When I left for Afghanistan a few days ago, I knew I was in for an eye opener. I was deeply honoured to join Team Canada on a mission to visit our troops and show our thanks. Beyond that, we wanted to bring them a piece of Canada and lend them an ear for their stories.
Team Canada is composed of former NHLers like Lanny McDonald, Tiger Williams and Mark Napier just to name a few. They have been challenging the troops here to ball hockey games at Kandahar Air Field. Ball hockey is the hottest sport on the base and although the idea originated from the Canadians (obviously), all of the countries here have joined the craze. Way to lead the way, Canada!
I have been hosting the games all week long with Sportsnet's Daren Millard and the biggest one is yet to come between Team Canada and the Ball Hockey All-Stars. Can you tell they take their ball hockey here very seriously?
The rest of Team Canada is a vibrant mix of MMA fighters, athletes, cheerleaders and media. I'm excited to be sharing this experience with Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of MLSE Tom Anselmi, a five year veteran of the Team Canada trip.
Today was the most adventurous day of my life. I flew over the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan under the safe protection and skill of the Canadian Forces. We skimmed just 25 feet over the Afghan villages and thousands of feet near the mountains in a Chinook helicopter. Breath taking.
After spending the last few days with the men and women of the Canadian Forces, I am inspired, humbled and in awe of their spirit. I can't wait to come home and share the incredible videos, photos and stories I have captured here. It's amazing to travel this far and still get my hockey fix as I chat with Leaf fans about our favourite team.
From Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan - GO LEAFS GO!
Monika checks in from the ball hockey arena
LeafSpace Monika checks in with Tom Anselmi