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Day 3 - Into the Wilderness

by Michelle Winter / New York Islanders
Today the Junior Islanders, their parents and their billet families all played in what has quickly become an annual event - their own little, mini Winter Classic.


The children and their families packed up and headed off to a rink in the mountains, practically in the middle of nowhere. It was a beautiful setting with sun glimmering off snow all around the area and a clear, blue sky overhead.

The Junior Islanders pose with their coaches at the outdoor rink in the mountains of Quebec.
To make it to the ice surface, players had to skate from the locker rooms - very similar to the movie Mystery, Alaska starring Russell Crowe. Once they hit the ice, the game was nice and laid back and lots of fun for all the kids and their families.

Rocco DiCostanzo couldn't believe he could skate all the way from the locker room to the ice. With he face stretched into a giant smile, he said, "It's so crazy!"

Everyone was on the ice for about 90 minutes in -5 degree weather - before the wind chill - but no one could tell from watching the fun-filled skate. Participants and even spectators didn't seem to mind the weather with such a gorgeous scene playing out in front of them.

Sunday night, the billet families hosted the players' families for a traditional French-Canadian dinner at their homes. Some served Caribou and others served a traditional fondue. Some players have new-found favorite dishes and others are at least trying something new.

It's back to business on Monday. The Junior Isles hit the ice for practice at 10 a.m. before their second exhibition game of the trip plays out at the Galerie de la Capitale. They face off with Detroit Victory Honda in the early afternoon. This will be another especially scenic game for the players and spectator as the rink is located inside a shopping mall.

The team will celebrate Valentine's Day on Tuesday with their next Tournament game. The puck drops at 3:30 pm at the Colisee Pepsi.

Salut until tomorrow!
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