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Quebec: Poutine and Shootouts

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 12

Yesterday the team had their first glimpse of Le Colisee.  We arrived in the morning for registration in weather that was mild compared to what we usually experience during our time in Quebec City. Le Colisee didn’t disappoint, even the “Premier match” between two CC level Quebec teams had 500 fans cheering the teams on. Vive le Pee Wee du Carnival.

Paul Strand
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After registration, the team headed back to the hotel and took a little walk through the St. Jean gate, to the Hotel Frontenac and the a short sightseeing tour of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The immense St. Lawrence told the tale of the mild winter Quebec city was experiencing, as the flowing water could be seen where normally the ice was 24 inches thick at this time of year.

After an hour walk around the old city, the coaching staff took the kids to experience their first rite of passage of the Quebec Pee Wee Tournament - POUTINE! This Canadian delicacy is sure to add the pounds and raise the cholesterol level, but boy is it delicious. First you take some French fries and add cheese curds. Then you splash some hot gravy over top to melt the cheese a bit and voila, as the French say, you have Poutine.

Chez Ashton is a franchise that does this dish well and adds its own personal touch. They have added all sorts of things to the Poutine, including sausage, hot dogs, ground beef and green peas. I like to add white vinegar for a little tangy flavor. Each and every year the Pee Wee team consumes its body weight in Poutine, and last year my 10-year-old son Braden almost ate the city of Quebec out of its supplies, setting a record in Poutine consumed in a 12-day span.

So once we got that out of the way, we headed to the Patrick Poulin arena for our first practice in Quebec. This went off with out a hitch and we were very thankful that all the gear arrived safely and on time. A simple flow practice, some breakouts and power play was the order of the day. However, we also spent some time on the shootout. After losing in a shootout the past few years we figured it was high time we figured out who had the moves and who did not.

There were some beautiful moves from many players. Josh Wilkins has some impressive shots, but the final four came down to Nicholas Skaluba, Mackenzie Lancaster, Ford Hatchett and Linda Esssery. At the start of the second round, Essery flew past me shouting “now the pressure’s on” and promptly put one in off the post. In the end Essery met the pressure head on and won the shootout in fine fashion.

On Day 3 we have games against Long Island and then we meet a strong Slovakia team in a couple of exhibition games.

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