Team Canada Update: Dec. 19, 2000
It has been quite a hectic 48 hours for Canada's National Junior Team. It may have been two days, but with a flight right in the middle, it sure seemed like one very long day.
Monday morning, Canada announced the final four players being re-assigned to their club teams. It's never an easy time, and these players are appropriately disappointed. Coach Stan Butler said it best to the media later that day when he said that he would be very surprised if they weren't very disappointed.
The final 2001 NJT met for the first time for breakfast at the hotel. There were many very happy faces, and as many relieved faces. All the players were very tired, having barely slept on the final night of camp. It was then off to the arena for the team photo and an opportunity to meet the media.
Media was on hand in droves and every player had his opportunity at one point to explain how he felt. TSN was also on hand as producer Kenny Wong coordinated introductions for games and the such with a number of the players. We all look forward to seeing them on air.
A luncheon followed, hosted by Mel Raskin and the Beatrice Ice Gardens who were terrific hosts over the last week.
A couple of hours of packing and then it was off to the airport. Check-in went without a hitch and before long we were getting on board for the beginning of a 12 hour journey to our first destination, Stockholm, Sweden.
Once we arrived in Sweden, we realized that some of our hockey equipment, namely sticks, pucks and tape, hadn't arrived with us. Four hours away from our first practice, there were some grumblings but it all worked out in the end. The sticks et. all showed up some five minutes before practice. The practice was great as the coaches started implementing power play and shorthanded systems with the guys. Even though everyone is tired, there was also a lot of pent up energy from the flight over.
In the evening, the team met for about an hour after supper. The players were asked how they want to be remembered. There was no lack of answers as the coaching staff has clearly assembled a driven and enthousiastic group.
Finally, it's off to sleep. We have now been travelling and setting up for the equivalent of 32 straight hours. Some of the guys slept on the plane but not much more than a couple hours.