All Your Go-To Tournament Information
Thank you for looking at NST for your Tournament needs. We appreciate your consideration, as I know how difficult it can be to pick the proper tournament with all the choices out there today. Gene Carella, NST Co-Tournament Director, has been presenting tournament opportunities since 1990 for what was formerly known as Grand Niagara Cataracts Hockey Association. In 1999, he started Niagara Sport Tournaments to help provide youth hockey to hundreds of teams throughout the U.S. and Canada per year. Gene also raised four hockey players, and through his travels to many tournaments, he understands what hockey parents’ want. Gene's son Michael now runs the company but still has the same goal as his father, which is to make sure that every player has a great time win or loss. Hockey is a GAME where the end result should be smiling kids who don't even realize the life lessons they are learning.
I (Michael) have been to many tournaments in my playing and coaching days where what was advertised was not what we got. For example, I remember a tournament where our AA Minor Bantam teams was playing in the same division as AAA Major Bantams! The tournament director was nowhere to be found, and the staff that was there could not help solve this problem. In a different tournament, the schedule that was sent a week before the tournament, was changed the DAY before the tournament started, which completely change our hotel and other plans we had outside of the tournament. This will not happen at NST. I personally am present for EVERY game of the tournament so if you need to find me you can and the schedule is send out 3-4 weeks before the tournament.
I put all teams through a rigorous screening process to ensure each team is placed in the proper division. As you may know there is no exact science to paring teams. Since there are many different classifications used by amateur hockey teams in different regions of the United States, and Canada (see Screening process tab above). Divisions can get messy if careful consideration is not taken. We at NST, take much time and effort to create well-balanced divisions. Nothing is more disheartening then driving to a tournament to blow out a team or get blown out by a team.
Teams also do not want to travel to a tournament just to be place in the same side of a division as team from their local leagues. My father and I take great pride in delivering an enjoyable tournament experience for our tournament families. This is evidenced by an incredible return rate in tournament participation by hockey associations. We only accept between 40-60 teams per tournament. This wide range in number of teams ensures each division of each tournament has balanced competition. We will not force a division together just to fill ice! We believe in quality over quantity when it comes to our tournaments.
Zero Tolerance Policy
USA Hockey is committed to creating a safe and fair environment for all participants. Respect for the game, the opponents, coaches and officials is a critical part of the environment that is created. This Zero Tolerance Policy summarizes required actions to be taken when violations occur.
All players, coaches, officials, team officials and administrators and parents/spectators are required to maintain a sportsmanlike and educational atmosphere before, during and after all USA Hockey sanctioned games. Thus, the following points of emphasis must be implemented by all USA Hockey participants and spectators.
A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct (zero tolerance) shall be assessed whenever a player:
- Openly disputes or argues any decision by an official.
- Taunts or incites an opponent.
- Visually creates a disturbance during the game.
Any time that a player persists in any of these actions, they shall be assessed a misconduct penalty. A game misconduct shall result if the player continues such action.
A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct (zero tolerance) shall be assessed whenever a coach:
- Openly disputes or argues any decision by an official.
- Uses obscene, profane or abusive language to anyone at any time.
- Visually displays any sign of dissatisfaction with an official’s decision including standing on the boards or standing in the bench doorway with the intent of inciting the officials, players or spectators.
Any time that a coach persists in any of these actions, they shall be assessed a game misconduct penalty.
In addition, any player/coach who uses language that is hateful or discriminatory in nature anywhere in the rink before, during or after the game shall be penalized under Rule 601(e.3) resulting in a match penalty. Such behavior is reprehensible and has absolutely no place in our game. The offender shall be immediately suspended until a hearing is conducted by the governing USA Hockey Affiliate or Junior League.
Officials are required to conduct themselves in a businesslike, sportsmanlike, impartial and constructive manner at all times. The actions of an official must be above reproach. Actions such as “baiting” or inciting players or coaches are strictly prohibited.
Officials are strongly encouraged to introduce themselves to the coaches prior to the game to establish a basis of mutual respect and to facilitate/define in-game communication.
Officials are ambassadors of the game and must always conduct themselves with this responsibility in mind.
Parents / Spectators
Parents are expected to be a positive role model by treating all players, coaches, officials and fellow spectators with respect and support.
The game will be stopped by game officials when parents/ spectators displaying inappropriate and disruptive behavior interfere with other spectators or the game. The game officials will identify violators to the coaches for the purpose of removing parents/ spectators from the spectator’s viewing and game area. Once removed, play will resume. Lost time will not be replaced and violators may be subject to further disciplinary action by the local governing body. This inappropriate and disruptive behavior shall include:
- Use of obscene, profane or abusive language to anyone at any time.
- Taunting of players, coaches, officials or other spectators by means of baiting, ridiculing, threat of physical violence or physical violence.
- Throwing of any object in the spectators viewing area, players bench, penalty box or on ice surface, directed in any manner as to create a safety hazard.
USA Hockey strongly recommends that each local youth hockey registered team designate a volunteer to serve as a parent/spectator monitor during all team games. This monitor will, ideally, address inappropriate spectator behavior prior to the situation escalating to the point it has an impact on the game. This designated monitor shall have the full support of the youth hockey association and the arena management to remove any spectator in violation of the Zero Tolerance Policy.
Administrators are the key to building a positive, growing and safe USA Hockey community. Create a culture that is:
Administrators are responsible for enforcing the rules and policies established and approved by USA Hockey, their Affiliate, and their Association or Club. This includes taking disciplinary action, as deemed appropriate, towards any parent/spectator removed from a game as a result of a violation of the Zero Tolerance Policy.