Planning a tournament for your Montreal-based sports team, or an away tournament to the City of Saints? From getting there to staying there to where to play once you’re there, here’s all you need to know about planning that big competition, coach.
Montreal Sports Venue
Montreal has a healthy professional, amateur, and collegiate sports scene that goes beyond just hockey and the city’s legendary Montreal Canadiens. The Habs — as they’re known to locals — play at the state-of-the-art 21,000-plus seat Bell Centre. Their minor league affiliate, the Laval Rocket, just moved back to Quebec to get closer to their parent club, and play their home games just over the bridge at the newly built Place Bell.
And then there’s the city’s most polarizing venue, sports or otherwise: Olympic Stadium. While it has an iconic look, it’s structure is faulty — and expensive. The Big O has been without a permanent tenant since Major League Baseball’s Expos left town in 2004. While you might want to sightsee at some of these pro arenas, for your tournament, you’ll probably want to look beyond the big league venues.
Montreal Hockey Arenas
Montreal is not short on hockey arenas at any level of competition. There’s the storied Verdun Auditorium, which has hosted various Quebec-based major junior hockey teams. At the collegiate level, McConnell Arena is right downtown on McGill University’s campus, and Ed Meagher Arena is where the Concordia Stingers play, about 10 minutes outside the city centre. In the city’s western suburbs, Sportplexe Pierrefonds is one of Quebec’s top hockey establishments, boasting four state-of-the-art arenas, including one Olympic-sized rink.
Montreal Indoor Sports Venues
The Catalogna Soccerplexe is one of the city’s premier venues for The Beautiful Game. It has two full-sized fields: one indoor and one outdoor, the latter covered by a dome for winter use. With seating for up to 500 people and a happening restaurant and bar, the Soccerplexe is a great place to hold a tournament and a destination for soccer teams visiting Montreal.
As far as the hardcourt, the Gadbois recreational complex southwest of downtown has one of the top basketball courts in the city. And several campus courts are known to host competitive ball: Concordia University’s Loyola Campus and Dawson College.
Montreal Outdoor Sports Venues
Montreal has long winters, so it relishes any opportunity to get some sun during its electric summer months. That’s why you’ll find so many of its outdoor soccer pitches, baseball fields, and volleyball and tennis courts jam-packed during those months.
As you’ve already learned, Montreal’s world-class universities provide many of the sporting venues for the city. McGill’s Molson Stadium hosts high-level football and soccer, and for the latter, Forbes Field is another option that also hosts lacrosse. And then there’s Parc Jeanne-Mance, which has a more recreational pitch in a scenic location at the bottom of Mount-Royal.
The first thing to consider when selecting a bus to get your team to the tournament or to the games is how much space you need, both in terms of people and equipment. Take inventory of both by consulting your roster and then building a list of team and player equipment that has to travel with the club. (Later, you can use your roster sheet as an attendance list to ensure all players board and debark together.)
Our Quick Guide to Choosing a Bus Type is a great place to start. It’ll get you asking the right questions, show you the important features of each of our bus options, and will lead you toward making that ever important decision.
The Bus.com online book tool can also help participating teams choose between four different bus types. For sports teams, the coach bus is the most attractive option. Its comfortable seating, air conditioning, and on-board bathroom make it a luxury for your team on the road.
For smaller teams that don’t require the coach’s 55-seat capacity, the mini coach shares all those desirable amenities. Then for a lower cost, lower-frills option, the classic yellow school bus won’t disappoint either. The storage space is limited, but you’ll love the school bus‘s lower price. And finally, the mini bus is a bite-sized version of the classic model.
If you are finding that your group is on the small side this year, it may make the most sense to opt for a passenger van rental instead of an entire coach bus. If you opt to use Bus.com’s sprinter van rental services in Montreal, you have the choice between having the vehicle chauffeured or driving it yourself.
When it comes to paying for your bus, we also have you covered. While our book now pay later option makes it easier for teams at all levels to plan ahead and pay when they’re ready, youth sports teams should consider these 3 easy ways to finance a bus rental.
And once your team is on the road, players might want to consult our list of Sports Podcasts to Listen to On Your Way to the Game to keep things livened up on board throughout your entire trip.
Finally, depending on your sport, make sure to check out one of these resources before booking transportation:
- Hockey Coach’s Checklist to Planning The Ultimate Away Games
- Basketball Coach’s Checklist to Planning the Ultimate Away Game
- Football Coach’s Checklist to Planning The Ultimate Away Games
If you’re coming from out of town, you’re going to need to lock down a hotel for your entire team, including players, coaches, and parents. Without solid accommodations, you’re away tournament simply can’t happen — so get on this early.
On top of finding a hotel that can fit your entire large group, you’ll probably want to ensure that everyone’s rooms are close by — and that’s for your own benefit, as well as that of the hotel and its other guests. Would you want to stay in a room surrounded by a batch of rooms all occupied by the same hockey team? Not likely.
So make things easy on your group by booking a courtesy hotel room block: A designated number of rooms in one area of the hotel reserved for your gang.
Not only will you want to book hotel rooms in a way that keeps everyone together, you’ll also want to choose wisely when it comes to the hotel that you book with. Certain hotel chains are more team-friendly than others.
For example, Holiday Inn Express is known to welcome sports teams with open arms. Its Parents’ Lounge is super convenient for youth teams travelling for a tournament, and if you ask, you may just score yourself a team discount. Best Western also has a reputation for generously sponsoring sports teams of all kinds. Plus, free wifi, complimentary breakfast, and rooms large enough to store your equipment.