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Nigel Kirwan Diary: 2nd Installment

by Nigel Kirwan / Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Video Coach Nigel Kirwan will be sending diaries from the 2009 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland for fans on  There will be a new diary each day during the tournament which begins on Friday.


Nothing terribly exciting happened on Wednesday. The Swiss Army came to pick up all the equipment and transport it to Berne for us. Because the trucks were military vehicles the trainers had to drive to Berne in a separate van. The plan was for them to go to Berne, set up the locker room and drive back because there were no hotel rooms available for them to spend the night.

I met up with the trainers for dinner at an Italian place when they got back. The menu was all in German so it was a little difficult figuring out what to order, although half of the dishes were recognizable. I was a little surprised that the parmesan dish was neither veal nor chicken, but actually horse! I couldn’t pull the trigger on that one so I settled for the veal gorgonzola instead.

After dinner we checked out the Swiss nightlife at a club called Vibes. The security pat down to get into the club was a little uncomfortable to say the least. Let’s just say they were more thorough than the TSA agents at the airport. Once we got in it became immediately clear that the Swiss love their cigarettes, not even bothering to put them out while on the dance floor.

Once we got settled, somehow word slowly spread that Team USA was in the club (probably because of the team jacket warn by the massage therapist). Stares and whispers in a foreign language made things slightly uncomfortable. At one point the DJ made some kind of announcement over the sound system that we couldn’t understand. The only thing I could make out was “NHL”. That was followed by more stares. Eventually some Swiss pro players and their friends came over to talk to us. They were very pleasant and bought us a round of shots. By the way, I hate Sambuca!

On Thursday we had an 11 a.m. bus to Berne. The Swiss countryside is exactly how you would imagine, a lot of rolling hills and meadows with mountains in the distance. Think “Sound of Music.” It made the hour and a half ride go by a little faster. We arrived at the hotel around 12:30 p.m. It is a very nice hotel….and has a casino. We had a 2:15 p.m. bus to the rink for a 3:30 p.m. practice. Berne looks great so far but I haven’t explored it yet. We play our first game on Saturday against the Latvians. Keep in mind we are six hours ahead of Eastern Time in the U.S.

Previous Diaries from Nigel in Switzerland:
1st Installment

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