What is the Finland Exchange?
The Finland Exchange is a cultural exchange program between two hockey programs: the Haverford Hawks and the Viikingit Club of Helsinki, Finland.
While the program centers around two tournaments (one at the Skatium in even years, one in Helsinki on odd years) there are a number of other components that make it a true “cultural exchange.” Over the course of their years’ involvement, the players and families get to know each other very well. They not only learn about each others’ culture, but they also experience it. Many become like family and maintain the relationships and visits far after their program has ended.
Which teams play in the Finland Exchange tournaments?
For the Finland Exchange Tournament hosted at the Skatium, we plan to send our PeeWeeAA, A and B teams.
For the tournament in Helsinki, and for the trip, we send players from our Bantam teams and chaperones (usually parents).
Is participation in the Finland Exchange required?
Player participation is not required. However, we have enjoyed a very high participation rate in the past. Players and families have said it was a life-changing experience that resulted in lasting friendships.
What are the dates for the 2020 event?
The Viikingit players and families will travel to the US on April 1-12. The tournament is scheduled for April 9-11 at the Haverford Skatium. We have planned a trip to New York City on April 6, and a day in Philadelphia on April 8. We are also going to the Flyers game on Thursday, April 2.
Who travels to Finland?
All Bantams and their families that wish to attend.
In which years would our player and family participate?
In general, Hawks players and families at all levels are encouraged to participate in the trips and events that are related to the Exchange. Trips include a New York City bus trip, tours, and events in Philadelphia, and a night at the Flyers. There are also several fundraisers that we encourage all Hawks families (and their friends) to join.
Because there are the teams hosting and traveling, the PeeWee and Bantam teams are primarily responsible for fundraising activities.
There are two associated tournaments: a PeeWee tourney at the Skatium on even years, and a Bantam tournament in Helsinki on odd years. The years for participation in those are as follows:
|Birth Year||Travel Year||Host Year|
If my player travels, am I required to travel too?
No, players can travel with the group if a different parent or coach is identified as the responsible party for that player for purposes of the trip.
Are we fundraising for the Finnish teams’ expenses?
No, the Finnish teams pay for their expenses, including air/ground travel, hotels, NYC trip, Flyers game, etc.
What are the costs?
The PeeWee and Bantam teams fundraise to host and then to travel, respectively.
In the host year, player fundraising (raffles and other events) contributes to the cost of the tournament and player-specific Exchange expenses such as the Welcome Event and Farewell Dinner.
There are some non-player costs. For example, parent and sibling admission to the welcome event and farewell dinner, Flyers game tickets, NYC sightseeing trip and other additional costs.
In the travel year, fundraising reduces per-player travel costs.
- Player travel cost has been between $700-$1100.
- Non-player travel with the group has been about $3,000 for the first family member. Additional family members traveling have reduced cost because the initial $3,000 includes the hotel expenses and most families do not require an additional room.
Is there other fundraising involved?
Yes, to bring costs down as low as possible, Hawks parents and families fundraise for all supporting activities associated with the Exchange through:
- Used Hockey Equipment Sale
- Coed “His and Hers” Bingo Events
- Finland Exchange Beef and Beer
- Raffle ticket sales
- Nothing Bundt Cakes Fundraiser
- Guest Bartender Nights
- NHL/NFL Pools
- Corporate Sponsorships
- Individual donations & girls
Questions About Hosting
How long will Viikingit players be staying with families?
Players will arrive on Wednesday, April 1, and will leave on Sunday, April 12, 2020.
How many players does a family host?
A family who volunteers to host during the tournament will host two players.
How well do the players speak English?
Ability ranges from player to player. Although the Viikingit organizers try to pair a stronger English speaker with one that may not be as fluent, some players have a limited vocabulary. You will be surprised how quickly you and your family will adapt and find a way to communicate. When needed, an English/Finnish app can be a savior.
We don’t have a spare bedroom. Does that mean we can’t host a player?
Absolutely not. In fact, previous host families have found that players welcome quaint accommodations. Some families worked to provide each player with their own rooms only to get requests from the players to share a room. Families have found that, like our own kids, players are more than happy to share rooms with their teammates and Hawks players, sleep on floors and air mattresses, and pull-out couches.
What is the time commitment for host families?
Host families need to provide their Viikingit players with rides to and from the Skatium for practices and games, per the itinerary. Most activities will originate from the Skatium. In previous years, host families have coordinated carpooling with other families who live close by.
Host families are encouraged to attend the Welcome Event (evening) and the Farewell Dinner on Saturday evening. They are expected to host a dinner for their Viikingit players’ families, and join in the weekly events as schedules permit.
Although not required, host families will find that they get the most out of the experience if they can take some time off during the week to spend with your own kids and those that you host.
What are the financial responsibilities?
Hosting Viikingit players can cost as little or as much as you want. The only requirements are to provide food, and a comfortable, fun environment.
What do we do to entertain players during their downtime?
The players’ schedules will be relatively full during the week with excursions planned most days. When they are with host families, they enjoy being outside, playing street hockey and knee hockey, playing video games – in other words, the same things your kids enjoy.
What other tips do you have for host families?
If you decide you would like to host, you can work with other host families to carpool and host meals/dinners. Invite teammates to join your players to hang-out, play in the yard, have a meal.
How do I sign up to host?
We will be requesting host families in early January. If you chair a Finland Committee you are guaranteed the opportunity to host, if interested. If you know now that you want to host, please contact Katie McFadden.
Do you still have questions?
Reach out to the Finland Exchange Chairs: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katie McFadden | m: 215-287-6238 | e: email@example.com
Bob Frey | m: 610-608-6370 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Lindelow | m: 610-716-7446 | e: email@example.com
Kate Stickel | m: 610-235-9932 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org