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So Far, So Good for Team North America

by Steve Peters / Arizona Coyotes

EDITOR'S NOTE: Longtime Coyotes Video Coach Steve Peters is taking part in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey as Video Coach for Team North America. Peters is chronicling his experience at the world-class tournament with reports here at ArizonaCoyotes.com. Here's his third report:



PITTSBURGH --
It’s Monday and Team North America has a well-deserved day off away from the rink.

It was a very busy week North of the border last week. The team traveled to Quebec City for our first exhibition game against Team Europe. I had a chance to visit with former Coyotes Mikkel Boedker, Thomas Greiss and Dennis Seidenberg, who are all playing for Team Europe. That’s one of the great things about hockey, it’s such a small fraternity.

Warmups for Team North America

Team North America played as advertised in game one – FAST – skating to a 4-0 win vs. Team Europe. Everyone, from players to coaches to staff, was excited to get to the games to see how this team would perform, and it didn't disappoint. If you're a hockey fan and get a chance to tune in on the ESPN networks, watch this team play. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. It’s fast-pace, high-skill hockey - everything you'd expect from North America’s best young stars.

The day after our first exhibition game was ‘Picture Day’ and we got our first look at our black jerseys, which were a big hit. Upon returning to the hotel, I saw a large group of people wearing red T-shirts with French slogans on them blowing on horns and chanting. At first we assumed they were there cheering for Team North America. Unfortunately, no one on our staff spoke French so we couldn’t read the T-shirts. Turns out those people had nothing to do with hockey - they were members of our hotel staff who were on strike! No housekeepers, no desk staff, no kitchen staff, no wait staff. I have traveled for a long time and have to admit that was a first. Luckily, the hotel's management staff jumped into action and the rest of our stay in Quebec went off smoothly.

On Saturday, we were back on a plane headed back to Montreal, our home away from home, where we were set to play Team Europe again on Sunday. Team North America came out flying and jumped to a 5-1 lead after the first period. We won, 7-4, with three different players scoring two goals each: Dylan Larkin (Detroit), Aaron Ekblad (Florida) and Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary). One thing's for certain, this team has offensive ability.

Team North America is now waiting to play our third and final exhibition game on Wednesday vs. Team Czech Republic. It will be fun to play them because Coyotes center Martin Hanzal and Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek are playing for the Czechs.

Once the exhibition games are over it will be time for the World Cup of Hockey to begin. Team North America will play our first game of the tournament on Sunday, Sept. 18 vs. Team Finland at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The game is at 5 p.m. Arizona time and can be seen on ESPN2.

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