December 28, 2008

WJHC - Day 2

Today was my first volunteer gig with the Team Canada Families. There is a lounge set up in their hotel for meetings and to provide an alternative to their rooms just to hang out, get information, etc. The Team Canada Family volunteers keep the room ship shape (with the assistance of the very attentive hotel staff) and help the family members when asked.

In their meeting with the parents, Bob Nicholson, other Hockey Canada executives and Dave Branch thanked the families for the long years of dedication, sacrifice and support. These parents here and the hundreds of thousands others across Canada are the bedrock of our national obsession and for that we are all grateful.

Chatting with several of the parents and other family members you really understand that they are just like hockey families across Canada. They have put in years of practices, tournaments, games, the ups, the downs, more than on kid, the whole business. They went a step further than most having sent their sons, in some cases as young as 16 and in some cases as far as three provinces away to someone else's care for months of the year. They take it all in stride.

Watching them standing and chatting - it could have been a group of parents at a community hockey rink for a tournament instead of being in the nations capital while their sons represent the country for a world championship.

I think it's a very big deal. And for their efforts we get some of the best entertainment value possible.

While I was hanging out with the families (and getting my butt kicked at some version of an NHL game on an X-box) the spousal unit was at the Civic Centre watching the Slovak - Latvia game. Despite the score he said it was a very entertaining game. The Latvian fans really made the atmosphere enjoyable (unless you were right in front of the drums I suppose) and despite being outplayed, there was lots of spirit. He observed that the Latvians seemed to understand the concept of hitting but they were still figuring out the execution. He seemed to enjoy the game more than the two blowouts at SBP the day before (although being comfortable at the Civic Centre rather than freezing at SBP might have had a lot to do with it).

Today's schedule has the spousal unit taking in the Russia - Finland game before heading to SBP for the USA - Czech game. I will be with the Team Canada Families for the Kazakhstan - Canada game. I hope to join my ticket buddies for the USA - Czech game once my duties are fulfilled.

I believe today is day 1 of the Bell Cup. Now we are really in the one and only Hockey Country!!

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