The final day in Quebec City brought many emotions for the Jr. Avalanche.
Most players and their billet families returned to the Videotron Centre one final time to watch the AA Championship. Two local Quebec teams faced off in the Final, and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar defeated the Drummondville Voltigeurs 5-2. The Videotron Centre was packed with over 8,000 fans in attendance to watch the Championship games throughout the day.
Afterward, the Jr. Avs headed to Pacini's in Quebec City with their billet families for a farewell lunch. After living with the locals for the last two weeks, the players had to say goodbye to their French Canadian parents and siblings.
What started as shy handshakes at the Sugar Shack two weeks ago ended in tight-gripped bear hugs with no one wanting to let go. The peewees thanked each billet family by presenting a custom Avalanche nameplate autographed by the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche. Coach Klee and the team's billet captain closed out the afternoon with endearing last thoughts.
After saying au revoir to their hosts, the players loaded onto the team bus one last time to start the long journey back to Colorado. The boys said one final thank you to long-time Jr. Avs bus driver Claude, presenting him with a signed Joe Sakic jersey at the team's final stop.Claude has been the Jr. Avalanche's bus driver in Quebec for over five years.
The team enjoyed the trip of a lifetime, playing hockey against teams from all over the world and experiencing the cultural traditions of Quebec City.
"We had an amazing journey and were so proud to represent the Avalanche in such a prestigious tournament," said coach Ken Klee, summing up the adventure. "The experiences and friends made will impact all of us far beyond the games."