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Quebec: Final Preparations

by Paul Strand / Carolina Hurricanes
For the eighth consecutive year, the Carolina Hurricanes are sending a team to the Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey TournamentThe Pee Wee team is comprised of 18 youth hockey players (ages 11 and 12) from the Carolinas, who will be led and coached by Canes Youth and Amateur coordinator Paul Strand. 

Throughout the tournament, Strand will be blogging to offer insight on the team’s play, countless experiences from the historic city, the tales and triumphs of individual players and more.   Over the eight years of play in the tournament, the Carolina Hurricanes squad has become very competitive and will once again be viewed as a contender.

Thanks for reading and come back often!

February 14

It was a typical weekend of fun here for the team in Quebec. Saturday was the last day of the Carnival and it is also an off day for the team. On Friday night the team gathered at Mount Tourbillion, where all the billet families, players, parents and coaches get together for dinner and an introduction of the team as a whole.

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This has been a special night in the Junior Hurricanes tradition for many seasons now. Every year we have the chalet at the top of a ski resort to ourselves, but this year we shared it with our nemesis, The Hershey Bears. Initially it put a rattle into the night for our host Alain Desfosses, but it settled down quickly and everything went according to plan. Maybe this is the change of events that will push us past Hershey in the final.

Saturday morning most of the kids hit the Carnival on the Plains of Abraham. I caught a glimpse of Matthew Forslund, Mackenzie Lancaster and family heading down the mini ice Luge set up this year. I think Matt took a spill somewhere along the way, but he seemed unfazed.

Around 1 p.m. it was time for the outdoor rink. Each kid spends hours each year up here on the outdoor rink and a couple of years ago we decided to make a bigger event of it on Saturday afternoon. Since it is a day off it is not mandatory, but most of the kids and billets show up. This is usually a great learning experience for the team as they tend to come into the outdoor game very cocky and then the French kids show them that in POND hockey, you have to want to get the puck all the time. There is no sitting back. If you do not go get the puck, then most of the time you do no have the puck. It’s the law of the jungle. There is no system and no coach. It is simply “go get the puck and get the puck to the net”. These games usually end in a lopsided French team victory.

Sunday the kids went to the Hockey Warehouse and then headed off to the mall for three hours of running around prior to our third exhibition game against Charles Bourg, a local Quebec team.

Charles Bourg ended up not showing up but we managed to convince the AA New Jersey Devils team that was playing before us to stick around for another game. The games at the mall are only 45 minutes long so they should not be too tired.

However, our team was certainly feeling the effects of a long two days of pond hockey and running around and it was good to play a very solid New Jersey team. Our legs looked tired and it was quiet on the bench for most of the game.

We managed to stick in pretty close and a few nice opportunities by Winch and Hirschhaut almost got the team on the scoreboard, but the puck was not going in for us today. New Jersey managed a knuckle puck of a shot in the third period to score the only goal of the game as the defense and the goaltending of Cody Murch were solid. However that one goal was enough for New Jersey to take the game with a 1-0 win.

A mandated night off from the outdoor rink, a 9 p.m. curfew and a rest at the hotel this morning with a good breakfast was the agenda for last night and this morning as we head into our first tournament game against Anaheim. We have three games under our belt and some solid play so far hopefully we have all the kinks out and we will have the team revved up and ready to go.

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