St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo is representing his country at the World Cup of Hockey, which is being held Sept. 17 through Oct. 1 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It's an exciting time for the 26-year-old - not just because he's playing for Team Canada, but because he gets to do so in front of his family and friends since the tournament is being hosted less than an hour from his hometown. Throughout the World Cup of Hockey, Pietrangelo will be keeping a blog exclusively for stlouisblues.com to share his experience of playing for Team Canada.
On Sunday, the day before Labor Day, I was boarding a plane bound for Toronto as we get ready to open training camp for the World Cup. Knowing that hockey is finally here, the travel day is exciting, but I'm also nervous - it's been several months since any of us have played competitively and I know the World Cup is going to be intense from the start. I'm excited to get going.
As last week progressed, we had three days of hard practices to get up to speed before Friday's first preliminary game, which is against the United States (Friday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU). I'm looking forward to that and I know it will be a tough test - especially against David Backes, who never made things easy on the opposition during his time as my teammate.
When you prepare for international competition with some of the best players your country has to offer, it's important to have plenty of time to get to know each other. We hit the golf course course on Tuesday and had a good dinner together, too.
Playing in tournaments like these will never get old - it always amazes me to get out on the ice with these players, and it's impressive to see how much talent everyone has! And as an added bonus, it's great to have Bo around - it's been fun catching up before we hit the ice for training camp in St. Louis.
Looking forward to dropping the puck on Friday. Stay tuned for more updates.