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Postcards From Quebec - Feb. 10

The boys got some time in with the dogs

by Nicole Kramer /

The Jr. Avalanche practiced early this morning after a late loss last night.

With the next few days free of games, Coach Klee took advantage of an opportunity to hit the ice. Traveling to a local town outside of Quebec City for practice, the boys skated for an hour and a half before Klee added an extra incentive to the routine end-of-practice shootout competition; the winner would receive a Matt Duchene autographed hockey puck.

The shootout lasted a few rounds before Evan Criswell came out on top with the final goal. According to forward Boston Crone, "the shootout was fun and made the boys work more for it since the prize was a signed Matt Duchene puck".

The afternoon brought the first Quebec cultural activity: dog sledding!

The Jr. Avalanche headed out to the wide-open plains of the Quebec City suburbs to hit the trails in traditional dog sleds.

"It was a cold and bumpy ride, but it was so fun! The dogs were funny, too," Crone said. "On the last stretch of our run, one of the dogs just kept putting his face in the snow. He wasn't really doing anything."

In addition to riding the dog sleds, the pee wees visited with newborn Siberian Husky puppies.

After dog sledding, all the Jr. Avs spent the evening with their billet families.

"I played pond hockey with my billet brother," Crone said. "It is a pretty decent size rink right in the backyard! Then we went to see my billet dad play in his hockey game. It was a lot of fun, and he was pretty good. Their team won 10-6."

In a familiar situation for all of the Jr. Avalanche players, Crone is learning how to communicate with his billet family members, all of whom speak limited English.

"They do not speak much English," said Crone. "When they try to speak to me, I'm trying to guess what they are saying. There is a lot of pointing, but I'm trying to learn."

Crone and each of his teammates have found a way to break through this barrier, connecting with their billet families using the universal language of hockey.

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