April 21st & 22nd

Unfortunately, the last two days have been mostly uneventful. We practiced both days waiting to find out who we are playing tomorrow in the semi-final. We found out tonight that it will be a rematch with Finland. They had a convincing win against Sweden 5-1. It will be a hard game as Finland played us to a very tight 2-0 game earlier in the tournament. We have to find a way to beat Noora Raty early in the game. She was sensational against us last game.

Yesterday, we reviewed our specialty teams systems in practice and our attack options off the rush. We finished practice with a little shootout competition and my roommate Natalie Spooner was the winner scoring three goals against our goalies. She is tremendous in breakaways situations and has really good hands. After practice, Kim, Charlie and I were not very inspired by the dinner choices so we decided to make a return to our favorite Italian restaurant in Winterhur called Santa Lucia. We were not disappointed in our decision and shared gnocchis and pizza for dinner. The staff has been incredibly nice to us and has even been coming to our game. The restaurant’s chef Dino seems to be looking for a French Canadian wife and even gave us a detailed daily schedule of how our days would look like if we married him. What he seems to forget is that, we do not follow plans, we make our own! Better chance with women from another country maybe!

Today was the first time we bused to Zurich to the Hallenstadion rink where we will be playing our next two games. The rink is big and has a capacity of up to 13,000. The Hallenstadion hosted the Ice Hockey World Championships  in 1998, and is the home stadium of the Swiss ice hockey team ZSC Lions. It was good to skate there before we play our game against Finland tomorrow. The focus of today’s practice was on transition and attacks. We did some 2on1s and 3vs2s. I enjoy that type of practice a lot!

After practice, we returned to the hotel and Charlie, Kim, Pou, Tessa, Szaby, Irwin, Mikk, Sarah, Johnny and I decided that it was the perfect conditions for a tanning session in the sun. We spent about 2 hours outside listening to music, skyping with family and relaxing. It felt wonderful to reenergize this way. After a while, I woke up to realize that I was the only one left outside laying on the grass, but thankfully I had not turn into a lobster yet. Just as I was going to pack up my items, Tessa and Marie-Philip came back out to visit. I found it suspicious at first but I am usually the trusting type with friends. I should have known better with these two. Soon enough Marie-Philip threw a water balloon at me, but the funny part is that my soft abdominal section absorbed it and it did not break! So I went after her to return the favor with the same balloon and was quite successful! I must admit I was lucky this time.

After our pork dinner, which seems to be a very popular choice in this country (we have had it in any kind of possible way you can present it), we had a team meeting. Ryan separated us in teams of 4 and we were given 4 balloons, newspapers worth of about 3 Saturday editions, and tape. We had to build a structure high enough so a thick binder weighed about 4 pounds would slide through on the vertical side and hold on top for a few seconds without the structure collapsing. I was on a team with Cherie Piper, Tara Watchorn and Bobbi Jo Slusar. We decided to use the newspaper to build 4 tubes that we would use as pylons to hold our structure. We then relayed them on top using more newspapers crossing one another and using a flat newspaper base at the bottom. We used the balloons to strengthen our mid structure taping two on each side of our pylons. We were finally able to adjust it so it would be strong enough to hold our binder.

It was a simple exercise but one that can teach you about team work and the process needed to achieve your goal. What was truly amazing is that there were so many ways of building a structure that would work. We were able to witness everyone’s creativity. We realized that there is not only one way to get to our final objective. Sometimes, we have to regroup and start all over again; sometimes we have a solid base but only need a little retouch to strengthen it. We realized that it does not need to be pretty to work. We had to focus and bring creative ideas, we had to listen and make a plan. We had to trust in someone’s plan and learn to complement it. In the end, we realize that although we are all different, we can all contribute differently to our team’s success!

Leaving you with the quote of the day from Ryan: ‘’ No one plays to lose, but not everyone plays hard enough to win!’’

Time to sleep here! Big game tomorrow!