Hockey Tour FAQ
When should I have my application completed?
You must have your application completed (including all references) by the application deadline listed on the website. However, it is recommended that you complete your application as soon as possible to give yourself enough time to raise enough support without being rushed or stressed.
Are there tryouts to join the AIA Hockey team?
No, there are no tryouts to join us on an AIA Hockey tour. However, depending upon the level of teams we will be playing against, we do take into consideration your previous playing experiences so that we can take you on a tour that best fits your skill level.
What does the average day look like?
The average day on tour or project will vary greatly depending on which area of the world you are in. But you can be guaranteed in any culture outside of North America that schedules are simply loose suggestions of events that we would like to see happen at some point.
When we plan our days, we take into consideration the level of hockey skill, the availability of local community resources, and the openness to the Gospel. We typically eat breakfast together, head out for a clinic or school for kids in the morning, eat lunch together, and then have a game scheduled for the afternoon or evening. If the circumstances allow, we will stay and have dinner with the opposing team and get to know them a bit over a meal. We also work in a time to have a Bible study together either during the day or at night.
Where will we live/stay?
We typically stay in lodging similar to dormitories or camps so that we can all bunk close together. (sometimes a typical 3 star hotel is used as well) Obviously the available amenities change with the location such as television, internet, phones and even hot water. We always make sure that the lodging is safe and prefer to find a place conveniently located near our ministry and game locations.
How many players/participants will be on tour/project?
The number of team members varies with the type of tour or project. For a game-oriented tour, we aim to take a full team of 18-20 players from across the US and Canada along with a coach and trainer. For a community ministry-oriented tour, our numbers are more flexible because we aren’t as concerned about the skill level of our team. In some cases we have local players join us for the duration of our tour, living and playing alongside us.
How do I pay for tour/project?
We encourage you to raise support to cover the cost of your tour. This idea may overwhelm you, but we have always seen God provide financially for players to come on trips. Once you are accepted to the tour or project, we will send you a package of information with training materials and sample letters for raising support. Simply make a list of potential supporters (friends or family that you would like to share your opportunity with), send them a letter describing your trip and your desire to go, and invite them to help you make it possible.
Does the cost of the tour or project include my travel expenses to get there?
Yes and No. You are responsible for making and paying for your own travel arrangements to the initial starting point of your tour or project. This location varies depending on the project but is always a North American destination. You can raise extra support to cover your airfare and reimburse these expenses. The cost of the flight to the tour destination IS covered by what you’re raising. This information may be listed on the tour info page already.
What do we eat?
Due to the nature of a hockey tour, we obviously want to provide you with food that is clean and will help you stay healthy and fit. Whenever we travel, we choose destinations where a local AIA staff has established a ministry. They understand that visitors from other countries cannot always stomach the local delicacies. As staff, we make every effort to work out a meal plan of safe and edible foods for our players. Often times we are invited to try the local favorites (which can be delicious!), which is a great way to get to know the culture. Along those same lines, if the local tap water is not safe to drink, we make sure there is ample clean bottled water for our players. Of course, if you are concerned about meals while traveling, you are welcome to bring plenty of your own food such as granola or protein bars, trail mix, and peanut butter (which is hard to find in most third-world countries).
Will there be free time?
No. Just kidding! Of course we schedule for free time! We understand that your body and mind can only take so much before they start to shut down. We also plan excursions to local landmarks and markets so that you can experience the culture and all that it has to offer.
Who will we play?
The skill level of our players will determine which teams we will be playing against. With a more highly-skilled team (those who are playing/have played recently at Major Junior/CIS/Junior A/B level) we play against professional/semi-professional teams) In the past, our AIA hockey teams have played professional teams from various countries including Russia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Slovakia. With a team of Junior C/small college skilled players we can play local university and junior teams.
What does sport/hockey ministry look like? How does it fit into a “missions trip”?
Sport is the one language that is understood around the world. Why not use it to share the story and love of Jesus Christ? We use sport/hockey as a medium through which to build relationships and create opportunities to share the Gospel. For example, when running a week-long hockey camp for kids, we take a moment each day to share a bit about developing character as a hockey player, tying it into our personal stories or testimonies about our relationship with Jesus. Then, at the end of the week, we close by giving each child the opportunity to hear the full Gospel and respond. Any child who decides to invite Christ into their heart is connected with the local AIA staff and/or church so that they can continue to help them grow.
We always take every opportunity to share the love of Jesus with whoever we are playing or training with by sharing a personal testimony and presenting the Gospel to all who are present. It is our goal to build relationships as we share God’s love and connect our new friends with local AIA Staff who can follow up with any person who is interested in learning more about the Bible or starting a relationship with Jesus Christ.
When we play against a local team, we take all the opportunities we can to share the Gospel either with fans at intermission (and team program) and/or with the opposing team after the game. It is important here that we do not take our God-given gifts and talents lightly. Perhaps it is stating the obvious when we say that you must earn the respect of the opposing team by playing well if you want them to listen to your story as you share about Jesus. If you feel that God has given you the skills and abilities to play hockey, use them as best you can to help spread the Good News and further God’s kingdom.
What if I don’t know how to share the Gospel? Or if I don’t want to share my testimony in front of others?
We’ve all been here. It is our goal to simply give you the opportunity to be used by God. It is up to you whether or not you will allow Him to work through you. We will never force you into a situation that you are uncomfortable with or opposed to. That said, we offer training at the beginning of the tour to help you develop your skills in this area. By the end of the tour we want you to have confidence in your ability to share about how Jesus impacts your life and to help someone understand how they can begin a relationship with Him. Our staff are each trained in this area and are delighted to help you grow personally so that one day you can help train someone else!