The first bit of advice I have is to actually provide a basket! Some teams have gotten away from this practice, but it's a good way to build bridges between leagues. With travel money getting tighter, it's imperative to make visiting leagues want to come to you. Part of that can be the way you treat the visiting league, and gift baskets are a nice way to welcome people to your venue.
Core comforts should be provided in each basket; bananas seem to be the number one item people want. Sometimes it's hard to transport fruit, especially fruit that bruises if you sneeze on it. Bananas are nature's recovery food, and even though I hate the texture and taste of them, I'm always grateful to see them in a gift basket, because I know it's something I should eat at half time. OTC pain killers are also a giant help! You never know when you might get a headache or muscle pain in a game. My personal favorite OTC? Goody Powders. If you aren't southern, you might not be familiar with this miracle powder, but you can find it here. It's not for the faint of heart! Feminine hygiene products can really save someone from a difficult situation, but make sure not to skimp on the quality. Nothing sucks worse than cheap-o tampons. Other than that, food is always welcome; I personally love chocolate, but any kind of food works for me!
Skating essentials are always a good bet. Some skate laces, duct tape (fun prints are the best!) and maybe a package of Astro Nuts might make a skater's day. Another "skating" necessity is a sharpie marker. Every coach carries sharpies, but half of them dry out over time. Having a fresh marker in a basket can make everything easier for a coach dealing with a million things on the road. People often forget their bandanas when they travel too, so buy a pack of cheap bandanas and if you have time, personalize them with some fabric paint. Useful, thoughtful and fun basket stuffers can bring a smile to the other team's faces.
Swag from your team can be a nice thing to add to the basket. Buttons and stickers don't cost a lot, and they make great mementos I have a "derby hat" which has a pin from every derby team I've played or seen play. I'm always looking to add to it, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Finally, make sure the gift basket has enough programs in it for the team. Personally, I tend to forget to grab a program in the hustle and bustle of a travel game, but I love to collect them.
|My pin collection has grown exponentially since this picture was taken.|
PS! Don't forget your zebras! Zebras like gift baskets too!