Sunday, Feb. 22#88 – Kimberley Slate
In the morning of our last day, it was really sad to think about having to leave our billet family and leave Quebec. I was looking forward to this tournament for a long time, and now that it is coming to an end I am a little upset.
Before we left for our farewell lunch, we played pond hockey one final time with our billet family. During my stay with my family I really enjoyed traveling to the parade with them. It was interesting to see and compare how different parades are in Quebec as opposed to the United States.
I am very thankful for this opportunity and would like to thank everyone involved that gave us this opportunity. There was a lot of hard work that people put into this so me and my teammates thank them for that. Many people sacrificed a lot for us to be able to play in this tournament. I would like to say thank you to our billet families for letting complete strangers live in their houses. They opened their doors, fed us and showed us the most amazing time for the past two weeks. This has been a trip of a lifetime! We wish we could have won, but we played hard and still got to experience so many amazing new things.#72 – Blake King
When I woke up I was sad to know today would be the day we would have to say our goodbyes to our billet families and leave Quebec City. Over the last 12 days, we have formed a bond with our billet families. I know I have only known them
for a few days, but we have had the best time together and I feel like we are actually a family. They opened their doors to us, fed us, took us to team activities and gave us an experience of a lifetime.
At the goodbye lunch, we were called up one by one to the front of the room to say what our favorite thing was and a few words to summarize our personal experience. I informed everyone that I enjoyed playing king of the hill because none of my teammates could beat me. I also used the time to thank my billet family for making this the coolest thing ever. The tournament was fun, even though we did not do as well as we hoped. We were able to explore a historical city and learn about the French culture. We played teams from across the world and were exposed to the game of hockey on so many different levels.
At the very end, Trace and I hugged our billet parents, Vincent and Julie, in a group hug and said our final goodbyes. It was tough to hold back the emotion we were feeling because we had grown so close to them. I know through this experience I have made lifelong friends and memories that will never be forgotten.
Thank you to my coaches and the Avalanche organization for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Au revoir Quebec!Saturday, Feb. 21#30 – Nicholas Junkin
Today we played the Austria Selects in what would be our last game in Quebec City. I thought we came out strong in this game especially since we wanted to leave on a high note. We were moving well and communicating as a team, which led to a 5-0 win. As the goalie, it felt great to get the shutout and I was proud to know that my teammates fought until the last whistle to secure that win. It is pretty cool to say that we got the opportunity and beat a European team. From a goalie's perspective, the teams we have been playing are very fast and we have faced more shots that we normally do.
We have been having a very nice time with our billet families on this trip. We have been eating very well, and I have tried foods I would have never tried before. Our billet father took us on a tour of old Quebec City. We learned that the wall surrounded the city 400 years ago and that the British were trying to capture Quebec City. The old city looks very European, and I have been very intrigued by the French culture.
The trip thus far has been so amazing, we have: stayed with a local family, tried new foods, learned about a new culture, met new friends and become closer as a team. Even though we were not able to win the tournament, we were able to represent the Colorado Avalanche and wear the logo with pride.Friday, Feb. 20#10 – Fuller Loose
When the bus pulled up to the rink for our elimination game, I had butterflies. In the locker room we were focused on the game and excited to hit the ice. We unfortunately lost the game and were eliminated from the tournament. The game was a tight 2-2 hockey game heading into the third period, but we unfortunately could not come up victorious and lost 4-2.
Since we lost and had been eliminated from the tournament, we scheduled exhibition games and team activities. In the morning, we had a team practice at a local school where they had a really nice outdoor rink. It was really cold, but it was fun playing in our Avalanche team jerseys and something we could not do in Denver. We hit the ice and snow was blowing in our faces. As we were doing a scrimmage, the recess bell rang and all of the students ran outside from the school. The students quickly surrounded our rink and were singing and dancing in French. We got a group photo with the students and gave them High Fives as we left. It was an unbelievable experience and something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
This is the best trip I have ever been a part of, and I have really enjoyed all of the team activities we have been doing, especially the tubing hill. My billet family is super nice, and they love hockey so we have been playing a lot of pond hockey as well. I’ve learned that in Quebec it is mandatory to take off your hat at the dinner table. I have also really enjoyed trading pins with the other teams, and it has been really fun since I have been able to do that with my brother Charlie, who is up here watching me play. I have felt like a professional hockey player on this trip, which has been very special. #20 – Drew Fehr
When I heard we were going to the ice hotel, I did not really know what to expect but I thought it would be a really cool. The entire hotel was carved out of ice, which was pretty incredible to think about. There was a slide inside the hotel that me and my teammates went down. There were regular rooms throughout the hotel, but also suites and each of the suites had a theme. My favorite suite in the hotel was the hockey themed room that had a few players and goalie carved in the room. We also got drinks in ice cups, which were really nice because they kept our drinks extra cold.
During my free time with my billet families, I have been doing all sorts of fun things. The other night, I went skating with my billet family on a lake that had a track that was one mile around. I have spent a lot of time with my billet brother playing mini hockey and PS4. I have become very close with my family over these past few days, and I am not looking forward to leaving Quebec. The city is really cool and very different than Colorado. #29 – Hayden Klem
I have only been to Canada once before so I was really excited for this trip. Overall, this adventure has been amazing so far. The weather has been extremely cold, but we are still enjoying ourselves and having a ton of fun. Quebec City is lit up all the time, and I have learned that the city is full of history.
I would like to tell my billet family, thank you very much for letting me stay with them. They have made this a great experience for me and my teammates so far, and this wouldn’t be possible without them.
Since we were eliminated from the tournament and just playing exhibition games, the team's goal was to finish this trip with pride. This morning we played a team from Las Vegas, and we came out hard from the moment the puck dropped. We played a pretty good game overall and were able to defeat them 4-2 in the end. It was exciting for me because I was able to score my first goal in Quebec. During that shift, I read the play in the defensive zone, intercepted the pass and drove to the net. I was able to get a quick backhander off, which found its way to the back of the net.
We got off the ice quickly because we had another game in the afternoon against the Carolina Hurricanes. After the game Tyler Reddy with the Avalanche sat us down in the locker room and introduced our team to former Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix. Pierre told our team that he was very proud to see us representing the Avalanche logo here in Quebec and to enjoy our time and experience.
I really have loved to be a part of this entire experience, and I know I am a really lucky kid. I also feel accomplished and proud to wear this jersey. My team is my family, and we have worn the Avalanche logo with pride throughout our time in Quebec.Thursday, Feb. 19#33 – Kayden Hargraves
This entire trip has been really cool. One thing I noticed about the tournament that I thought was interesting was that there are some former NHL players that are now coaching in this tournament.
All of the teams in the tournament are really, really good. I have noticed that the style of play is definitely more of a team game rather than just a few good players on each team. Also, I have noticed that all the teams move the puck very well and communicate on the ice. It is super cool that all of these people come to watch this tournament and is something we do not get to see playing in the United States.
My billet family is so nice, and I have been getting along with all of their kids so well. I have learned that the people living in Quebec really take pride in their city and their hockey. We were able to go watch the Quebec Remparts play the other night at the Pepsi Colisee with our team, parents and billet families. This is the team that Patrick Roy coached before becoming the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. I really enjoyed learning that because Patrick is my favorite player and the reason I wear #33. I really liked how Roy played with confidence in the net, and I try to model my game after him. I appreciate the opportunity Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and the rest of the Avalanche organization have given me and my team. #66 – Trace Norwell
Yesterday was my 13th birthday. It was exciting to celebrate it away from home, but I also really missed my family at the same time. My teammates sang to me at the restaurant that we were at, which was really nice of them.
This whole trip for me has been so unique. The hockey tournament has opened my eyes to other teams and other countries, and the style and brand of hockey they play. Our opponents are bigger, faster and stronger than the teams we play back in the United States. I have noticed that the referees also let a lot more things go than back home. We have learned and grown as a team on this trip.
Going into the elimination game, we were very serious and knew what we needed to do on the ice, and the role that we all played on the team. We ended up losing a tough game, and all of us were disappointed and sad that we lost. We wish we would have been able to bring a championship home but played hard in our Avalanche jerseys.
It is amazing what the Avalanche have done for our team. I have enjoyed all of the team activities a lot, but the dog sledding was my favorite. I have also really enjoyed the bus rides because we have been able to bond as a team. I look at the guys on my team as brothers and have had a fun time getting to hang out with them this entire tournament.
Wednesday, Feb. 18
#21 – Luke Radney
Going into our first tournament game I did not know what to expect. When we showed up and saw thousands of people in the big arena I was pretty surprised. I had never played in front of that big of a crowd before. The arena was large to begin with, but when we saw all of the people in the seats before our game I instantly became excited for this opportunity.
I wasn’t nervous about the game, but it seemed like our entire team just came out flat. The Rimouski Oceanic team came out and played hard from the start, and even though we had a good third period it was too much for our team to dig out of the hole we put ourselves in.
I have noticed that all of the teams in the tournament are really good. They move the puck well and are very fast and strong on their sticks. It is a great experience for our team to play against this level of competition.
I have really been enjoying my time with my billet family. They have introduced new foods to me, and I think the best thing I have had is the poutine. We have played pond hockey as well, and I also really enjoyed the sledding hill. I am very thankful to the Colorado Avalanche for this opportunity to represent their professional team!#8 – Winter Wallace
My time in Quebec City has been amazing so far. It has been a great experience for all of this to happen to our hockey team. Not many people get this opportunity, to play against teams from across the world and to stay with families that speak a different language than we do.
It has been very great to wear the Avalanche logo, and we are one of the only teams in the world to have this unique opportunity, so we are very thankful for that.The teams we have been playing have been very good, and it has been fun to see and meet kids from other countries through this tournament.
We went dog sledding on Tuesday, which was a once in a lifetime thing. Not many people get to go dog sledding in their life, so I was excited for this team activity. We pulled up to an area that looked like we were in the middle of nowhere. As we got off the bus, we were taken to the place where all of the dogs stayed. There were over 100 dogs!
We learned how each dogsled operates, and how each dog has their own role and how they must operate as a team. The dogs in the back were the more powerful dogs, the dogs in the middle were good followers and the dogs in the front were the smart leader dogs. We learned that this related to our hockey team, and that we needed to be like the dogs and work and play as a team, each with our own role.
I have also really enjoyed trading pins with the other teams throughout the tournament. It is really cool to get pins from other countries, especially the big ones. This is a trip of a lifetime, and I have been trying to enjoy it and take in every second!
Monday, Feb. 16#28 – Braedan Ng
This trip has been more than I ever thought it would be. From getting our new gear to traveling with all of my friends, this trip has been special. The city of Quebec is really beautiful and driving through the town is amazing to see.
We played an exhibition game against Nathan MacKinnon's old team, the Halifax Moosheads, which was really cool since Nate skated with us before we left for this tournament. We were able to defeat them, and I had two goals in the win. My teammates gave me nice passes, and I was just in the right place at the right time.
On our day off, we played pond hockey and had dinner with our billet families. I really like my billet family and am having fun playing and getting to know the little girls I am staying with. We played pond hockey at the girls' school, where they have a really nice outdoor rink. My billet father, Sebastian, is really good at hockey so it was fun to play with him! I have been really surprised on how many outdoor hockey rinks there are in Quebec and wish there were that many in Denver so we could play every day.
In general, I think that the hockey is faster in Canada. I am really looking forward to playing in our first tournament game at the Colisee.
Friday, Feb. 13
#24 – Peter Trainor
Today we had an exhibition game against the Hershey Bears team that plays in the division above us. It was a really tough game because they are probably the best team we have ever played against. They are a AA Elite team with a really good offense and fast players who are really good at passing. I think we played really well even though we lost.
It was fun for me because the team gave me the Hard Hat Award for being the hardest working player on the team today. It really means a lot because the team picked me, and coach Neil said it was the best game he has ever seen me play. I have gotten the Hard Hat once before, but it means a lot to get it when we are representing the Avalanche.
I liked playing a team as good as Hershey because we learned that we need to be more aggressive on the ice in this tournament. The coaches are really helping us learn what we are doing well, and what we need to do better as a team.
The trip has been incredible so far, and I can’t wait to play pond hockey, play in our first real tournament game and to go dog sledding later this week. I am also looking forward to spending time with my billet family and getting to know them.
#9 – Ocean Wallace
It was so fun to go tubing today with everyone as a big group. I have never done this so I wanted to keep going even though it was really cold! I think I went like 25 or 30 times down the hill. We had to take little breaks to go inside to warm up, but we wanted to keep going so we always went back outside. We were trying to see who could go the furthest so we were recording who had the longest run on the tube. It was me, Luke, Blake and my brother Winter.
I also liked doing this because we bonded together and had fun as a team. Doing things like this helps us play better hockey together when we go out on the ice. I can’t believe we get to do all these great things, and that we get to do stuff that a lot of us have never done before.
Tomorrow we get to go play pond hockey with our billet family, so I think that will be another awesome time. So far my favorite part of the trip to Quebec has either been the horse ride last night or tubing tonight. Thank you to the Avalanche for bringing us to Quebec.
Thursday, Feb. 12
#36 – Roman Perincheril
As the bus entered the city of Quebec my first thoughts were how nice the city looked. It was a rustic Italian looking city and the hotel looked like a castle! It reminded me of the movies where the celebrities would stay. Since it was a long day of traveling we went to bed right when we got into our rooms. In the morning we woke up and had breakfast as a team in the hotel. We got on the bus to go to the Pepsi Colisee to check in for the tournament, and it was at that point that I realized how awesome this tournament was.
I was surprised to see how many teams were in the tournament, and how far teams had traveled to come to this tournament. I think it was a wake-up call to our team that we needed to step up our game this week since there were going to be so many other great teams.
After we registered, we went to the mall where we would be playing our first game. I was really surprised to see the roller coasters around the rink and was a little distracted by everything that was going on when we were playing. We lost our first exhibition game, but it was good for us to get our legs back after a long day of travel. Later that night we went to the Sugar Shack where we met our billet families for the first time. My family is really nice, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week. Thank you to the Colorado Avalanche organization for giving me this opportunity.
#76 – Parker Trevino
When I heard we were going to the Sugar Shack I thought that I would be seeing a lot of trees with maple syrup catchers coming out of them. They had horse sleighs there and all of our team got in the wagon and went on a ride. It was really fun because it was just the players on the ride, and we got to bond as a group. I noticed that the garages were different in Quebec then back in Colorado and learned that it was because it was easier for them due to all of the snow they get.
I was a little nervous to meet my family at first. I was able to talk to them on the phone before the trip so I was finally excited to meet them. After everyone was done with introductions, we sat down with our families and our billet families to have dinner. The food was delicious, and I was able to try some new foods for the first time. We sang and danced after dinner, which was cool because we were able to be with our new friends for the first time. We left the Sugar Shack and each of my teammates left to stay with their billet families for the first night. When we got home, we exchanged a few gifts before bed. They got us these really awesome sweatshirts with the Avalanche and Bison logos on them.
This is the most fun trip I have ever taken. Not only do we get to play hockey, but we get to experience new things. It will be something I will remember for the rest of my life, and this trip has even broken me out of my shell a little.
Wednesday, Feb. 11
#92 – Kai Shen
We started this journey as the Boulder Bison Pee-Wee AA Team with our sights set on a few team goals for this season. One of those goals was to win the Quebec Qualifier at Pepsi Center. Each game that we played at the beginning of the season was a stepping stone to reach that end goal.
When I came to the Pepsi Center to play in the Quebec Qualifier I thought it was really cool to be playing in the same arena and skating on the same ice as the professionals. The ice was really smooth to skate on and you could hear the echo of the arena every time that you touched the ice.
Going into the championship game, we wanted to do what our coaches continued to preach and that was to play our brand of hockey. Our brand is trying to be the hardest working team in hockey and always being there for our teammates. We were able to beat a tough Northern Colorado team 2-0 and were officially crowned the Jr. Avalanche team for the season. We were very excited and thankful for this unique opportunity.
#4 – Henry Hedlund
I am so happy to be part of the Jr. Avalanche team for this season, especially knowing that me and my teammates would be traveling to Quebec City to play in the Quebec International Tournament.
I was so shocked when I walked into the locker room at Pepsi Center for what I thought was just going to be a normal practice. The locker room was set up with all of our new Avalanche gear, and I felt really lucky to be in that position. The Avalanche logo was on the carpet in the middle of the locker room, and we were told that it was the same carpet that the team had in their locker room when they won the 2001 Stanley Cup. The most exciting part was to see our last names on the Avalanche jerseys.
Before we put on our jerseys, we learned about the Avalanche history and what the team’s expectations were for us. Our entire team felt very honored to wear the “A” logo on our chest and from then on we agreed to represent the entire organization in the most professional way. We took pride in this responsibility and were very thankful for this opportunity.
We took the ice and began skating on the same ice as the pros. Our coach blew the whistle, and we were surprised again when Nathan MacKinnon, Maxime Talbot, and Reto Berra came out from the tunnel to skate with us. I had a huge smile when MacKinnon skated out! It was cool to think that the pros were in our shoes once, and how we could maybe get there one day if we continued to work. The players helped us on our game and were really nice and fun to be around.
A few days later we were set to begin this journey and our entire team met at the airport in the morning. We flew with Air Canada, and we all really enjoyed the TVs in all of the seats with the free movies. I think I would always like to fly Air Canada now. I had never been to Canada so I was looking forward to this once in a lifetime opportunity with the Colorado Avalanche.