MONDAY, FEB. 21, 2010Will Bailey #25:
It's the last night of our trip before we head home tomorrow morning. This has been such a great experience that I know I will remember for the rest of my life. It felt so awesome to represent the Avs in Quebec at this tournament. I felt proud wearing the jersey and playing at the Colisee where the fans are so into the game. When we played there it seriously felt like an NHL game because there were so many people.
I think we definitely got better as a team over the tournament. We played a lot of hockey games and I think it will help us be better prepared going into the state tournament in a couple weeks. We have a good chance to win state because of all the experience we got on this trip.
One of my favorite things we did here besides play hockey was going to the Ice Hotel. It was awesome and nothing like I expected! There was an ice slide in the lobby, tables and chairs made out of ice and rooms with different themes in what they had carved in the wall. It was cool to visit but I definitely wouldn't stay there overnight- the beds are made out of ice with just a mattress and a fur blanket. No thanks!
Even though we didn't get as far as we hoped in the tournament, this has been such a great experience. I definitely want to come back to Quebec to visit someday. Brandon Tangney #18:
We are just starting to travel back to Denver. This whole experience and tournament have been so great. We were able to play 10 games throughout the time we were in the tournament, against some great teams from a bunch of other countries like England, Austria, Slovenia, and a bunch of teams from Canada. The hardest part about leaving here and going home is leaving my billet family.
My billet family was so great and I had so much fun with them. Their two daughters, Emmy and Kasey, were like my little sisters by the end of the trip and it was really hard to say goodbye. We spent so much time with them and will stay in touch with them forever. I think I am going to come back over the summer to spend some more time with them and then I think my billet sisters are going to come to Denver sometime in the next couple years. The best thing we did with my family was going snowmobiling. They have a vacation home by a lake that you can only get to by snowmobile. It was really fun to drive the snowmobiles around their house and the lake.
My team got some great experience here playing teams from all over the world which we couldn't have done anywhere else. I am not ready to go back home but this experience has been unbelievable. Nick Chavez #4:
The last two weeks have been something I will never forget. There are so many things that I will take away from this experience. Being away from my family for the first time was tough at first because I have never really been on my own without them, but my billet family made me fell so comfortable and took great care of me. This tournament is amazing, just because you can tell that everyone in Quebec loves hockey and they are completely surrounded by it. We went to the finals at the Colisee and there were thousands of people there to watch the games. It’s really amazing how many good players and teams are here in the tournament but it is even more surprising how big this tournament is in the city.
My billet family experience was great and I will always remember them. They really didn't speak English at all so we had to use a language dictionary so we could speak together. By the end of the trip I learned some French and they learned some English and we were able to communicate much easier. The food that they have here is so good and quite a bit different than back home. I had never had crepes before but my billet mom made them a couple times with some homemade maple syrup. They also have these things called 'whippets' which are chocolate covered marshmallow candy. They are amazing and I could definitely eat a whole box of them.
Being surrounded by the French culture here in Canada and representing the Avalanche and Colorado was great. These last two week have flown by and now we have to get home and get ready for our state playoffs.SUNDAY, FEB. 21, 2010Max Tennant #9:
I think this is such a great tournament and we have had so much fun so far. There is great competition here and I think it’s really special because so many guys that played here when they were Pee Wees are playing in the NHL like Paul Stastny
, Wojtek Wolski and a bunch of others. I think the best part of this trip is just being able to play hockey all the time. We have played more games than I ever have in a tournament and it makes our team a lot better. I think our team has really grown throughout this tournament because we are around each other all the time and we have played a bunch of great teams.
We played Slovenia in our last game here and tied them 3-3. They were huge and played much more aggressive than we are used to. I thought that we played well and we really did a good job in our offensive zone, but their goalie was really good and stopped a lot of shots.
My billet family is awesome and I am really happy that I have stayed with them all week. There are two kids who are the same age as me in our billet family and we get to play pond hockey with them a lot which is so much fun. The outdoor pond is two minutes away from their house so we make it there a lot. They also make the best food ever; crepes are now my favorite.SATURDAY, FEB. 20, 2010John Newman #50:
Yesterday we played two exhibition games. One was against Austria and one a local team from Quebec. The Austria team was interesting to play because I noticed they had a different style of play. I thought it was cool to experience that and I know I won't get that many more opportunities to compete against people that live in different countries than me. We ended up losing, but only by one goal so it was more about the experience.
It feels awesome to get to go on this trip. Between staying with my billet parents, Sonia and Pierre, and all the other awesome stuff we get to do like Go-Karting, it has been a great experience. We also got to go to the Ice Hotel the other day which was really cool. It was very cold and icy but also really colorful and cool because each area was designed a different way, I saw a room with a huge mermaid carved in the wall and the lobby had a big ice slide we could go down. It was awesome! I would definitely stay overnight there.
It really feels so awesome to be playing in this tournament. I know it’s only certain teams that get to come and I really feel proud to be a part of the team representing the Avalanche in Quebec this year! Ryan Murphy #37:
My favorite part of this trip has been all the hockey we have played. Between playing floor hockey with my billet family and playing in the Colisee, it has all been amazing! My billet family has a son, Liam, who is a goalie like I am so I think it is cool that we have that in common. He is playing in the tournament as well and they have won a couple games so I hope they keep winning so we can see them play in the finals. I've also loved just getting to visit Quebec and be in another country. I had never been to Canada before so it has been a totally new experience for me.
It's also been cool to play teams from outside the U.S. Of course, we have gotten to play Canadian teams, but also a team from England, and yesterday, Austria. I was in net yesterday against Austria which was really fun, but it was weird to hear them speaking another language on the ice. We were tied 2-2 against them and they scored in the last few minutes of the third period. It was a tough loss but still really fun. I have never had that experience before so I thought it was pretty cool.
Overall, I am loving the experience and feel so proud to represent the Avalanche here. I think this is an experience I will remember forever!FRIDAY, FEB. 19, 2010Austen Peterson #91:
I think that this whole tournament and experience we are getting is really special especially because we get to represent Colorado and the Avalanche. One of the best parts of this trip has been playing at the Colisee. There are always so many people there and they are all really into the games. They love hockey here, that's for sure.
We played two games in one day against the Saint John Sea Dogs and Anaheim Ducks. It is really great to be able to play so many times up here because there are so many great teams. We beat Saint John and then tied against Anaheim but we played much better than our last tournament game against Hershey. Most of the teams here are really good and play a very aggressive style of hockey. We have seen so many great teams here, something that will really help our team in the future.
My billet family is really one of the best parts of the experience here. They are so much fun to be with and they are really supportive. They come to almost every game we play and are there for us when ever we need anything. We are usually playing knee hockey in their basement for hours every night, something I don't get to do at home. I am really happy to be here. Cody Noel #81:
This has been the best experience of my hockey career. There are so many teams here and they are all big, fast and play great team hockey. I think we are going to learn a lot here because there are many of the best Pee Wees in the world here.
My favorite thing to do on the trip here is to spend time at the Colisee. There are games going on all day which are really fun to watch and I also like to trade pins with other teams. There are so many cool pins that I have seen, definitely not like any other tournament I have been to.
My billet family is really nice but the best part about their house is that they have great food for us all the time. They really want us to do well so they make sure that we have everything we need. I have eaten some stuff that I know and tried some new food like poutine. It is french fries, gravy and cheese. I didn't know if I would like it at first but it is so good!
It means everything to me to be here because we are not only representing our hockey association but also Colorado and the Avalanche. This is really a great tournament and I am looking forward to playing some more games!THURSDAY, FEB. 18, 2010John Kane #88:
This trip has been all about new experiences for me. There have been a bunch of things here that I have done or tried for the first time in my life. Playing at the Colisee has of course been amazing but we've been doing a ton of other fun stuff too. My favorite thing so far was going go-karting, which I had never done before. I did pretty good for it being my first time and ended up getting 3rd place out of 12. Afterwards, my billet mom took us on a three-mile walk along the St. Lawrence River to clear our lungs from all the fumes in the go-karting place. She really wants to be sure we are able to perform our best and she is awesome. I've also tried some food that I've never had before like crepes and some French snacks.
My billet family is really nice. They have a son that is my age and also playing in the tournament. When we're at their house we play a lot of knee hockey which is fun. I think the people in Quebec are really nice in general. I was surprised by how big the city is and how many people there are. I guess I was expecting it to be a lot smaller.
Yesterday we played the Hershey Jr. Bears in our second game and it was not pretty. We could have played a lot better. We really need to work on our teamwork and stop stickhandling so much. We tried to do way too many toe drags today and Hershey was just a really good team. We didn't play well at all yesterday, but even though it was a horrible game for us, I still liked playing at the Colisee. Evan Smith #31:
Quebec is a lot different than I thought it would be. It is really old and you can tell there is a lot of culture with the way the buildings and people are. I think it is really fun to be here and so far an awesome experience. Something not so awesome was our game yesterday against Hershey though. I played bad in goal and the team played bad too. I would say we weren't prepared. We didn't think they were going to be as good as they were and we weren't mentally in the game like we should have been. When Will Bailey scored a goal to cut our deficit to 3-1, I thought we had a chance but then they came right back and scored to make it 4-1.
Today we went to the Sliding Hill which was so fun and kind of a good way to move on from our terrible game. It is like a ski resort but all tubing down the slopes. There are some really steep hills too so you can get going pretty fast. I had never done anything like that so it was awesome.
I think overall this had been a great experience so far. Even the not so fun stuff like playing a team that was faster and stronger than us taught us a lesson about being prepared and working hard as a team. I think we will grow as a team through this trip. TUESDAY, FEB. 16, 2010Alec Taylor #17:
This has been such a great trip so far, you can really tell it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Yesterday we were able to play against England. We won 7-6 in a shootout. They were a pretty good team but we let them come back when we were up 4-0 in the first period. It was really different playing a team from a different country because their style of play was a bit different from any of the teams we played before. Their breakouts were definitely different and they pressured a little differently than I have seen before. We played well for a while against them and then didn't play as well as we could have the rest of the game.
One of the best things about the trip is my billet family. They are so nice and take such good care of us, and make crepes which are so good! They don't speak English at all so its fun to learn some French and to teach them some English words so we can talk.
It really means a lot to me to represent the Avalanche and to play in this tournament. This is by far the best thing I have ever done and will remember it forever. Jake LeBauer #97:
Yesterday was a really fun day because we got to go drive go-karts at a place near the Colisee. They go so fast and there were way too many wrecks but I think I had the fastest time. We also played England at the ice rink inside the mall. I have never played in a mall before and even though there are lots of distractions there it really didn't matter because once the game got started I was concentrated on that.
The game yesterday was good and bad. We played really well to start and then just really let England come back into it. Finally at the end of the game we had a shootout because we were still tied. I was the last shooter on our team and could win it if I scored. I have never missed a shootout chance so I was confident. Plus, my coach taught me a good move that I use quite a bit and it worked. I skate down, take my stick and make a circle around the puck with it. Goalies freeze and it worked again today.
Quebec is such a cool city because it is like being in Europe. The buildings are really old and very similar to ones that I saw in Europe when I went to Austria. I love being here playing hockey, this tournament is so much fun.MONDAY, FEB. 15, 2010#11 Carter Yang:
I really like the trip so far! It has been really fun even though we've just been here a few days. Playing at the Colisee for the first time was so awesome. The fans watching the tournament are really into it so it makes for a great atmosphere to play in. There are so many people watching I get a little nervous before the game starts but we've been playing good so I trust my team. I think the people here like the Avalanche a lot so it feels great to represent the organization. I found out today that one of my favorite players, John-Michael Liles, played at this tournament when he was a Pee Wee so it's awesome to know that some guys in the NHL started where we are.
We've gotten to do other fun stuff here too. My billet family took me and my family about an hour out of Quebec today to go snowmobiling. It was awesome! I like the billet family experience so far and not just because we got to go snowmobiling. They are really nice and it is interesting staying with a different family than my own- even though we do a lot of the same stuff back home like play Wii and Xbox and watch the Olympics.
Last, I just want to say hi to my Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Norm in San Francisco- Hi from Quebec!! #26 Billy Kowalski:
This is such a great experience so far. I am learning a lot from my billet family and it’s really interesting. I like learning about a new culture and their different activities than my own. One thing that has surprised me is how well my billet family speaks and understands English. I am looking forward to trying to learn some French from them too while I am here. The family has two boys about my age and they have been teaching me a couple things to say so I'm starting to pick-up on it.
One of the billet families had a party last night and a few other billet families, our parents, and our coaches all came. The host kept saying there was going to be a big surprise but none of us could imagine what it would be. Well, all of a sudden a shuttle pulled up and the Winter Carnival mascot got out! He is this huge snowman guy and his picture is all over Quebec. He is like a superstar here so it was a pretty big deal to have him come to our party. It was pretty funny and we took a bunch of pictures with him. The food was so good at the party too and it gave me some time to hang out with my teammates and billet family kids so it was really fun.
We don't have another tournament game until Wednesday but I am already looking forward to it. I'm excited to play in the Colisee again and getting as far as we can in this tournament.SUNDAY, FEB. 14, 2010
#6 Reid Goodman:
We've been here a couple days now and I am loving it. It is really exciting to be in Quebec. The city is really cool and fun. I met my billet family last night and they are really nice. The parents’ names are Chantal and Dany and they have four kids. We spent our first night there watching the Olympic ceremony. It's pretty cool to be in Canada during the Olympics. My favorite event is hockey of course, go Stastny and Team USA!
We played our first exhibition game today against a team that some of the billet families' kids play on. They are in a division lower than us so it was mostly for fun even though we still played hard. It kind of felt like a practice which was great because we need it before our next tournament game on Wednesday. From here on out it is single-elimination so it's important for us to get the ice time. We ended up winning 10-0 and then did a shoot-out which was awesome. Everyone on each team got a chance to shoot and they won the shoot-out 5-3 so everyone won in the end!
One of my favorite things about being here is representing the Avalanche. I'm a big Avs fan so I feel proud to wear the same logo as some of my favorite players. I'm looking forward to playing more tournament games and hopefully winning. I know we need to work hard, pass a lot and control the puck. If we can do those things I think we have a good shot at making it far in the tournament! #40 Keane McClintock:
I first want to give a shout-out to two special ladies since today is Valentine's Day and all. My mom and sister, Marisa- I love you!
This trip is awesome! There is so much going on in Quebec right now with the tournament and the Winter Carnival. There is a huge ice castle and tons of ice sculptures everywhere. So cool!
I like the tournament so far. We play a lot of games but it is nice because we get time off to do fun stuff in between. Since it is such a long tournament, I think that by the end if we work together as a team we'll improve our fundamentals and grow as hockey players. I think we just need to work on playing unselfishly and working hard. We have really played well so far in our two games but we need to get better as we go so we can keep playing at the Colisee.
Besides hockey, we get to experience a lot of new stuff by staying with our billet family. This morning my billet mom made us crepes with chocolate, bananas, raspberries and strawberries for breakfast. They were delicious! Also, everyone here speaks French, which is of course different for me, but I am starting to get used to it. This is such a great experience.
SATURDAY, FEB 13, 2010#1 AJ Vanderbeck:
Before we left for Quebec there was a lot of cool stuff we got to do, the best was being presented on the ice at an Avalanche game and getting a clinic from Matt Duchene
and Ryan Wilson
. Those guys were really fun and relaxed and just told us to come and do our best. I felt confident before we got here knowing that we would have to come and play our hardest like we would at any tournament.
Going into our game yesterday I was nervous and excited. Getting out on the ice I noticed it was a lot louder than normal. I think the people here get really into the games, but I wasn't expecting that. I thought that we played pretty well yesterday, we scored the first goal and had a 2-1 lead in the third period but they scored to tie it up and send it into overtime. We had to play 4-on-4 in overtime and we were able to get a power play to make it 4-on-3. I scored the second of my two goals in overtime and we won 3-2. I was very nervous because I know the puck could bounce and go either way. But we played really hard and got the "W" for our first game in Quebec! #5 Alex Bates:
We left Denver on Thursday and it was a pretty long travel day. Our flight to Dallas was cancelled (who knew it snowed in Dallas?) so we had to fly through Toronto instead. It wasn't bad though, on the plane I did homework, watched a movie and talked with my teammates so the time went by pretty fast.
Now that we're in Quebec I think it is awesome. It's pretty cold, but the town is really nice and kind of old-fashioned looking. I don't really understand anything anyone is saying but I guess I'll get used to that!
Today we had our first tournament game against the Lewiston MAINEiacs. It was so cool coming onto the ice at the Colisee. It felt like playing at Pepsi Center during the Quebec Qualifier. There were tons of people so I was a little nervous. During the game I thought we played good in our D-Zone but we could have had more pressure and had a better forecheck. Going into overtime is always a little scary but we played hard and got the win.
While in Quebec, I'm mostly looking forward to representing the Avalanche and getting to know my billet family. We are going to meet our billet families for the first time tonight so I am excited!