Canada concluded it’s pre-competition camp on Thursday (Christmas Eve) and depart Kisallio for Helsinki on Christmas Day, on the eve of the 2004 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Kisakallio is a Sports Training Centre located approximately one hour northwest of Helsinki, and just outside of a town named Lohja. The Centre has been an ideal location for Team Canada to get away, get some practices in and prepare for the challenge that awaits it in Helsinki. And on this Christmas Eve, it was a magical place to be, with spectacular scenery as far as the eye can see.
On Christmas Eve, Canada held a practice in the morning, what amounted to be Canada’s last ice session in Kisakallio. In the afternoon, the team had a couple fun activities, including a snowshoe trek through the trails and a visit to what is a Finnish institution, the sauna.
This was followed by Christmas dinner, and a gift exchange which was also attended by the one and only Santa Claus. It was another great day for Team Canada. Now the task at hand is upon us. And it starts with a daunting challenge, the host Finnish team which let alone know that it will be a contender, by defeating the favorite American side 4-1 in exhibition play.
The staff and players of Team Canada would like to extend their best wishes to all of their families, friends, teammates and fans back in Canada. Have a very Merry Christmas! See you in Helsinki.