Hockey parents: what do you drive?

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Minivans, SUVs, pickup trucks – they’ve all become a second home

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More 600,000 people were registered to play hockey in Canada for the 2019-2020 season according to the International Ice Hockey Federation. Although this is down from the peak of the 2014/2015 season which saw more than 720,000 skates, there are still many children (big and small) who have to make it to the rink. Many of these athletic families mentioned that they switch to baseball or other sports out of season, and while you can’t get much bigger than a bag of hockey gear, summer sports mean umbrellas. , chairs and coolers. So what’s the best vehicle to cover all of these bases?

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Speaking with multiple families, a pattern emerges when it comes to hockey transportation: As little players grow into bigger players and families grow their own home teams, their vehicles of choice evolve with them. It’s not just about having enough space for massive hockey bags and long sticks; families are frequently on the road most days of the week and often carry extra players. Two children, two games in two different places? You learn to carpool early, and that “car” better be ready to become a home away from home.

“You hear it all the time,” says Veronica Jenik, mother of three boys aged nine, seven and three in the GTA. “I didn’t want a minivan. Then the minute I drove the Pacifica, I realized that was the answer. She describes the family’s transitions over the years. “At the beginning, with a child, we had a Golf. It worked well. When his second son started playing, they switched to a Mazda CX5. “It was great for two kids,” she says. But as the family added a third future NHL player to their ranks, they once again found themselves in search of better mobile hosting.

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“I’ve always been worried that children would open doors and hit other parked cars,” she explains. “I knew sliding doors were the solution, and the first time I drove our 2018 Pacifica I felt great. This vehicle is packed with features suitable for families. I asked Jenik how the children were feeling. “Oh, we first said ‘no screens unless we take long trips’, but we gave up pretty quickly,” she laughs. “The children watch Mighty ducks Where Paw Patrol Where The sand, the oldest is at the bottom where he cannot reach his brother to fight, and everyone is happy. A nice bonus is that Jenik enjoys a smooth ride, uses the excellent navigation system, and enjoys the settings that allow her and her husband to have personalized trips.

With the Pacifica – the kids named it Darth Vader – being the perfect utility vehicle for the family, it’s also the one they plan to keep for many years to come. “May I add one thing? Jenik asks. “Get these WeatherTech mats. ” She’s right. Designed to fit snugly, they prevent a large amount of moisture from entering the carpet and being trapped against the panels, creating erosion.

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Kelly Minns of Hamilton and her family have experienced a similar progression as their 16-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter, who play hockey, rose through the ranks. “We had a 2004 Trailblazer, but the repairs were brutal and gasoline was difficult. This led to a 1998 Explorer, which was fabulous for the space, even though we had five kids with five hockey bags. When his two entered the hockey rep, the family spent a lot of time in their vehicle. They currently drive a 2014 Santa Fe and only their son is still playing, but Minns says the replacement vehicle “when prices stabilize” will likely be a used Ridgeline.

Dave Bennett of Burlington made it clear why a pickup truck was his family’s choice while their two boys were still playing. It had a 2013 Ford F-150 Platinum Crew Cab. “The passenger space in the backseat was so good for long trips down the road (plus there’s a plug-in in the back for recharging. their devices), and having the equipment in the box on the outside of the vehicle made a huge difference. Our older equipment smelled like a barnyard at the best of times so it was a blessing, especially on long car trips, to have it out of the cabin. Bennett says about half of the other families in their cohort drove vans – and for the same smelly reason.

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Ashra Goosen-Ianni of Oshawa took it one step further: she succinctly led the story of the family vehicle (her children are six and nine) in a countdown to the best. Fourth place, their Kia Optima 2011. “ It contained a kid’s bag and stick, but the trunk hinges went too far into the trunk. Excellent on gas and bouncy with the four-cylinder turbo. Next is a 2015 Lexus GS350. “Super comfortable for all passengers, good on gas (albeit premium). Equipment and luggage easy to hold for tournaments, but the sticks had to go in the backseat. Second place? “Ford Flex 2015: discontinued, but it had the same wheelbase as the Explorer. It was our hobbyhorse. Hockey equipment and luggage for four? The trunk has you covered. As seven places? Hope you have a roof rack. While comfortable (ish), the Ecoboost V6 is not eco-friendly or wallet-friendly. The only saving grace was that it took regular gasoline.

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Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Discovery

Today his family landed in a 2019 Land Rover Discovery HSE. “While not the most accessible vehicle we have owned, it is by far our favorite. It has more cargo space than the Flex and a ride that feels like it’s in your living room for passengers. She notes that the six-cylinder requires higher grade gasoline, but better mileage brings it closer to the cost of running the Flex. “With the third row you would still need a roof rack, but it would be worth it,” she says.

If you have more than one kid in hockey, size matters. While families transport their offspring (and others) almost daily across large areas of the province, the vehicle they drive is more like a home port. Minivans, SUVs, vans. How did we manage with a station wagon?

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