Day 3 on the Road Tour involved three cities; Ely, Virgina and Hibbing. First stop was Ely where we stayed the previous night. My day started with some early morning fishing with John Scott. As it turns out we're not the greatest fisherman. We were on Lake Shagawa for two hours without a bite. Still a very enjoyable experience seeing the beautiful Minnesota scenery and riding in the boat. After our radio interview and autograph signing we departed for Virginia, the land if the Fins. Antti felt right at home and made many friends. He made a special presentation and gave away a signed jersey and stick to a very lucky Laaksonen fan. Meanwhile, John and I tested out some Finish food and it wasn’t too shabby. Hibbing was our last autograph signing and had the best hot dogs yet. Although our events are quite similar, it’s always an enjoyable experience seeing all the happy faces, not to mention Nordy who never ceases to have us laughing. He’s hilarious to watch and has us rolling on the floor from time to time. Now the day is done and were heading to Duluth were will enjoy another fantastic dinner and spend the night.
6/22 4:59 p.m.
Day 2 on the Road Tour started in Roseau as we proudly named them the capital of the State of Hockey. It was enjoyable to meet and interact with all the Wild fans. After signing some autographs we enjoyed a few hotdogs and attempted to climb the National Guard rock which turned out to be a complete failure. We boarded the bus and headed to International Falls, enjoying some card games along the way.
We were greeted with lots of Wild fans in International Falls although it was pouring rain out. We truly appreciated the dedication and support the people showed us. After signing some autographs and eating a few more delicious hotdogs, John Scott and I decided to race through the obstacle course setup by the National Guard. Probably not the best idea considering it was pouring rain earlier and the course was dreadfully wet. Although I got off to a good start, I struggled with the high wall at the end that John practically could step over. Ashamed of my defeat and now dripping wet, I reconsidered my idea to attempt the obstacle course. We boarded the bus for a change of clothes and headed to Ely.
Dinner in Ely at Burntside Lodge was outstanding. I had no troubles eating an entire steak dinner and got to try a honey all the way from Tasmania for an appetizer. With full stomachs we headed to Grand Ely Lodge for a good night’s sleep.
As an NHL rookie, I'm still experiencing a lot of firsts - first game, first shift first goal. Yesterday was my first day of the Road Tour, and it was a long and tedious day.
The day started at 5:00 in the morning at my hometown Kelowna Airport in British Columbia, where I would catch a connecting flight to Seattle.
After spending a two hour layover in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, I departed for Minneapolis, where I met up with John Scott and Antti Laaksonen, my two group members for the Road Tour.
After enjoying a sub, a piece of pizza, Chinese food (traveling makes me hungry) and spending over five hours waiting for my flight to Hibbing, we were finally ready to depart.
After landing in Hibbing, we experienced some plane troubles and waited three hours for the mechanic to fix our plane. Fortunately, I have the movie The Hangover on my ipod so I was well entertained, and wasn't forced to do crossword puzzles with John Scott.
When our plane was fixed we flew from Hibbing to Their River where we met our other members on the road tour. We boarded a very ostentatious limo bus with pizza and cold drinks waiting for us and started the hour and a half drive to Roseau. Finally, 21 hours of traveling later, I had finally reached our first location on the Road Tour.
I'm looking forward to the next three days and seeing all this great state has to offer!