Go To Montreal!!!

With the Montreal Canadiens off to an incredible start, there’s no better time to head to Montreal with your team and enjoy the hype and hysteria that engulfs the city when the Habs are doing well.  CHE is thrilled to offer 3 dates this spring for your team to choose from: April 15 – 17, April 22 – 24 (featuring men’s & women’s divisions/private party at Sir Winston Churchill Pub) and April 29 – May 1.  Most people know that Montreal is a hockey mecca, has an amazing night life and some of the best and most diverse dining options, but just in case you don’t, here’s the top 5 reasons to bring your adult team to Montreal this spring.

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1. First Class Holiday Hockey Weekend

First and foremost, you’ll be treated to a first class hockey tournament that CHE is renowned for.  A 3-game guarantee with tournament games played at Isatis Sport Chambly three rink complex just 25 minutes from downtown Montreal, featuring a fully functional restaurant and bar including a convenient tap in the dressing room area.  Teams stay right in the heart of downtown Montreal at the Gouverneur Place Dupuis or can upgrade to stay at the Marriott Chateau Champlain, right beside the Bell Centre.  A convenient bus shuttle gets you to and from the arena to your hotel so there’s no reason to hold back on the weekend.  Our professional tournament staff will make sure you feel like you’re playing for Olympic Gold!!!

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2. Les Habitants

Winning their first 9 games and having the best goalie in the league, barring any serious injuries, the Canadiens will surely be heading into this year’s NHL Playoffs.  Getting tickets might be a challenge, but fear not, as the entire city will be in a frenzy and you’ll be hard pressed to find a bar or restaurant that isn’t showing the game.  Every car has those silly flags hanging out the windows, and the streets turn into a sea of red jerseys when the home team is playing.  Should an epic failure occur and they don’t make the playoffs, hockey fans of all types can head to the Bell Centre for a tour and catch a glimpse of the history of this most storied franchise.

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3. World Renowned Night Life

There are so many incredible adult beverage establishments in Montreal that it’s very difficult to single out just one, as you’re bound to have a great time no matter where you go.  Younger crowds will head down Boulevard St. Laurent to mix with the McGill University crowd and hit up hip hot spots like GoGo Lounge, Casa del Popolo or Lodge Tavern, or cross the english/french border and head to Rue Saint Denis and check out the spectacle that is Bar Le Saint-Sulpice which is a combination of 9 different bars, 3 stories tall with a massive shared patio they all bleed into.  Those looking for an easy, hassle free evening can head to Crescent Street to hit up Sir Winston Churchill Pub or Hurley’s Irish Pub for some fine Irish ale.  There’s no shortage of old school cocktail bars either and Dieu de Ciel, Dominion Square Tavern or Burgundy Lion are great for a tasty micro brew or fancy pants cocktail.

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4. Incredible Eats

In a city that’s a literal melting pot of cultures, there’s absolutely no shortage of amazing food no matter what your preference is.  No trip to Montreal is complete without an authentic smoked meat sandwich and you pretty much have to go to Schwartz’s or Reuben’s Deli if you’re in town.  Gibby’s is great if you’re looking for steak, Joe Beef is incredible if you like truffles and want to try some tripe or horse, Le Taj has some crazy good curry, the Bar-B-Barn will fill you up with greasy chicken and fries for almost nothing, and La Queue de Cheval is absolutely amazing, and will almost certainly empty your wallet.

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5. Old World Charm in a New Age Metropolis

These days, most cities in the Western hemisphere are keen to tear down the old, traditional, 3-story brick buildings in favor of a gleaming 40-story steel and glass sky-rise, and while Montreal has plenty of the latter, its always been careful to protect it’s heritage and the entire district of Old Montreal is rich in 17th & 18th century charm.  Nestled between the St. Lawrence River and downtown Montreal, pedestrians can meander the small cobble stone streets and feel like they’ve left the continent completely.

This April, make sure to grab your teammates and head to beautiful Montreal for the hockey tournament experience of a lifetime.  CLICK HERE for full details.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Kelowna, BC

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For this weeks destination I’m going to take a closer look at another CHE tournament and camp destination; Kelowna, BC.  A hugely popular vacation destination in the summer and winter months, I’m going to argue that the best time to visit Kelowna is in the spring, and here’s why!

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1.   Catch some end of season powder runs at Big White!

If there’s one thing I’ve always loved about Kelowna it’s the quickness of the transition from winter to summer activities that takes place during the month of April.  The sunny slopes of Big White Ski Resort has spring skiing at it’s finest and is known for late season powder and extremely mild temperatures at the same time.  There’s still a 2.5 meter base and with 51 cm of fresh snow in the past 7 days so don’t discount the Okanagan as a ski destination even though the weather in the valley can heat up to the mid 20’s.  Beginner or expert, grab your ski’s or board and head to Big White to cruise through the snow covered trees known locally as snow ghosts, or drop into some seriously steep powder over on The Cliff.

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2.  Don’t ski, no problem….you can Golf instead.

Doesn’t make much sense in most places, but if you’ve gotten all of your skiing in for the season and are ready to trade your ski gear for golf clubs it’s not a problem.  The Okanagan seems to heat up faster than any other region on the planet, and with moderate temperatures at the valley floor throughout the winter, most courses in the region are open and ready to go by early April at the latest.    With some of the most scenic golf courses in the country, there’s no shortage of world class courses for you to start your golf season, because this is going to be the year that you finally break…..

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3. Patio Season is already going.

It has been a long and cold winter for most of the country beyond never shoveling snow again there are a few things I’m really looking forward to doing again; not wearing a jacket, breaking out the flip flops and drinking on a patio with friends being t at the top of that list.  Here in Ontario, patio’s will be packed on the first days that reach +10 degrees or higher, but out in Kelowna spring temperatures can reach as high as +30, and patio season goes from closed to full on pretty quickly.  All beer tastes great, don’t get me wrong, but cold beer on a warm patio tastes a heck of a lot better, and the opportunity to possibly get that base tan going doesn’t hurt either.

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4.  Mosquitoes, or lack there of.

I feel like I’m repeating myself in this post but it bears mentioning again….Kelowna is weird, and it doesn’t do spring like the rest of the country.  I love the spring!  It’s the time of year where everything comes back to life.  Buds start forming in the trees, birds start returning from their wintering grounds in the south and in most places, the bugs return in full force to make sure you don’t get to spend any time outside.  Well….not in Kelowna….Kelowna is different.  The leaves don’t fall, the lake doesn’t freeze and the bugs don’t exist.  You can leave your deet infused bug repellent at home and enjoy the warm temperatures in perfect tranquility without fear of being eaten by tiny flying vampires.  If nothing else on this list entices you this definitely should.

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5.  It’s not really spring, it’s summer but without the tourists.

The best part about visiting Kelowna in the spring is that, well, it’s not really spring, it’s summer but with without the tourists.  You may miss out on seeing the actual grapes on the vines that will be plentiful in late summer, but you can still visit all of the beautiful vineyards in the region without competing with the swarms of tourists that smother them in the summer months.  The lake is a bit cool, but it never really warms up that much anyways and you can go sailing without the constant barrage of wakeboard boats sending you waves.  You can even relax on one of the many public beaches without having to fight through the crowds to find a place to lay down for some sun.

 

For those of you that read this and think, “yeah! why don’t I go to Kelowna this spring?”  You’re in luck.  Canadian Hockey Enterprises still has for men’s and women’s recreational hockey teams on the weekends of April 11 – 13 and April 25 – 27.  So if you and your friends want to take advantage of this great destination but need some incentive, give us a call and we’ll help make this dream trip a reality.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

 

Top 5 Reason’s to go to Banff this Spring

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I get it.  Whether you’re from Toronto or Texas, the polar vortex has made this winter a bit of a monster and a little fun in the sun sounds fantastic. I’m here to argue that if you haven’t yet made it south, you’re better off saving your vacation days for a real Canadian vacation to beautiful Banff, Alberta.

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1. World Class Late Season Skiing/Snowboarding

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned back country shredder or a first time skier, there’s perfect terrain for all levels of experience.  If you don’t want to spend too much time travelling, you can hop on a shuttle bus to Norquay mountain 2 minutes from downtown.  If you’re looking for a bigger mountain experience Sunshine Village offers over 3000 skiable acres with uber advanced runs like Delerium Dive, to your basic green run  and is just 10 minutes outside Banff, or head another 25 minutes down the Trans-Canada Highway and hit up Lake Louise Resort.  The Banff National Park is truly blessed with 4 world class ski resorts (Nakiska, Norquay, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise) within a half hours drive and will absolutely blow any ski bums mind, especially anyone living east of the Rockies.

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2. Ever seen an Elk?

If you’re not from Banff, haven’t been to Banff and don’t hunt wild game in Alberta, you probably haven’t seen an elk; I know I’d never seen one before going there.  Renowned for it’s wildlife, the National Park in which the town of Banff is situated provides a sanctuary for many Rocky Mountain animals, but while bears, wolves and sheep can be quite shy, Elk are quite confident that no one will bother them.  If you stay in Banff for more than 1 day your are pretty much guaranteed to see a gang of elk bedded down in a field on the side of the highway, feeding on someones front lawn or just cruising down Banff Ave.  Just be careful cruising the back streets at night as you don’t want to run into a big bull.

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3.  Brilliant Winter Activities

Snowshoeing, dogsledding, nordic skiing, hockey and winter camping; if you’re not a skier but still enjoy being active in the winter, there’s no shortage of things to do in Banff.  What better way to spend a winters day than renting a set of cross country skis and heading up to Lake Louise to ski around the lake with the massive, glacier covered mountains as a backdrop.  The Fenlands (Banff’s new Recreation Centre) was completed just two years ago and features 2 NHL sized ice surfaces and the most picturesque curling club you’ve ever seen, using post and beam construction with plenty of windows to let the natural beauty of the outdoors into the facility.  CHE offers adult recreational tournaments there March 28 – 30, April 4 – 6, April 11 – 13 and April 25 – 27.

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4.  Mmmmmm…..Hot Springs

You’ll surely be looking for a way to relax and wind down, and while there are plenty of traditional Apres-ski experiences in the village, it’s recommended that you head up the hill and hit up the natural hot springs.  Against the backdrop of Banff’s spectacular alpine scenery, the Banff Upper Hot Springs is a modern facility that’s been visited by tourists for over a century.  It can often get very crowded with tourists in the summer months, but during the spring season you’ll get the benefits of relaxing in the naturally heated water in the crisp winter air with almost no one else around to interrupt the tranquility.

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5.  Shops, Sites and Snacks

As one of the most popular ski destinations in the world, Banff is one of the most visited cities in all of Canada, but not everyone who visits comes to ski.  During the day the main drag (Banff Ave) is packed with shoppers heading from one shop to the next looking for a new sweater, a perfect gift or a delicious piece of chocolate.  Though there’s definitely an influx of tourist shops featuring little statues with beavers dressed as Mounties, there’s also a number of wonderful art galleries with fine works depicting the scenic views associated with the town, such as the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel or Bow Falls.  At night the town really comes to life with plenty of restaurants and bars to accommodate all tastes, whether you want to grab a burger at Banff Ave Brewing Company or some fine dining at Le Beaujelais.

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So if you haven’t already blown your winter vacation time, or even if you have but have a yearning to try something different, hop on a plane to Calgary and head to Banff National Park this spring to experience Canada like you never have before.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

JASPER POND HOCKEY CHALLENGE!

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URGENT…LIMITED SPOTS LEFT… CALL OUR OFFICE AND REGISTER YOUR TEAM! I am currently in Jasper, Alberta and looking out at Lake Mildred Pond from the out-door pool at the Jasper Park Lodge, in the Rocky Mountains. Current temp is -20 and powder snow covers the mountains. This could be you in February when you participate in our 1st Annual Pond Hockey Challenge here in Jasper that runs from February 7-9, 2014. Grooming has begun on Lake Mildred to prepare the 4-large rinks. This tournament is 4 on 4 and each team is guaranteed 4 games on this breath taking Lake Mildred Pond. Fire Pits, ice benches, the smell of hot dogs and peanuts over the fire, doesn’t this sound inviting? The Jasper Park Lodge will host the site of this tournament and will be catering to every player’s needs and desire. All you need is 6 players, skates, helmet, shin-pads, stick and gloves and you are set to dangle around on the 4 beautiful ice surfaces that this tournament will be using. Is there a better way to say you are Canadian then playing in an outdoor pond hockey tournament in the Rocky Mountains? On Saturday Night CHE will be throwing a Meet and Greet Party starting just after 7 PM, where appetizers, beverages and lots of laughs and stories from the day’s events will be held inside the Jasper Park lodge.

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The Jasper Park Lodge offers not only breath taking views inside and out but it has its own beautiful salt water heated pool, with amazing spa, plus restaurants and shops all throughout the building. You really need to come and check out this place, it is time you treat you and your family to some relaxation…

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The Jasper Park lodge is only minutes from downtown Jasper, where incredible shopping and night life at “O’Shea’s Pub” and “The Jasper Brewing Company or if you are up for dancing the night away, head to The Atha-B Nightclub! For all the boarders and Skiers, venture out to Marmot Basin Ski Area, where the mountain and snow will simply amaze you. Bring the family and make it a vacation, there is something to do for all ages in this town.

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Don’t miss out, we are offering an early bird discount if registered before December 15th, 2013, call our office at 1-800-461-2161. What is holding you back from this amazing Canadian vacation? See you on the pond, bring you’re A game!

Chad Cavanagh

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Montreal this Winter!

As days begin to get shorter, the thermometer drops and the leaves begin to fall, my head always turns to thoughts of warm sandy beaches and crystal blue lagoons, but as good as that hot sun will feel on my skin, it’s always going to be painful on my wallet.  Seeing as how it’s winter for 6 months here in the great white north, I thought I’d focus this week on one of Canada’s most iconic; Montreal!

1. It’s closer and cheaper than Europe!

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Take a trip back in time as you take a horse and buggy ride along the cobble stone streets of Old Montreal.  There’s something magical about walking past a 400 year old stone building or sitting down at a restaurant that’s been run for generations that you just can’t get anywhere else outside of Europe.  Now imagine everyone is speaking French, there’s shoulder height snow banks, seasonal light displays and the misty haze of blowing snow and it can actually feel like you’re in 18th century Paris.

2. Catch a Habs Game.

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See all those banner?  Those aren’t just there to add colour to the ceiling.  The Montreal Canadiens are the oldest and most storied hockey franchise in the world with a record 24 Stanley Cups.  Though the old Montreal Forum was taken down 1996, the atmosphere at the Bell Centre definitely gives justice to Les Habitant, and even the most mundane mid-season game has the palpable energy that most cities only experience during the playoffs.

3. Fewer Crowds

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No matter what time of year it is and no matter what your culinary pedigree, there are a couple of things you must eat if you’re in Montreal; a Montreal smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s, a fried bologna sandwich from Wilensky’s, and a poutine at La Banquise.  Try getting into Schwartz’s on a sunny July afternoon and you’ll be staring at a line around the block, but head into Montreal in the winter and you can try all of Montreal’s unique cuisine with limited to no wait times.

4. World Class Public Parks

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Immediately west of down town, this 764 foot Mont Royal is one of Montreal’s largest green spaces and provides spectacular views for the down town and St. Lawrence Seaway beyond.  You can head up just for the view alone, but if you’re feeling more active you can go tobogganing, tubing, skating, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and even take a ride on a horse drawn sleigh.

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Or if you already have your skates and are right in the down town core, you can head over to Parc La Fontaine and go for a skate on the canals.  You can see Montreal in it’s true form as buildings and monuments from the old world mix with the beautiful modern architecture of this brilliant city.

5. Nearby Ski Resorts

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Montreal sits just south of the Laurentian Mountains and the premier resort of Mont Tremblant is just an hour and a half drive from the city.  If that’s a bit too far for a day trip Morin Heights, Mont Gabriel, Mont Olympia, Mont Habitant, Mont Avila & Mont Saint-Sauveur are just 40 minutes away on highway 15 towards Tremblant.  You can stay in town and head to Mont Bruno if times a factor, or head east of the city towards Bromont, Sutton and Owl’s Head Resorts all just an hours drive.

So this year, as the falling leaves turn to snow flakes and that longing for warm weather and fruity cocktails starts to creep into your brain, maybe think of taking a trip closer to home and experiencing some of the culture, activities and excitement that Montreal has to offer.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

NEW @ CHE!

As the hockey camp season comes to a close it’s always an exciting time at CHE as we transition into our Youth and Adult Tournament season.  Even though most of the events don’t start until mid-November, this is the time of year when we get to play around with ideas, talk about new locations, possible new features and generally figure out something we and the hockey community can get excited about.  We’ve already committed to a few new ideas, so take a look and let us know what you think.

QUEBEC CITY!

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For a number of years we ran a youth tournament in Quebec City that at one point was as big as 40 teams.  After a couple of quiet years we took the location off of the roster, but after much demand we’re heading back to Quebec City January 10 – 12, just to make sure participants get to enjoy and experience the frigid cold of a Quebec City winter.  I can assure you, it’s freaking cold.  Cold as in the thermometer reads the same temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit, watch your breath freeze and fall to the ground cold.  So knowing how cold it’s going to be, participants better bring all of their winter gear so they can make the most of their trip to this unique and amazing city.  Quebec City is like visiting Europe without the expense or the jet lag.  400 year architecture combined with the French Canadian culture, the worlds largest winter recreation park, great hotels and arena, this tournament will certainly be the highlight of your teams year.  Just make sure to bring your mitts.

Banff in the Fall!

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We’ve decided to expand our Fall Adult Tournament line-up of Montreal and Las Vegas and added the November 22 – 24 weekend in Banff.  Why not start your rec season off with a bang by heading to Banff at the beginning of ski season.  While the rest of the country goes to work, heads to the rink for their hour long game, then home and repeat, you and the guys can head to Banff, eat delicious Keg dinners (and caesars), play a few hockey games at the beautifully re-designed Banff Arena and maybe get in some early season skiing/riding.  The town will be a buzz as alpine enthusiasts from around the world come to warm up on these world class slopes.

Pond Hockey in Jasper!

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Hockey is an amazing game in it’s own right, but there’s a special feeling you get when you take it back to its roots and play on a frozen lake on a crisp winters day.  Since the first outdoor NHL game was played in Edmonton in 2003 there’s been a massive revival in pond hockey as players want to leave their equipment at home, grab their skates, stick and toque and play a super fun game.  Suddenly search for a puck in a snow bank is the coolest thing you can do on the weekend.  This February 7 – 9 we’ll be hosting an event in beautiful Jasper, AB, surrounded by glacier capped mountains, teams might have to toe drag a moose to win this amazing event.

There’s a number of ideas still on the table, but we’re pleased to announce these new events and hope to see you in one of these amazing locations.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Dan O’Toole in Kelowna!

imageThe Okanagan Valley is blessed with many things; ideal weather every season of the year, a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains that are dotted with vineyards, and no bugs! None. Not a single mosquito in sight. But from April 19-21 the city of Kelowna was blessed with the presence of the one and only Dan O’Toole. Each year at a couple of chosen events CHE invites Dan to come and mingle with the men and women at our adult tournaments. He hops on the bench mid game and helps coach a team to victory, does post game interviews with the player of the game or just casually talks with players at the bar.

I thought Dan was pretty popular in eastern Canada, but I didn’t consider that his 1:00am EST broadcast is the 10:00pm broadcast in BC and I’ve never seen so many fans get excited to meet a sports broadcaster. The recent success of the Jay and Dan Podcast (#1 on iTunes) has helped to bolster his reputation as well, but the one thing that people can’t get over is also the basis for his success: he’s exactly the same as the man he plays on TV. He’s more than happy to take a few pictures, sign an autograph or just talk about sports, family or growing up on a farm.

I’ll be posting a photo collage of pictures I’ve received with Dan and some players onto our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/canadianhockeyenterprises) on Tuesday April 30th. Whichever picture receives the most likes within a week will receive a gift from CHE so go check them out and pick your favorite shots.

Graydon Crowley
Canadian Hockey Enterprises