Start and End Times
Tournaments may start as early as 1:00 PM on Friday and the finals, in most cases, will not begin any later than 5:00 PM on Sunday.
For events beginning on Saturday, our usual plan is to complete your round robin by Sunday afternoon with the consolation games and semi-finals on Sunday (ice permitting). Monday is generally reserved for finals but there are times when other games will be played on Monday due to ice availability and working around special requests. See the schedule section below for and explanation of special considerations.
Schedules will be e-mailed to the team contact(s), no later than the Friday proceeding the event. Our experience indicates that having a single contact per team tends to avoid confusion. However, we prefer to have the e-mail address for both the manager and head coach in the event there is a problem with one e-mail. Parents should address their concerns to one of these contacts.
Special considerations, (i.e. coaches behind the bench for multiple teams, wishing to attend a college or pro game the weekend of your tournament, or any other request) outside the realm of the tournament you plan to attend should be in writing in the comment section of your application. Sending an e-mail or calling and telling a staff member is playing with fate. Any special requests should be discussed in detail at least six weeks prior to your tournament to ensure our understanding and your satisfaction.
Please refer to the “policy” link for detailed information regarding payments and refunds.
Please provide a team itinerary as soon as it is available. Our tournament coordinators will work closely with your team contact to ensure that your games are scheduled with your arrival and departure dates and times in mind.
The biggest challenge in bringing together teams from all over North America lies in the reality that very few programs use the same guidelines. Our goal is to determine, as best we can, where each team actually belongs for the best competition. We rely a great deal on your input to bring this about. No one wants to travel great distances to either win or lose a game by 10 goals. While it is extremely difficult to always create the perfect match-ups, we do pledge to each Little Bear participant that we will never knowingly put teams of different skill levels in a division just to fill a slot. When you’ve decided to attend one of our tournaments, you will be asked several questions to help us with the process. We thank you for your cooperation. Sandbagging will not be tolerated.
Levels of Competition
Predicting results of opposing teams and therefore establishing competitive groups of teams from various areas requires a great deal of communication and a general understanding of how different AAU affiliates manage their hockey programs.
While our methods are not full proof, we give you our pledge that we take our jobs very seriously. By choice, we have created an atmosphere where child athletes can participate and experience the joy of this sport. We will never intentionally place teams together that don’t belong.
At the same time, we like you to think of the best team in your area in any given classification and imagine the result of that team playing the least skilled team in the same identical classification in your area and what the result of that game might be. We don’t offer this example as a prelude to an excuse, but you should keep in mind that even within an affiliate where the rules and criteria for establishing teams is identical, there is a wide range of talent from top to bottom.
Frankly folks, we love great competition as much as anyone and of course there’s a time to take the years experience and skills developed and put all the marbles on the table. I’m just not so sure it’s at every game all year long. Winning is fun but please don’t make it the only fun.
At the end of the day, our goal is to have as many one goal games as possible with divisions where all of the teams are tied after their second game of the tournament. Unfortunately this doesn’t always occur. But developing hockey players and teaching them to compete, like running a tournament company, is a process with some days and events being better than others.
I’m always reminded of the day the Detroit Red Wings beat the Montreal Canadians by 10 goals and Patrick Roy asked to be traded the next day. If lopsided games can occur at the pro level, they most certainly will also happen in youth hockey.
We urge everyone to thoroughly read our tournament policies prior to entering our events. It will help define many of the procedures we employ and answer many of your questions. A policy link is available in the menu in the right margin of each city and event web page. Additional concerns may be addressed in our “FAQ” link.