Youth hockey tourney big business for Clifton Park
Event draws families from throughout region
CLIFTON PARK Youth sports tournaments can be big business for nearby hotels, restaurants and sport stores.
The impact of a Clifton Park Youth Hockey tournament this weekend at the Clifton Park Twin Rinks could be seen at the nearby Clifton Park Holiday Inn Express & Suites, crowded with youngsters waiting for their scheduled game times. The hotel was one of five recommended by tournament officials for players’ families, who came from Central New York and Massachusetts.
The inn welcomed the families with open arms, even offering a free room to coaches whose teams booked 10 rooms and donating money to the hockey league.
Hotel General Manager Patti Voska said they host hockey teams like this a few times a year.
In addition to hockey tournaments, she noted they coordinate with softball and basketball tournaments.
“Pretty much every sport at one time or another,” Voska said.
Pete Bardunias, president and CEO of the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, said the impact of an event like this weekend’s tournament extends beyond accommodations. With so much down time involved in most tournaments, he said families often venture away from the sports venue and stop by stores and restaurants.
At this time of year, when it’s cold and not much else is going on, Bardunias said this tournament is big for nearby businesses. He added that it was especially important considering fewer people have been stopping in the area on their way to ski areas because of the lack of snow until recently.
Voska said they also try to make special accommodations when a tournament like this comes to town. Because this was a hockey tournament, the hotel set up an activity room for kids to play knee hockey, where they play hockey from their knees with short sticks and a soft ball.
“It’s best to keep them busy,” Voska said. “The parents always appreciate it too.”
A tournament like this can also mean exposure for a business, like the Cohoes based Awards By Walsh’s & Creative Marketing. Company Vice President Gregory Pesta was at the rinks on Saturday working a table, where they were selling personalized attire to players.
“It does help us get our name out there,” Pesta said, noting that a previous tournament in Clifton Park got them a job with a tournament in Lake Placid.
Part of the proceeds generated by Pesta’s company on Saturday was donated to the league.
The rinks aren’t the only sporting facilities at the Clifton Common, according to Bardunias. The venue can attract sports tournaments all year round.