December 24, 2008

Only 2 More Sleeps...

...until the World Juniors start in Ottawa.

But preparations have been underway for some time. Now it's down to the final details.

Work already started at the Civic Center before the 67s - Petes game on Friday and resumed in earnest right after the game.

Flags were put up before the game and the usual press box was taken over by camera crews getting ready for the tournament. Right after the game, the advertising around the rink in front of the first rows were taken down as was all the glass around the ice.

Today, some of the Team Canada Family volunteers gathered at SBP to see the lay of the land and prepare the lounge where the family members of Team Canada players can, among other things, see their boys after the games.

It's down at the ice-level part of the arena and we had Team Canada banners, jerseys of past Team Canada gold medal captains and reminders of the long history of Team Canada success to arrange. If I may say so myself, the lounge looks pretty good. It will be a comfortable place for the families to wait for their brief meetings with their boys. Our job is to be concierges for the Team Canada family members both at SBP and at their hotel.

The Operations and Events folks at SBP were really helpful as we ran back and forth asking for stuff. Vlad was particularly helpful as he has set up this room on many occasions and knows what works in there. It's amazing all the stuff they have squirreled away in the nooks and crannies. I joked whether anyone has ended up down there for days. Vlad just matter-of-factly stated that it's one big circle - keep walking and you'll emerge somewhere.

There was a test game going on - a dress rehearsal for the goal judges, anthem singer, announcers and the like. They actually had a couple of teams of young men (about 12 years old I would guess) playing a game.

TSN has a huge collection of equipment and what looks like a studio on wheels at the loading dock and there is an area just for their crew.

Teams started checking in and we saw the Germans practice. They were at the Ottawa - Dallas game on Saturday so they saw the arena from the 100-level. Today they saw what it looks like from the ice. It probably will be a bit awesome (in the truest meaning of the word) when play their first game on Boxing Day against Team USA.

It was a beehive of activity that might look like random actions to the untrained eye but you could see order emerging. While watching these preparations are impressive, you know that for every bit of effort expended today, there have been days, if not weeks of preparation leading to this. This is quite the undertaking.

Looking forward as a fan and as a volunteer to help making this the best World Juniors ever!

Welcome to Hockey Country everyone. This is going to be great!!

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