BEIJING - Ni Hao from Beijing!
We just finished up our third ice session of the week. I had a great time playing with the kids. It's tough to communicate with them sometimes, but it's all smiles all around. P.J. Stock has been running us through some power skating in the mornings and then the pucks come out later on, and that's when the kids have the real fun of the day.
I'm finally adjusted to the jet lag after a bumpy start to the trip. I got off the plane and met the crew at the rink a few hours later. It was good to see some familiar faces in China, especially Blidher [Anton Blidh] and my good buddy from school, Eddie Ellis. We were roommates for three out of four years and played four years of hockey together. It took quite a bit of convincing to get him to ask his boss for some time off after taking quite a few vacation days in the preceding weeks. All in all, I'm really glad that he was able to come. It's good to be back on the ice with him. It seems like he's enjoying coaching the kids.
Video: Stock mic'd up during first day of Bruins Global trip
This is my second time in China. The first being 10 years ago when I was going into ninth grade. It was a school trip, and we went to a few different cities, including Beijing. Coincidentally, we actually had dinner with Mr. Zhou on my first night here at the same Peking Duck place I went to during my first time in Beijing. At the dinner this year, I don't know which was scarier, the duck feet or the sea cucumber, but I enjoyed all of the food outside of that. The duck skin and sugar tasted like maple syrup. I sat next to Mr. Zhou, and he is a very gracious host.
On the second day, after the skates finished up, we headed on out to the Silk Market. We stopped for a quick pizza lunch and then hit the stalls. I wanted some shoes and sunglasses. I wasn't expecting so many stores in such a small area. People are very aggressive and try different ways to get you into their store. Once they see you're interested, they shut the curtain and block the doorway, and you negotiate until you come to a deal. It was definitely nice leaving with some goods, but it was also quite an experience.
Afterwards, we had a scrimmage with Mr. Zhou and his buddies. Eddie and I grew up only knowing English and some Spanish, and we don't know any Mandarin. When you get on the ice, you realize the body language, jokes and pranks you play with your teammates are universal. You don't have a look into their personal lives, but when you see them play a sport we've all played our whole lives we're able to connect in a way as if we've known each other for some time. We shared a lot of laughs, and you realize how hockey culture is universal and how similar we all are. It's cool how a shared experience can bring us together.
The trip has been great so far, and I'm looking forward to a fun few days ahead, especially a Kung Fu class we have comming up with the crew.