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Bear Essentials On the Road: Stowe & Waterbury, VT

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
The Bear Essentials On The Road: Stowe & Waterbury, Vermont

A Vermont scene. (Photo:
Where are we?

A resort in Stowe, Vermont.

Like its neighbor New Hampshire, Vermont is a green paradise -- the truest reflection of New England's ancient landscape.

An amazing place to visit and live, Vermont can also boast several terrific hockey programs. In particular, the University of Vermont plays in one of the most famous rinks in all of college hockey -- the Gut -- or Gutterson Field House, and counts John LeClair, Eric Perrin, Martin St. Louis and the Bruins own Tim Thomas as alumni.

Meanwhile, nearby Middlebury and Norwich both continue to ice superior squads every season and surely the youth hockey programs in the state will grow as rinks are built.


"To see Stowe and the surrounding countryside at its most spectacular, visit Stowe in autumn. Frosty mornings give way to cool, crisp days--perfect for enjoying the outdoors. The colorful hillsides--ablaze with red, orange, and gold--are truly breathtaking. It's a treat for the senses and the soul!

But please don't ask us to tell you exactly when the leaves will be at their peak. The timing depends on temperature, sunlight, and rainfall amounts. This makes the timing of the peak a little different from year to year and impossible to predict exactly, although it's the subject of endless speculation in these parts. As a general rule, you can be assured of viewing brilliant colors from the last week of September through the first two weeks of October (with some isolated color both before and after). Make your reservations early! People flock to our beautiful village from all over the world to see nature's most impressive show!"

"The Native American inhabitants of the area now known as Vermont were the Abenaki, a tribe of the Algonquin nation. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of Abenaki villages along the shores of Lake Champlain near the mouth of the Winooski River. "Winooski" is an Abenaki term for "wild onion." Abenaki villages were also located along the Connecticut River.

Samuel de Champlain, an early French explorer of North America, was the first European to discover the Green Mountains. In the summer of 1609, Champlain left his encampment on the St. Lawrence in Quebec and joined the Algonquians in an expedition against their enemies, the Iroquois. The journey up the river brought Champlain onto the lake that now carries his name on July 4, 1609.

The name "Vermont" is itself derived from the French, les monts verts, "the green mountains."

The first permanent English settlement was established along the Connecticut River in 1724 at Fort Dummer, near what is now Brattleboro. The fort was maintained by the colonial governments of Massachusetts and New Hampshire as a defensive outpost throughout the French and Indian Wars.

When peace was made with the French in 1760, the Green Mountains were quickly opened to settlement, and to considerable squabbling between the colonies of New Hampshire and New York as to which had the proper claim to the territory, then called the New Hampshire Grants. Most of the new settlers were from Connecticut or Massachusetts and persistently resisted the claims of authority by New York. Resistance to the "Yorkers" brought the organization of the Green Mountain Boys under the leadership of Col. Ethan Allen in 1775; this small but experienced army came to play a significant role during the American Revolution at the battles of Hubbardton and Bennington in 1777.

On January 17, 1777, Vermont was declared an independent republic in a meeting held at Westminster. This independent course, with the little republic minting its own coin and providing postal service, was followed until 1791 when Vermont was admitted to the union, the first state to join the original thirteen. The first governor was Thomas Chittenden."

Good Morning Bruins Fans!

8:03 a.m. My alarm went off recently and I hit the ol' snooze. After a hot shower and some Internet cleanup, the PR squad and me are heading to the main lodge at our -- call it a resort in Stowe -- and are going to eat a nice breakkie.

9:16 a.m. Off to eat…more in a bit.

10:02 a.m. We are hitting the bus for Waterbury.

The Ice Center of Washington West (photo:

10:48 a.m.
Our Boys have just arrived to a huge crowd of fans at The Ice Center of Washington West (photo above). Wendall Kirk, the arena's manager, said that people had been starting to line up at 8:45 a.m.

What a reception!

There was clapping and just some really happy people milling about the front of the building.

Michael Thompson, the hockey association treasurer, said that today's event is huge for Harwood Youth Hockey as a way to introduce children (from Waturbury, Waitsfield, Warren, Moretown and Duxbury) to the sport.

The rink here was the recipient of a grant from the NHLPA -- believed to be the largest grant ever to a U.S. program -- in order to build the boards. Learn more about ice hockey in the area by going to

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is shown with his teammates during a session of their hockey training camp at the Waterbury Ice Center in Waterbury, Vt., Friday, Sept. 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
10:55 a.m.
The boys hit the ice, Bobby Allen and Andrew Ference were first on. The whole club was dressed thusly:

White: Nokelainen, Kobasew, Bergeron, Shaefer, Krejci, Kessel, Axelsson, Bochenski
Gold: Savard. Lucic, Reich, Thompson, Metropolit, Sturm, Hoggan, Thornton, Murray
Black: Stuart, Alberts, Ward, Allen, Ference, Wideman, Hunwick, Chara
Goal: Fernandez, Thomas

"Bruins flu" is the way the locals are describing the number of children in the stands and not at school.

It reminds me of "The Garden Flu" -- an affliction often caught by those players who had to face the Big Bad Bruins at the Old Garden.

11:12 a.m. I have found internet access on top of a grill, next to a cleared corn field. I have to say that this is the most beautiful and peaceful spot in which I have written about hockey. There are mountains to the right and the left, and the clouds are rolling through a nearby valley. Gorgeous.

Around noon...Timmy is the proud recipient of a jug of Vermont Maple Syrup. In fact, the rink gave all of the B's a gift bag full of Vermont goodies -- including syrup and cheese. Very, very nice of the guys at the arena.

2:57 p.m. Just got back to internet access after wading through a lot of fans to get to the team's bus and then we had a light lunch in anticipation of a big meal tonight. Let me gather my thoughts and I will have more of a report really soon.

3:31 p.m. Okay, I am showered up and have enough juice in my brain for a quick update. The guys are out doing an orienteering session, which I will talk about a little later. Basically, orienteering is a race with a map and a compass. Our Boys were paired up and sent on their way -- each pair also belong to a team.

This whole exercise has nothing to do with anything except team building.

Other members of the staff and entourage are golfing right now, as well -- taking advantage of the relatively mild temperature and the fact that the rain has held off.

While I am at it, here is the first BruinsCast of the season. It features Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque:

 BruinsCast: Legends in Black & Gold

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas smiles as he talks with coach Bob Essensa, left, during a session of their hockey training camp at the Waterbury Ice Center in Waterbury, Vt., Friday, Sept. 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
5:20 p.m.
The sun is finally out!

Hopefully the guys out in the woods this afternoon were able to enjoy it! I am sure the guys on the golf course certainly did.

I was just sitting here thinking about how excited the players seemed performing in front of the people in Waterbury -- it was just a blast to see the smiling players enjoying the smiles on the people from the town.

To boot, the B's seemed to practice just a bit longer and harder -- and added a modified shootout at the end of the session, much to the delight of the crowd -- especially the kids.

On top of that, I am doubtful that any child within 10 miles is without a Bruins autograph.

5:47 p.m. As I look at the photo of the rink, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Bindy Martin and her amazingly friendly Jake, the rink dog. Jake kept me company as I searched for a wireless signal behind the rink.

6:49 p.m. Off to dinner with the team...

8:56 p.m. Just got back to the room and I am settling in for a decidedly quiet night. The boys just got some news -- no practice tomorrow (Saturday) and a well-deserved day off...

9:09 p.m. A nice note just showed up in the Bear Essentials' mail box:

I just wanted to tell you how perfect today was for me and my two young Bruins fans. Although my boys do not play hockey, they are die hard Bruins fans, coincidentally born to and raised by a die hard Habs fan.

Nevertheless, Logan & Shane will forever have this day etched in their memory. ALL of the Bruins players (and staff members) were so cordial to us and very accommodating of my requests for photos with the kids before boarding the bus. I was so very impressed with how sweet all of the players were to my sons.

Thank you, Bruins, for making a positive impact on two very impressionable fans. Nowhere in the world would my boys have ever gotten such a rare opportunity to met a team of especially kind sports heroes.

Please pass along our most sincere thanks, as well as our best wishes to ALL of the Bruins on a very successful & healthy season.

Lastly, many thanks for hosting this special training camp session in our fine state. We look forward to welcoming you back again anytime -- maybe in "Catamount" territory!

Your very respectfully,

Thanks to all of the 400-plus fans who made today so nice for the team. JB
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