The Colorado Avalanche Pee Wee hockey team competed at the 2008 Quebec Pee Wee Hockey Tournament from Feb. 14-24. Throughout the duration of the tournament, members of the team checked in with ColoradoAvalanche.com to share their thoughts on the experience.
Photos from practice with Jose Theodore and Tyler Arnason
February 24, 2008 – Dominic Turgeon and Matt DonnellyDominic Turgeon
This tournament has gone by so fast but I have another year of eligibility next year and I want to come back so badly. If I were to have the opportunity to come back next year I really wouldn’t want to change much about the trip from this year. My billet family was great and everything we did was so much fun. I wish we could have gone a little further in the tournament, but that is the only thing that I wish were different.
My billet family was all I could have asked for; the family owns one of the busiest Tim Horton’s franchises here in Quebec. One day the dad took my teammate, Matt Donnelly, and I to the shop to do a little work. We got to make donuts, coffee and work the drive-thru window for a couple hours. It was actually really fun and I enjoyed doing that a lot. The dad of our family was supposed to be working more during the week, but he wanted to be with us and ensure that we were able to do everything we wanted. One thing that I didn’t expect was that the family let us decide on our own bedtime, but they made sure that we knew we were the ones responsible for being well rested for our game the next day. Usually we got to bed pretty early. I miss them already and hope that I can make it back here to stay with them again next season.
I think this tournament has been a great experience for our team. I think we will be a better team going back to Colorado just in time to compete for the State Championship. Playing all the great teams up here made me and my teammates realize that we need to be better in a few areas, like puck possession. Too many times we give up the puck easily in our own zone, but through this tournament I think we were able to get better at that.
One of the best experiences for me throughout this whole trip is having my dad, Pierre Turgeon, here coaching me. At times it can be tough only because I get so frustrated with my own play, but it helps me because he has taught me so much about the game. As a kid he didn’t even have the opportunity to play in this tournament because another team from his town was always the team to represent the area. That makes being able to share this experience with him extra special. Matt Donnelly
It means a lot to represent the Avalanche in this tournament because not every player gets to come here. Teams that we normally play back home or have played in other tournaments don’t even have the chance to experience this tournament. There are so many things that I will remember from this trip, but my best memories will be playing at the Colisee and developing a great relationship with my billet family.
Our billet family was so nice and accommodating. We played non-stop knee hockey and got into some outside games, while they also took us shopping at the mall. On our last night here my teammate Dominic Turgeon and I stayed with my teammate Scott Eansor and his billet family. It was really fun to stay with another family on the last night because we were able to see how another family lives here. They have a 2-year-old named Liam and he loved having us around. We played some great games of knee hockey and then got into a competitive bubble hockey tournament. The funny thing was that the mom, Vickie, beat all of us. We went to dinner with our entire team and all the billet families, which was fun but also really sad. Liam started crying when we were getting on the bus because he didn’t want us to leave. That was so sad but it just shows how special this trip is to everyone.
I think our team could have done a bit better by focusing on games more. I think we need to be prepared when the puck drops and not in the third period when we are already down. That has been the most important thing that we need to change because as we have seen throughout this trip, we can be a great team if we play a full game like we did against Connecticut, New Jersey and England.
Since I am eligible, it would mean a lot to me to be back here next season. It’s not just about the hockey but also staying with other families, learning the culture and gaining experience from playing against teams from other countries. I think we are getting out for a final skate outdoors by the hotel with our entire team, which will be so much fun. There are so many outdoor rinks here. By our billet family’s house the city even made a baseball field into an ice rink for the winter. I wish we had a lot more of those back in Colorado.
It was a great opportunity for me to play on the Avalanche Pee Wee team and I am looking forward to trying to do it again next season.February 23, 2008 – Mason Boh and Ben EignerMason Boh
The experience of being here, sponsored by the Avs at the best tournament in the world, is hard to describe. I will take so many memories away from this tournament and trip but I think the best thing about this entire trip is the hockey experience and the memories that I will have from it.
I feel like I have developed as a player over the last 10 days here just because we not only play a game every day, but we play great teams every day. I have realized that there are a lot of different styles out there and I think that I can recognize a lot more now than I could before. I have had to adjust but so has the rest of my team and every team in the tournament. We played our last game on Saturday against Austria and lost 3-2. It was a tough loss because we didn’t really play all that well in the first period and found ourselves down 3-0. We were able to pick up our game a bit and cut the lead down, but just couldn’t catch all the way back up. I think that it is a very special opportunity to play teams from other countries because many of us won’t have the opportunity to play against another country in a tournament like this ever again.
This experience has been extra special for me because I have been able to share the whole thing with my dad, the head coach. It has been great to have him on the bench every game because he helps me recognize things I need to change a bit, which makes me become a much better player. I know that my dad and I have built memories through this tournament that we will never forget, especially since it has been so much fun.
I think the thing that I really enjoy here is that everyone and everything is related to hockey. We have been able to play every day in the tournament but everything is related to hockey. The sport is just a part of almost everyone’s life here in some way. I have enjoyed this trip so much and it has been great sharing my love of hockey with my team, billet family and all the people here.Ben Eigner
The best feeling I had throughout this trip was stepping out onto the ice at the Colisee in front of a lot more people than we ever play in front of back home. After our game against Austria, we went to watch a couple games at the Colisee. My billet dad coaches one of the teams, and there were at least 12,000 people watching Pee Wee hockey. There were so many people that the upper level of the Colisee was even full. I could not believe that so many people were there to watch Pee Wee hockey. I cannot imagine how full the arena will be for the final games on Sunday. The best thing about the crowd at the Colisee is that they just want to see a great hockey game, so they cheer for both teams when a good play happens; the crowd roars quite a bit.
We played a few games at the mall throughout this trip, which was really interesting because it was a little distracting at times with screaming kids on the roller coaster flying over my head while trying to make a pass. It was really fun to play at the mall though because there were a lot of people there, just like the Colisee. So many people there would stop and watch our games, so were playing in front of at least a few hundred people each day.
My billet family here has been so nice and I am so thankful to them for taking such great care of Mason and I. Eric, my billet dad, is a coach for one of the teams in the AA bracket, so we are able to really get into some hockey discussions about power-play strategies. The language barrier is a little tough at times but we always figure out what the other is saying. The best times with them is playing NHL 2008; I was only able to beat him once and the other times he has beaten me by a few goals. Plus his wife, Karina, makes the best fruit crepes. She made so many this morning that I just kept eating and eating until I couldn’t eat any more. I think I am going to miss those a bit when I go back home.
I’ve had such a great time on this trip and learned so much about the French language, the history of Quebec and how to become a better hockey player. This opportunity has been so unique and everything has been so great that I will remember this trip forever.February 22, 2008 – Carson Pavek and Greg HundleyCarson Pavek
This trip and tournament have been so much fun. I am a little disappointed that we lost and didn’t play more games at the Colisee but we are still getting in some great exhibition games. Today I was in net against Germany. We lost 2-1 and I thought I could have played a bit better not letting in one of the goals, but it was still a special opportunity. Our team would never have the chance to play a team from Germany in any other tournament. Coach said that we were slacking a bit in today’s game and I believe him, we have played quite a few games over the last week so it is tough to play a great game each day. If we want to win the state championship when we go home though that is exactly what we have to do, so this is great practice for us.
My billet family is amazing; they have a couple kids around my age and a son, Marc Anton, who is a goalie playing in the C bracket of this tournament. They are still in the tournament and we watched his game yesterday morning before our game. He played really well and I think they have a chance to win their bracket. I like that the kids are around my age because they help me trade pins at the Colisee; they are so good at it. The mom, Chantal, is so nice and I really appreciate the fact that she gets us whatever we need before our games, and is so supportive to come watch us all the time.
We went to the ice hotel as well, which is really amazing. The entire place was completely built out of snow and ice, something I didn’t expect because I didn’t think that something that big could be so sturdy; I really wanted to stay there for a night. Each room there was a little bit different with different sculptures on the walls. They also had a chapel and a dance club where we got to drink apple juice in shot glasses made out of ice. They were playing some great techno music there, so my teammates and I were having a great time dancing around.
Normally the tournaments we go to we are just representing Littleton, so it is much more special to be here representing the State of Colorado and the Avalanche. We got so much stuff with our names and numbers on it that it makes me feel like a real Avalanche player. I feel like I am living what I always watch on TV. This is a great tournament and I am going to enjoy these last couple of days here.Greg Hundley
I thought we were going to do a bit better than we have here. Although we really haven’t done badly, I didn’t expect there to be such great teams here. The toughest game that I have been in net for was probably against the New Jersey Devils that we played the other day. They were just so fast and were such a well-rounded team. They were better than the team we lost to in our tournament game too, which shows that we should still be in it, but we are still learning a lot and having a great time. Our team is just lucky to be here but we earned it and I am proud to be a part of it.
I really like my billet family too. I don’t think there are any of my teammates that don’t like their families, because we spend a lot of time with them and everyone is always excited to leave with their families at the end of the day. My family is just so polite and I try to return the favor. They are actually great friends of mine now. They are all so easy to talk to, and I think we will continue to be friends even after I leave here on Monday. Each night we usually get a little knee hockey or Guitar Hero in. They have taught me a thing or two on Guitar Hero; they are just so good at it. Otherwise, we usually get to bed at a decent time. It is so nice not staying in a hotel for such a long period of time and it feels like it is my normal home now.
Today we also visited a museum at the Plains of Abraham. There was a video show that was actually good. It taught us about the history of Quebec and how the Canada became what it is today. It seems like everyone was fighting the British. I had no idea about the history of this city, so this was good to see, plus I think it will help me when I go back to school next week.
The best part about this trip is representing the Avalanche. There are actually a lot of people that like us here because the Avalanche used to be the Quebec Nordiques. Even though the team moved to Colorado, a lot of people still support them here. I thought that was really interesting. I just want to thank the Avs for giving my team and myself this opportunity. This has definitely built lifetime memories, but also without playing here I don’t think we would be as good a team going into the state tournament when we get home.February 21, 2008 - Tyler Seltenreich
This trip is such a rare opportunity and I am having so much fun. The best thing about this tournament is playing other teams from other countries or teams that are extremely good because it makes my team so much better. Yesterday we played the New Jersey Devils, which was a big challenge for us because they are a AAA team that plays in the upper division. At first we played very well and our power play was working great. I scored a goal with a great pass from my teammate Dominic Turgeon that put us up 1-0. Then throughout the game we took too many penalties, which made us play a lot of time on the penalty kill. Even through all of that, we were able to keep up with them and finished the game tied 2-2. It was a great accomplishment for us to tie a AAA team from New Jersey. We are learning so much on the ice and I can tell that our team is getting much better at skating, passing the puck and playing as a team.
My teammates and I spend quite a bit of our time at the Colisee trading pins. Pin trading is huge here because there are so many great pins to trade from so many teams. Most of the pins are very big and rare and there are even adults that sit and trade pins all day; they have so many from previous tournaments. I think the best thing about pin trading is that all the teams here have amazing pins that people trade for and hold onto for lifetime memories.
My billet family is really nice and does whatever it takes for us to be happy. We are their responsibility while we are here and they make sure we have everything we could possibly need. Their kids are so much fun and their family is so supportive. They come to so many of our games and I can tell they really enjoy watching us play. One day we went snowmobiling with our billet family and it was amazing because they took my mom and dad with us. We took the snowmobiles out to their lake house because that is the only way to get there because all the roads are buried in snow. We started jumping off of the back balcony into the snow bank; I think it was probably about 15 feet deep.
This has been such a special trip for me because I get to play hockey every day and represent the Avalanche. I am a first year Pee Wee, so I will be eligible to come back to this tournament next season. I want to come back to this tournament next year to win a few more tournament games, play in front of larger crowds and trade more pins. February 20, 2008 - Cooper Glass and Clint LarsonCooper Glass
Today we were able to play and beat England 3-1. I thought that we rebounded from our tournament loss yesterday by playing well today. Our team really skated hard, moved the puck and capitalized on our opportunities with the power play. For the most part, England plays the same type of game we do even though they are from another country. There were a couple of things as defensemen we had to watch out for that we don’t normally see. It was special to me to play a team from another country, especially when we are used to only playing teams from Colorado. This is the only time that we have an opportunity to play teams from so many countries and I doubt that we will have the chance to play England again.
My billet family is great; we play a lot of ping-pong and video games. One night my family made fondue, which I have never had before. They brought out some raw meat and set it on the table, I thought it was a little strange but was willing to try it so I put some on my plate. As they were laughing, they told me that you cook it on the table first. It was so good and I ate plenty of it.
I think my favorite thing so far is playing hockey and getting out of school. I get to play hockey everyday, hang out with my teammates and have tons of great activities planned for us. I think the best one so far was sliding, but we are going to go to the ice hotel, which I really want to see. Even though I am not in school I am still getting my homework done that my teachers sent with me.
I think this tournament helps our team become better by playing each day against great competition. It is important for us to get a little better, since we have the state tournament when we get home, so we are trying to build momentum here by playing well. We really want to go home to accomplish one of our pre-season goals of winning a state championship. There is no question that this has been the best tournament we have ever been to, which will help us become a much better team. Clint Larson
The best thing about this trip is doing what I love to do all the time - play hockey. I also like staying with my billet family because it is interesting to see what their lifestyle is like. Their chores are a lot different than mine back home; instead of cleaning up after the dog they have to shovel all the snow off of the back steps. I thought I had seen a lot of snow back home, but here it is ten or fifteen feet high and is pretty amazing because they are so used to it. My billet family is so good and I really enjoy them. We spend a lot of time playing ping-pong. When I first started playing I would lose to them all the time, but now I am a lot better and hardly ever lose. The other great thing about my billet family is that the father, Francois, is much better at the guitar than I am. He has been playing since he was my age and he is teaching me quite a bit, which is really fun.
It’s really exciting to be here representing the Avalanche because it is an opportunity that only our team has earned. Not many players have the opportunity to even play in this tournament, and no one that I know of has gotten everything the Avalanche has given to us. I feel very special. This trip actually makes me feel like I am a part of the Avalanche organization and I dream of wearing an Avalanche sweater in the NHL someday. Tomorrow we are going to play the New Jersey Devils, which will be fun because I like playing other NHL teams here. New Jersey is a pretty good AAA team, but I think that we can play well against them.
I am looking forward to so much still: Getting to the huge hockey store that they have here and playing some more games, but mostly getting to hang out with my billet family a lot more over the next few days.February 19, 2008 – Nick Miller and Connor Wigton
This is a great trip; I think the best part about this whole thing is staying with my billet family. They have three kids and we are so spoiled by them since they take so much time to make sure we get everything we need. Basically everything revolves around hockey, whether it is mini hockey or video games, something I don’t mind. They took us tubing, which is really popular here and that was really fun, but the best tubing place was where our team went yesterday. There isn’t anything like this in Colorado; it is basically an entire ski resort dedicated to tubing and rafting. There are so many hills and rides to go down, but the best one was Everest. It is a huge ice chute that you fly down and is definitely the steepest and fastest ride at the park. My teammates and I were so into it we all went a few times.
Coming up in the next couple of days we are going to play some really good teams in exhibition play. Tomorrow we play England and we also play Austria on Saturday. This is such a challenge for us because they are some of the best teams in the world and the best from their country. Playing two European teams is something that we would never have been able to do in Colorado, so I feel lucky to be here. I expect these European teams to be more finesse teams and be more skilled than anything. It will be a good challenge for me as a defenseman to play against them.
For me this is the best experience possible as a Pee Wee. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am glad our team captured and didn’t let slip by. I am really looking forward to watching some of the other teams in the tournament play, as the best Pee Wee players in the world are here. I especially want to watch team Russia, since they have been beating everyone pretty easily and I think I could learn a lot from them.
Today was a bit tough because we lost a game, 2-1, vs. Nike Bauer Swarm, which put us out of tournament play. I thought we had just an okay game today as far as our play went, but we needed to work a little harder with more determination to have beaten Nike Bauer. Nike Bauer scored first and we were playing from behind again, something we always do, when we tied the game up 1-1 on a five-on-three advantage. Then, during the second period, one of our players was called for freezing the puck in the crease, which gave Nike Bauer a penalty shot and they scored to take a 2-1 lead. We could have beaten them, but we didn’t capitalize on any of our opportunities to score. Even though we are out of tournament play, we still have a lot of exhibition games coming up and it will help us become a better team by playing all this great competition.
I feel great about being here no matter what because it makes me feel very important to be able to wear an Avalanche sweater and represent Colorado. There are so many representatives here from other NHL teams and other countries as well.
My billet family is very nice. They made us fondue the other night, something I have never tried, and I loved it. Everything they do for us is good though. We have gone to our billet brother Jacob’s hockey practice a couple times. Their squirt team is pretty good, but it is interesting going out to skate with them since they actually look up to us as role models. Everything we do they try to copy, and it is nice to help them in their practices since they are trying to get good enough to play in this tournament in a couple years.
In the last five days we have here, I am just looking forward to spending some more time with my billet family, learning more French, and getting into some more hockey.February 18, 2008 – Scott Eansor and Brendan Smith
I have never been to a tournament this big before, especially one with so many great teams. Every team here has earned their place and deserves to be here, much like we did in winning the Colorado Avalanche Quebec Qualifier in November. I think the competition at this tournament really gives us great experience on the ice, which also makes us step up our game and play that much better.
My billet family is all I could have asked for, even if I was a little nervous before I met them. They have a two-year-old son, Liam; he has a great slap shot already. Since he isn’t very tall his shot just travels about a foot off of the ground and is tough to stop. We spend quite a bit of time playing mini hockey in the basement with him and his father. When we aren’t playing mini hockey in the basement we are probably out at the outdoor rink next door to our billet family’s house. I love being able to just walk outside and jump on the ice to play a pick-up game. If I had that back home, I am sure I would be out there every night or at least skate every day.
Today we were able to visit the Quebec Remparts’ facility and dressing room. Their facilities are really nice, just like a professional club. One thing that I learned about their dressing room is that they have a rule that you cannot walk on the logo in the middle of the floor. If a player walks on it, they have to pay a fine set by the team. None of our team knew that and I thought that was really interesting, especially since it would be hard not to walk on it as it takes up quite a bit of the floor.
I think one of my favorite parts of this tournament is meeting other players from around the world and trading pins with them. There are so many people trading pins around here and so many people asking us to give them one of ours. There are even tables upstairs with guys that just trade pins with players all day. All around though, this is a great experience. I am just so glad to be here.Brendan Smith
This trip has been so amazing and is going by so fast; every day we have so much going on that the days fly by. It really means a lot to me to be here as an Avalanche Pee Wee player, because not only are the best teams from around the world here at this tournament, but the ability to represent Colorado and the Avalanche is special. It is something I am sure I will not forget.
Today we played the Hershey Bears; while we had played this team about a month ago in the SilverSticks tournament, they had added a few players since then and were a lot better. We went down 3-0 pretty quickly in the first period and were just not really ready to play. After about the first five minutes of the game we played a lot tighter on defense and didn’t give up any more goals the rest of the game. Unfortunately we weren’t able to score any either so the game ended with us losing 3-0. I think this was a great test for us though, because we have a tournament game tomorrow. Playing a tough opponent made us play our best, so I think we will be ready to play the Nike Bauer Swarm tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. I really want to stay in the tournament and play again at the Colisee, so I will definitely put as much effort in as I can.
I really am enjoying this trip and my billet family is great. They speak English extremely well and it is actually really nice to get out of the hotel room and into a house with a real bed and home cooked meals, like the great spaghetti they made for us yesterday. I went with my family to the Winter Carnival, something no one will ever find in Colorado. There were so many ice and snow sculptures, sledding hills and a lot of other activities; but my favorite thing to see was the castle built entirely out of ice! There were a ton of lights behind it that would just light up the whole thing and make it glow in the dark. Overall this trip is great and hopefully we can get a win tomorrow so we can continue our success here.
February 17, 2008 - Corey Taylor and Taylor McClure
After spending quite a bit of time with their billet families over the weekend, defensemen Corey Taylor and Taylor McClure speak about being in Quebec and their team’s progress at the tournament:Corey Taylor, Assistant Captain
This trip has been so good for us so far; we are playing really well up here in this tournament against some great competition. Our passing and breakouts are improving, which is what we really need to do well here since there isn’t any checking allowed. That is the hardest thing to get used to, especially as a defenseman, but we have adjusted well.
We have done so many fun things already and have more stuff going on all week. We went to a go-kart track yesterday, which was really fun because they were the fastest karts I have ever driven. We even had to wear suits and helmets, so it made us all look and feel like real racers. I am really looking forward to the tubing hill we are going to, or as my billet family calls it, snow sliding. I have heard great things about it and there is just so much snow here so it can’t be bad.
Tonight we had a game against the Beauport Falcons, a local team here in Quebec that isn’t in the tournament. It was just a friendly game, more like a scrimmage because we didn’t even have referees. It was really good to be able to get on the ice with a local team at a local rink because they were really excited to play us and we were able to work on things that we really needed to, like positioning and passing. Tomorrow we are playing the Hershey Bears again; we played them in the SilverSticks tournament we were in about a month ago. They beat us 6-4 even though we were winning late in the game. However, this is a different game up here without checking, so I am looking forward to getting back at them tomorrow.Taylor McClure
This experience has definitely been interesting and something I am enjoying a lot. The game play up here is quite a bit different with some rule differences, but it is great and we are playing well. I think we are improving our game a bit, but we can still be better in a lot of areas. We will be playing every day for the next week, so that should help, and we will be a much better team when we leave.
A great part about this whole thing is my billet family; they are so nice and teach us quite a bit. My teammate, Corey Taylor, and I were playing with their dog the other night and were trying to tell it to sit but it didn’t understand what we were saying until we learned to say the commands in French. That was really funny.
I just had my 13th birthday up here, which was actually really fun. I think I was sung to four times throughout the day by my team, billet family, and the entire tournament cafeteria. We were at the Patro, the tournament cafeteria, and all the sudden the staff there started singing. Before I knew it the whole place was singing Happy Birthday to me, even the other teams that were there eating at the same time.
I am just so happy to be here and it means so much to me to represent the Avalanche. They are so popular not only at home in Colorado but also up here. I think it is because the Avalanche used to be the Quebec Nordiques, so a lot of fans still like the team here and are rooting for us. I can’t wait to get back on the ice tomorrow, but I really want Tuesday to come so we can get on the ice again at the Colisee.
February 16, 2008 - Brendon "Hootie" Carlstrom
After the Avalanche Pee Wee team won its first tournament game on Saturday morning, Brendon Carlstrom, also known as “Hootie”, speaks about his experiences.
Today we were able to pull out a 2-1 victory in our first tournament game vs. the Connecticut Wolves. They were a very good team and were up 1-0 on us in the third period, but I wasn’t nervous because we always continue to fight no matter what we are facing. We played well on defense and didn’t make too many mistakes; finally we were able to get a couple goals. It felt great to win our first tournament game and now we will be able to play another game at the Colisee on Tuesday morning vs. the Nike Bauer Swarm. They played right after us and beat Belarus, a country in Eastern Europe. I think they are a good team but believe we can beat them.
This trip has been so much fun so far. I get to play hockey and be with my teammates every day, plus it really helps liking my billet family so much. Their sons, Francis and Gabriel, are around our age so we get into some pretty tough knee hockey games. Actually we accidentally broke a candleholder in their living room from a shot going out of control. I felt bad about it but they said that those things happen, especially with four boys playing knee hockey in the living room. I think tomorrow morning they are going to take us out on snowmobiles so that should be really fun, especially because my Mom and Dad are going to come with us. It means a lot to me to have my parents here with me, even though they aren’t staying the whole time, because this is such a special privilege to represent the Avalanche in this tournament. There just aren’t a lot of hockey players my age that get to experience a tournament like this while representing their favorite NHL team.
I am pretty amazed by the level of hockey in this tournament and am really happy to be here with my team. Last season I played Squirt A, and from playing at that level to playing here in this tournament is unbelievable. I am the smallest player on my team but there isn’t any checking in this tournament, so that helps me out a lot. There are definitely a lot of smaller skilled players here.
I am just so amazed by this entire experience!
February 15, 2008 – Vance Siebert
Following the team's first exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Assistant Captain/Captain Vance Siebert talks about being an Avalanche Pee Wee at the Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament:
Today we played our first game, an exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes at the rink inside the mall. After a rough start in the first two periods and being down 4-2, we were able to pull off a 6-4 victory. It seems that we always start slowly and then play much better later in the game; luckily for us today we were successful in getting a win. It felt great for me not only to win our first game up here but also because I scored the first goal for our team. I haven’t scored for a while and it was a great way to get my team going. Tomorrow we will face a tough challenge, as we play the first game in our tournament bracket against the Connecticut Wolves. I am so excited to get on the ice again, especially at the Colisee. We went there today to check-in and it was amazing to see so many people watching a Pee Wee game. I am so excited and nervous because I have never played in front of so many people in such a big game.
Tonight I am meeting my billet family for the first time. We have sent emails back and forth but I know that they do not speak much English so I will have to try to remember as much French as possible. I don’t know a lot but have a feeling that I will be learning a lot over the next few days. I have seen so many people playing hockey outdoors and I am really looking forward to being able to do that with either my billet family or my team.
The trip so far is great. My great grandparents, grandparents, mom, dad, and sister are all here in Quebec City with me. I think it is so special for them to be here so I can enjoy this experience with them, especially since no one in my family has been to Quebec before. I think they like seeing me skate with my name on the back of an Avalanche sweater and I certainly enjoy wearing it; I just hope that I will have one just like it in the future!
February 14, 2008 – Ben LambertAs the Avalanche Pee Wee team arrives in Quebec City for the 49th Annual Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament, #33 Ben Lambert speaks about his pre-tournament experiences and expectations:
After two planes and a long bus ride, we are finally in Quebec City and it couldn’t have come any sooner. Since winning the Quebec Qualifier in November my family, friends, teachers and teammates have all talked about this so much. I have so many expectations and so much excitement built up that it just continues to grow. I really don’t know what to expect with this tournament, but this week has already begun with things that I couldn’t have imagined. It started off on Tuesday when we skated during the first intermission at the Avalanche game. A lot of my friends and family were there and it was unbelievable to skate in front of them on Pepsi Center ice in an Avalanche sweater with my team. Then on Wednesday, the night before we left, Jose Theodore and Tyler Arnason skated with us at our practice; they were so helpful giving us some instruction, as well as advice about playing in a tournament like this and representing the Avalanche as best as possible. I really just want to get on the ice for our first game in this tournament, which comes tomorrow morning against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Quebec City Mall.
It personally means a lot to me to represent the Avalanche and I think it means a lot to our team and organization because it is such a special opportunity. It felt like there were a lot of younger kids in our organization that were looking up to us and watching us on the ice because we are the Avalanche Pee Wee team and will be competing against the best Pee Wee teams in the world.
The thing that I am looking forward to the most over the next ten days is playing the best teams from around the world. I especially look forward to playing teams from other countries because that is an opportunity we don’t have at home. I am also very interested to meet my billet family and learn more about the language and Quebec history. After all, I have to report back to my Geography and French teachers!