Thursday brought the Jr. Avalanche Pee-Wee team its first full day of activities in Quebec City. The team started out with a high intensity one-hour practice at a local rink just 20 minutes outside of downtown. Before heading to the rink, the players got to eat their first home-cooked meals with their new billet families.
"It was good to finally get out there with the team. We were pretty fast going up and down the ice and Coach Kibby had us working on the little things," goaltender Derek Wood said. "Getting pucks behind the net, getting them deep and tape to tape passes."
After a team lunch and quick stop at a nearby hockey pro-shop, the Jr. Avs headed to Old Quebec and took a stroll down Rue (street) Saint Louis to check out Carnaval de Québec, one of the world's largest winter festivals, held every February since 1955.
"The winter carnival was really cool. There was a bunch of ice castles and snow sculptures. My favorite one was the one of the marlin fish," Derek mentioned. "We also got to roast marshmallows in the middle of one of the ice castles and that was a lot of fun."
At the end of each day, billet families and the team meet at the Videotron Center, the main hub of the tournament. It is where the infamous pin trading tradition takes place that gives the players the opportunity to interact and socialize with players from different parts of the world.
"The trip has been great so far. Everyone here seems accepting and nice, it's fun," said Derek. "I can tell the hockey is really fast. It's cool how one sport can bring everyone together from all over and we get to meet new people and stuff."
The Jr. Avalanche will play its first game on Friday vs. the Amiens Gothiques, a team from France competing in the same division. It will be the first test of the level of play the Jr. Avs will see for the duration of their trip.
The Jr. Avs want to say Happy Valentine's Day to all of their families and supporters back home in Colorado!