Hard to believe the trip is almost over, but we head back home tomorrow after a memorable four days in Sweden.
On Wednesday we hit the ice for the first time and helped to run a youth hockey clinic at Frolundaborg in Gothenburg, assisting the coaches and stuff from both the Rangers and Frolunda give some lessons and play some games with the local kids.
It was nice to help out how we did. It was tough with the language barrier as children that young don't speak English well - if at all - compared to older people. We tried to use hand gestures and were asking the Frolunda coaches how to say 'good job' or 'skate' and 'puck'. I don't remember how to say them now, but that helped out big time.
While helping out wasn't a huge deal to us, it was obvious how big of a deal it was for those kids. It made us feel good that we could help out as best as we could.
|Frawley with her teammate, Lianna, and Frolunda player Kajsa after the exhibition. Photo by Matt Calamia |
After that, we got to meet the Frolunda team we'd be playing against for some floor ball before taking the ice. We talked a bit and that helped to get both sides comfortable with the type of game we'd be playing on the ice in terms of physicality. It helped to really make it a friendly games.
The Under-14 team was really impressive. It seemed like they had been playing together for as long as they've been playing hockey. They didn't panic with the puck and always knew where someone would be, which drove me crazy.
They had one girl on their team, Kajsa, and me and my teammate Lianna spoke to her before and after. As girls playing predominantly with boys, there's a connection whenever we face other girls. In a way, you're on her team at the same time you're on your own team.
After the game the two teams came together and ate dinner at Frolundaborg. I didn't know how it was going to go, whether they'd sit with us or if they'd be able to speak English well enough to carry a conversation, but it was a lot of fun. We got to know the players better and a lot of the parents also got to chat as well, which was cool.
In the end, this was an incredible experience. The game was fun, but years from now we're not going to be thinking about who won or lost because that isn't relevant. It's just awesome that we got to come here and play hockey. We saw so much and got to interact with so many Swedish people, from the players and their parents to the waiters in the restaurants we ate at.
This type of trip is not going to happen again. It was just a couple of days and we enjoyed it while it lasted. When we leave, I'm going to think about how this will never happen again. But we'll carry the memories with us forever.