states, there is a limitation on when charges can be filed and a case can be prosecuted. This is called the statute of limitations and varies by state, type of crime, age of the victim, and various other factors. 

Anyone affected by sexual assault, whether it happened to you or someone you care about, can find support on the National Sexual Assault Hotline. You can also visit to receive support via confidential online chat.

For more information on the telephone and online hotlines, visit and

Trained counsellors with Childhelp are available to talk through child abuse situations. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline can be contacted in the United States or Canada by telephone, texting or online chat. The number is 1-800-4-A-CHILD )1-800-422-4453. Further information, and online chat, is available at

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people in English and French. The Peer-to-Peer Community at Kids Help Phone is a bilingual, online, mental health support forum available across Canada. In the community, youth can anonymously share their personal experiences, offer inspiration and ask questions to connect, comfort and cheer each other on.

To contact Kids Help Phone, call 1-800-668-6868, visit, text CONNECT to 686868 or connect through Facebook Messenger at If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, contact 911 or the emergency services in your area right away.

The post What To Do In Cases of Abuse appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


Signs Your Player is Possibly Being Abused

It will never happen to my kid … until it does.

Child abuse occurs at every socio-economic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all regions and at all levels of education. Studies indicate that 40 to 50 per cent of athletes have experienced anything from mild harassment to severe abuse, according to Childhelp.

What if my child doesn’t tell me that they are being abused? Are there indicators I should be looking out for in my kid’s behaviour?

The Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe for Athletes prevention education program notes indicators of possible abuse in sports include, but are not limited to, missing practices, illness, loss of interest, withdrawal, and a child performing significantly below his or her abilities. 

“Look for signs of disengagement in young people,” Daphne Young, chief communications officer at Childhelp, said. “They used to be so excited about their sport and couldn’t wait to go to practice and now they’re pulling back or want to quit.

“Watch for slippage in grades, change in physicality, whether they’re covering up more, eating more, or starving themselves. There could be a withdrawal or withholding of engagement or you may see the flip side and see a child exuberantly happy, super engaged, super thrilled and very secretive because there’s a new love in their life, not understanding that this could be an older person taking advantage.

“Watch for dramatic shifts in behaviour and try to ensure that you ask questions without being accusatory.”

Young says Speak Up Be Safe for Athletes was started because there was a specific need for it.

“This is a specialized audience and it needs its own niche prevention because we know that predators are going to crystalize around places where they have access to children and coaches, I believe, are second only to educators in gaining that close relationship and occasionally abusing it,” Young said. 

In October, Childhelp will be launching a specialty version of their hotline, called the Courage First Athletes Help Line, in partnership with the Foundation for Global Sports Development, to help protect children in sports.

Counsellors working the hotline will be specially trained to deal with issues in youth athletics. In the meantime, the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline can be contacted in the United States or Canada by telephone, texting or online chat. The number is 1-800-4-A-CHILD ) 1-800-422-4453. Further information, and online chat, is available at

It’s not always easy to spot sexual abuse because perpetrators often take steps to hide their actions, says Erinn Robinson, director of media relations, Rape, Abuse & Incest Network (RAINN).

The most important thing to keep in mind when looking for signs of child sexual abuse is to keep an eye on sudden changes in your child’s behaviour, says Robinson.

“Trust your gut and don’t ignore your feelings if something seems off. If a child tells you that someone makes them uncomfortable, even if they can’t tell you anything specific, listen.”

RAINN lists the following as warning signs to watch for:

Physical Signs

Behavioral Signs

  • Excessive talk about or knowledge of sexual topics
  • Keeping secrets or not talking as much as usual
  • Not wanting to be left alone with certain people or being afraid to be away from primary caregivers, especially if this is a new behavior
  • Regressive behaviors or resuming behaviors they had grown out of, such as thumb sucking or bedwetting
  • Overly compliant behavior
  • Sexual behavior that is inappropriate for the child’s age
  • Spending an unusual amount of time alone
  • Trying to avoid removing clothing to change or bathe

Emotional Signs

  • Change in eating habits
  • Change in mood or personality, such as increased aggression
  • Decrease in confidence or self-image
  • Excessive worry or fearfulness
  • Increase in unexplained health problems such as stomach aches and headaches
  • Loss or decrease in interest in school, activities, and friends
  • Nightmares or fear of being alone at night
  • Self-harming behaviors

Canada’s Kids Help Phone offers tips on what to do if a young person comes to you to discuss an abusive situation.

These tips include listening without judgment and keeping the line of communication open by letting the young person know they can talk to you about anything and staying calm. If a young person discloses a potentially harmful situation to you, get help for them right away. If they are in immediate danger, call 911 or the emergency services in your area. You may also have a duty to report child abuse or neglect to your local child protection services. 

Kids Help Phone is a resource that can connect young people with crisis responders. To contact Kids Help Phone, call 1-800-668-6868, visit, text CONNECT to 686868 or connect through Facebook Messenger at 

 RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673) connects callers in the United States with trained staff members from sexual assault service providers in their area and connects to one-on-one chats with trained RAINN support specialists 24/7.

The post Signs Your Player is Possibly Being Abused appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


How to Spot A Possible Predator At The Rink

It is time to talk about something uncomfortable and often inconceivable — sexual abuse in minor hockey.

Keeping children safe can be challenging because many perpetrators who sexually abuse children are often in positions of trust. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest Network (RAINN), 93% of child sexual assault victims know the perpetrator. 

The difficult part is these abusers often blend in and are often impossible to spot until it is too late.

For example, the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, in a report on Sexual Abuse of Young People in Sport, states that an analysis of 159 cases of sexual abuse in sport reported in the print media revealed that the perpetrators of the abuse were coaches, teachers and instructors in 98% of the cases.

So are there any signs that a coach or trainer may be a predator?

RAINN advises to be cautious of an adult who spends time with children and exhibits the following behaviours:

  • Does not respect boundaries or listen when someone tells them no
  • Engages in touching that a child or child’s parents/guardians have indicated is unwanted
  • Tries to be a child’s friend rather than filling an adult role in the child’s life
  • Does not seem to have age-appropriate relationships
  • Talks with children about their personal problems or relationships
  • Spends time alone with children outside of their role in the child’s life or makes up excuses to be alone with the child
  • Expresses unusual interest in child’s sexual development, such as commenting on sexual characteristics or sexualizing normal behaviors
  • Gives a child gifts without occasion or reason
  • Spends a lot of time with your child or another child you know
  • Restricts a child’s access to other adults

NHLPA member and Boston Bruins great Patrice Bergeron has talked about the importance of reaching out.

“Sometimes you don’t want to share things with those you are closest to, your parents, siblings or friends,” Bergeron said through a Kids Help Phone statement. “I think having someone to hear you out, someone who is there for you and understands what you’re going through, that’s very important. It’s not easy to talk and ask for support, but people are always there to help you.”

Young people in the United States who need help processing an abusive relationship can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected to a staff member from a local sexual assault service provider who will walk them through the process of getting the help they need.

Contacting a hotline to discuss concerns or ask questions can be done by means of a telephone call, text or online chat.

“What we have discovered for example, with texting, is that we got way more young women who were more comfortable texting us than we expected, and with chat we discovered that a lot more gender fluid children would feel comfortable talking to us via chat,” says Daphne Young, chief communications officer at Childhelp. “So, we’ve really changed through technology for young people in the modes that they’re most comfortable with.”

Young cautions children and teens to look for “that icky feeling in your stomach” where you may not have words for it but the actions that someone takes makes you feel awkward, weird, or uncomfortable.

“You probably feel completely alone in this moment, like you’ve done something wrong or brought this on yourself,” Young says, appealing to the victims of abuse who are hesitant to seek help. “What you don’t realize is that usually a predator has hundreds of victims in a lifetime, if not more, and so the step you take to seek help not only will keep you safe but it will potentially align you with others who have come forward.

“The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD, 1-800-422-4453) is completely anonymous. No one can find you. No one can do a reverse search or force you to take any action. They’re just going to give you every resource possible, all the support you need, therapeutic opportunities, people to talk to who will back you up in your community, and anything you need to help you through the process. So, I would say, just make the call, or text, or chat. If you don’t want anyone else to hear then give is a text message and let us know and we’ll take care of you.”

Many communities have sexual assault or crisis lines that allow people to talk to someone about what they’re feeling. You can also talk to family, friends, teachers, counsellors or someone else you trust.

Canada’s Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) notes the following as some of the ways to identify an adult who is safe to talk to:

  • Thoughtful: The person actively listens to you and believes you when you tell them something.
  • Trustworthy: The person is dependable, a confidant and someone you feel comfortable talking to.
  • Respectful: The person is mindful and considerate of your feelings and your boundaries.
  • Helpful: The person provides guidance and helps you find solutions to problems.
  • Caring: The person does what’s best for you, puts you first and cares about your mental and emotional wellbeing and physical safety.

The post How to Spot A Possible Predator At The Rink appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.


Minor Hockey Memories: Terry Ryan

Elite Level Hockey recently asked a number of former professional players to reminisce about their favorite youth hockey memories, and to discuss what they would change about today’s youth hockey culture.

Terry Ryan was the Montreal Canadiens first-round pick and the eighth overall selection at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.

A native of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, Rvan represented Canada at the ISBHF ball hockey tournament and has been a part of teams that captured both world and national championships.

He now spends his time acting and can currently be seen as Ted Hitchcock on the hit comedy, Shoresey.


RYAN: The Mount Pearl Blades in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland.


RYAN: After I was 11, my dad coached a Junior B team. I was on the ice a lot because of that and we all hung out quite a bit in Mount Pearl. We played all the sports, but there was never a lack of ice time and from 10 on, I improved quite a bit, but before that I wasn’t even much interested, to be honest. 


RYAN: The Quebec Peewee Tournament. We went there in 1991 and 1992. If you follow my Instagram, you will see that the team from 1989-‘90 was inducted into the Mount Pearl Sports Hall of Fame.

Outside of being successful at that tournament — the most successful from Newfoundland — it was just fun. There was a perfect combination of competition and fun. It was great that we won, but had we not scored a goal we would have had a blast. It was a perfect minor hockey trip. 


RYAN: No doubt 3-on-3. Pushing yourselves, coach would blow it down if you’re making a mistake. I like the freedom to do what I want to do. It’s good work and friendly competition. I like 3-on-3 amongst players, amongst friends, competitive friends, and teammates.


RYAN: Growing up,  Daniel Cleary and Harold Druken — who both played in the NHL — and only because we had tournaments on the mainland. Growing up in Newfoundland, we didn’t get much competition — which is why I left at 14 to play Junior — but I did play a little bit of Midget out in Quesnel, B.C. and came across some great players that would soon be in the WHL and then the NHL — Jason Weimer and Adam Deadmarsh. 

Terry Ryan in Shoresy

Terry Ryan (second from the left) stars in SHORESY —  streaming exclusively on Crave in Canada and Hulu in the U.S. — a spin-off of its smash-hit predecessor, LETTERKENNY.


RYAN: My favourite stick was a white and red classic Gretzky Titan. It wasn’t the best stick, it was my favourite because Wayne Gretzky used it. When I switched, I quickly realized that the Sherwood Feather Light at the time was the lightest wood stick, at least the lightest one that I got my hands on. Eventually, of course, that changed to aluminum and everything else, but for five or six years growing up, it was definitely the classic Gretzky Titan. 


RYAN: My mom managed the teams. My father played professional hockey himself for the Minnesota Fighting Saints, amongst others. He didn’t put a lot of pressure on me. His role, I guess, was to make sure that I wasn’t feeling too pressured. He only came to games when I asked him to and he gave me advice from afar. He never coached my teams, just let me grow up on my own and navigate my own way around my hockey journey, which I appreciate. 


RYAN: Not a whole lot. We played street hockey every single day and if we could get the ice we’d get it. It was a lot of practice, but it was just a lot of time put in amongst friends — it didn’t feel like practice. As far as specialized camps, my dad ran one for a week or two in the summer with a guy named Paul Boutilier, who played for the New York Islanders and had a couple of Stanley Cups. That was interesting, but it was more to get together with the boys. 


As soon as hockey was over, I looked forward to getting out on the baseball diamond and the soccer field. 

I played ball hockey, that’s a little bit different, but I felt that was enough. I knew how to skate. Ball hockey was keeping me on my toes when it came to the mental side of the game, and it’s actually harder to play defense. I feel that playing ball hockey my whole life, I became a decent defensive player when I wanted to be because it’s easier to skate than it is to run, and the ball hockey offensive zone is much bigger, so it really helped me. 

For the most part, it was baseball and soccer in the summer. If it was any other hockey camp, it would be right before I started up again in September. 

I might have been in pro hockey before I put on my skates in July. Even then, it was few and far between. 


RYAN: It would be parents living through their kids and expectations. 

I have hockey schools here and there, and when I do, parents often ask me “what does little Johnny have to do to make the NHL?” and to start, I would say let’s hope he/she has fun. 

Outside of that there are a lot of success stories — and success is in the eyes of the beholder.

Players can travel all over the world and never play a game in the NHL. They can get a degree through hockey. They can live on their own and learn to grow up from boys to men. I think parents need to realize that the goal isn’t always the NHL.

It’s a very small percentage of people that get to play in the NHL, but tens of thousands get to experience hockey after the minor hockey level and I’m sure a lot of them consider their careers a success, including myself.

Whether it’s Pro or Junior or Midget, the longer you stay on board, I feel you’re using those attributes you’re learning in the dressing room off the ice, which can only be a good thing. I do feel that the attributes it takes to be successful in and around a dressing room are the same ones it takes to be successful in real life. I think hockey imitates real life in many, many ways. 

So, what would I change? The parent’s expectations.

More Minor Hockey Memories …

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Gagner Learning On The Job As Marlies Owner

As a player, Sam Gagner finds himself at a crossroads in his NHL career. His contract with the Detroit Red WIngs is up. He doesn’t know yet if he’ll be offered a new one.

”I still feel even though I’m a veteran that I have some years left and I can help this group continue to grow,” said Gagner, 32. “I’d like to be back but obviously there’s a lot at play.”

If it turns out that this is the end of the line for Gagner’s pro playing career, he’s already got his post-hockey life all lined up.

Last year, Gagner and John Tavares, the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, went in together and purchased the Toronto Marlboros franchise in the Greater Toronto Hockey League.

Much of what he’s learned about the business of hockey Gagner is now implementing on a smaller scale as he helps to run the Marlboros.

“Yeah, I think you learn things all the time about being a player and then it helps you on the other side as well,” Gagner said. “I think that the main focus of youth hockey is player development.

“I’ve learned a lot over my years of what it takes to be a successful player in this league and seeing other players, seeing decisions that managers make, coaches make, all those different types of things. You try and take those lessons with you in every facet of life. Hopefully it can help with that for sure.”

Gagner spent the majority of his youth hockey career playing for the Marlboros. He went right from their U16 AAA team into junior hockey in 2005.

A first-round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers, Gagner holds a share of the Oilers’ single-game points record of eight with Hockey Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey. Gagner has been playing in the NHL since 2007 but he’s never forgotten his hockey roots.

“I really enjoyed my time as a Marlboro when I was a kid,” Gagner said. “For the career I’ve had, I owe a lot to the Marlboros for it.”

Now he’s viewing ownership of the Marlboros as a way of repaying both the organization and the game for all that it’s given to him.

“I felt like it was a great opportunity to help continue with the great tradition that they have and try and move it forward,” Gagner said. “So that was kind of the main focus behind that.”

Interestingly, Gagner played in the OHL for the London Knights, the team owned by former NHLers Dale and Mark Hunter.

The success story they’ve fashioned with the Knights launched a trend of other ex-NHLers buying their old junior franchise.

Gagner doesn’t know whether he and Tavares will prove to be trendsetters in terms of NHLers purchasing their former youth hockey club. In fact, he really doesn’t care whether they are creating a buzz in that regard.

“I don’t know,” Gagner said. “I didn’t get into it for that.”

For the time being, he’s mostly taking a hands-off approach in terms of the day-to-day operations of the Marlboros organization while still an active NHL player.

“My main focus right now is being the best player I can be,” Gagner said. “I try to lend help and advice wherever I can there. We have really good people involved who keep me updated. I’m just trying to help in any way I can.”

One day, though, he and Tavares know that like every other youth hockey operator, they’ll find themselves dealing with complaints from parents about their kid’s ice time.

“Not yet but I’m sure it will come at some point,” Gagner said with a laugh.

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