October 21, 2008

Welcome to Hockey Country!!

That's what you will hear from the 1500 volunteers for the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa from December 26 - January 5.

I made it through the Police Records check, the reference check and the interview and am among the 1500 chosen ones to make this the best IIHF event ever. Tonight we had our first en masse orientation session where we heard key general level informmation from Bob Nicholson (video), Cyril Leeder and others.

  • The tickets are at the printers and should be in our mailboxes by mid-November. The covers for the ticket packages will feature pictures from the last two Canadian gold medal teams. The individual tickets will have pictures of significant past players from all countries.

  • We got a sneak-peek at the gold medals that have been designed by the Royal Canadian Mint - niiiiice.

  • Team selection should take place early December.

  • Visiting teams training camps and exhibition games will take place around the province. If you can't make it to Ottawa for the tournament, maybe you can catch some of the pre-tournament action near you.

  • Did you know that the long-standing Team Canada logo was designed by someone from Kanata? Neither did I. It's about time this tournment finally got here! His name was mentioned and I already have forgotten it. Paul Hansen? Someone out there correct me please on this one.

  • Eugene Melnyk has guaranteed how much money this tournament will make. In the past, and for the next two times it is in Canada, it was/is the provinces making the guarantee. Props to Mr. Melnyk.

  • The logistics are pretty amazing. TSN will have a huge presence of course and all the stuff that goes with that.

  • Team dressing rooms have already been assigned in both venues. Team Canada scores big-time - they get the Ottawa Senators space for the whole tourny. Sweden gets the Ottawa 67s dressing room at the Civic Centre.

  • The arena-currently-known-as-Scotia-Bank-Place will simply be SBP for the tournament. This was not specifically mentioned during the sesssion but was easy to figure out since any time someone started with Sco...they quickly changed to SBP. Being the clever folks that we are (me and the guy sitting beside me) we realized it's a sponsorship thing. RBC is a big sponsor; Scotia Bank is not. Every mention of the real arena name is a plug for a competitor of a key sponsor.

  • We will get our uniforms, volunteer manuals, and detailed orientations including venue tours in early December. I'm part of the Team Canada Family crew that will be taking care of certain things related to the family members of Team Canada.

  • They were really clear - if you want to watch a game live - buy a ticket!

  • There will be fan events planned outside of the actual games. Look for HHOF stuff to be on display at the Aberdeen Pavillion and if you can't make the Canada-USA game live on New Year's Eve, they are planning some large outdoor (?) place to show the game on a large screen. We're not afraid of no winter here! This is Hockey Country and we know how to embrace winter!! Even if you can't make it to any games (but there should be lots of folks selling tickets they cannot use from their package), there should be lots to take in.

Keep checking the Hockey Canada site for new information. This is going to be pretty fun - can't wait.

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