When I got the phone call inviting me to represent my country at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, two thoughts immediately came to mind: A – Heck yes, sign me up and B – This will be a great opportunity to blog for the first time.
Okay, okay. That second part is a lie, but the only way to get Canucks writer Derek Jory to stop texting me was to just say yes.
And here we are.
Hi, I’m Jason Garrison, I play defence for the Vancouver Canucks and I’m headed to Belarus as part of Team Canada to compete for a gold medal at the World Championships.
Am I excited? Very. Am I nervous? Very. But not as nervous as I was driving around in Santorelli's Fiat for the first time.
When the season ended, I took about a week off and then got back on the ice, so I feel not bad. It takes a solid chunk of ice to get the rhythm back again because you’re kind of depressed when the season ends that early; then when you try to get back into it, it takes a little bit more than what you think.
It’s odd preparing to play hockey this time of year for a team other than the Canucks. First and foremost is the Canucks and when that doesn’t work out, it’s weird. But that doesn’t mean this won’t be an incredible experience.
Playing for Team Canada, in a word: Awesome. This is my first time, it’s going to be a lot of fun, I’m looking forward to it, yet I try not to think about it too much and psych myself out or whatever. I just want to go there and obviously it’ll be a new setting and a new environment, but just enjoy the experience.
First things first, some big time travel.
The furthest I’ve ever flown was to Finland for the 2009 NHL Premiere games with Florida. And I can’t even remember what it was like. I think we chartered a plane so we had good seats, there was a lot of room and space in the back for guys to sleep, but this was one of my first years, so I don’t think I even got up to go to the bathroom.
I’ll definitely pee this trip if I have to.
I’m traveling with Kevin Bieksa and Burr, Alexandre, and we are flying business class. Our first flight is 10 hours, we go to Frankfurt, Germany, and then we have a little bit of layover, then we have an hour flight to Zurich. I think we have to change planes, so I’ll have to do some serious brushing up on my German, I’ll need some words to get around the airport.
How will I kill time on a 10-hour flight? Good question. Our flight leaves in the early afternoon Saturday, then when we get there it’ll be like 11 a.m. the next day. So I’m going to try to get on the plane and bust out as much sleep as I can right away, otherwise I get there and I’ll be short sleep. So I’ll try to watch a TV show, get settled, and go for it. Maybe I’ll get up really early on Saturday morning and run around a bit and exhaust myself and jump on the plane, fall asleep, wake up and it’s a new day. Who knows.
If I can’t sleep, I’ve got my shows ready to go. I haven’t watched any of the Game of Thrones episodes this season, so I’ll have a handful of those, a handful of the Blacklist, I’m also going to try to get going on True Detective, and then Juice has a couple shows as well and that should be good for the flights.
People have asked me a lot about what I’m looking forward to most when we get to Belarus and to be honest, I don’t know anything about it. I feel like I just want to go there and welcome everything with open arms.
Any suggestions on what to see or do in Belarus? I’m open to anything and will actually read the comments as long as there are no Game of Thrones spoilers!
Have a great weekend.