There are some things many Canadian families have in common, especially families that spend a lot of time around the rink.

The passion of the community; all those volunteer hours; the joy of watching the kids excel on the ice; the sweat, tears and hard work that go into every practice and game. And, of course, who could forget those early morning drives in the winter’s worst conditions so that it can all be possible.

There’s (almost) nothing more Canadian than getting up at the crack of dawn to catch some fresh ice for hockey practice or an early tournament in a far-flung town. Brewing a pot of coffee, serving as the family’s alarm clock, lugging the gear outside, and scraping the ice and snow from the windshield and then finally hitting the road.

Luckily, Canadians are well versed in the unpredictability of the season.  Early morning drives in the wintertime can be especially treacherous – the snowplows may not have made their way through the neighbourhood yet, visibility may be poor, black ice can sneak up on you…and all this while you’re still wiping sleep from your eyes!

That’s why Ford engineers designed the Ford Edge with the needs of Canadian families in mind.

We go further so that you can – on the rink and in any weather.

The 2017 Ford Edge is 5-star safety rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – the U.S. Government’s highest overall safety rating –  and comes with the latest Ford tech you need to get the family to the rink safely. We’d venture to say that the only vehicle more ‘hockey’ is an actual Zamboni.

Loading up gear into your vehicle’s cargo hold can be a two-handed job. With Available Foot-Activated, Hands-Free Power Liftgate, you simply tap your foot under the rear bumper to automatically open the liftgate and load up your cargo. No need to grab the Intelligent Access Key from your pocket. It’s perfect for when you’re shorthanded.

Once inside, there’s tons of space for all your sports stuff – even for a goaltender. If you need even more space, you can fold down the Edge’s second-row seats at the touch of a button with the EasyFold seat release, unlocking a total of 2,078 L of cargo space.

How’s your stickhandling? Available Adaptive Steering means that the steering response of the Ford Edge’s front wheels are optimized to ensure a smooth ride with enhanced control and handling, reactive to your vehicle’s speed. Available Intelligent All-Wheel Drive monitors traction to assist you in all types of road conditions – even the unpredictable roads that characterize driving when the seasons slowly turn from winter to spring.

There’s nothing more important than your family’s safety. That’s why you should place your all-season tires in the penalty box each winter. Winter tires perform up to 25% better than all-season tires and improve your traction and control when the temperature dips below 7º Celsius. Check out our winter tire guide so that you don’t get a penalty for charging into another vehicle before the game starts.

Standard on all 2017 Ford Edge models, the Individual Tire Pressure Monitoring System keeps tabs on each tire’s air pressure and notifies you when any one of your tires fall below recommended levels, so that you don’t blow a wheel on your breakaway.

Warm and fuzzy

While technology is no substitute for driver attentiveness, it can help keep you focus on the things that matter, like getting your family safely where they need to go. And then when you get there, you can shift your focus entirely to the game, supporting your son or daughter from the stands, coffee in hand, bundled-up and ready to do it all over again next week.

Rough early morning drives in winter’s worst conditions? A steady spring drizzle before the sun is at its strongest? Drafty gyms that are somehow both hot AND cold at the same time? Ask any mom or dad; see if they’d trade it for the world.

Check out our list of wintertime essentials that every driver should carry with them, and brush up on the dangers of drowsy driving for those extra early mornings.

What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you on an early morning drive? Tell us below in the comments or on Ford Canada’s Facebook page.