For the next two weeks, Team USA's ice hockey team will be in Lillehammer, Norway, playing at the Youth Olympic Games. Every day, team leader TC Lewis will be blogging about the team's experiences as they gear up to try and bring home the gold. This is an insider's view that readers won't be able to find anywhere else. For more information on the Youth Olympic Games, click here.
It's just after midnight as I type this, so everyone is asleep. What a nice way to start the tournament. The boys were really feeling good tonight. Our first shift of the game was a strong one and it probably settled the team down and from there it was a nice 4-1 win.
To give you an idea of our day, we generally like to sleep in and get some solid rest if we can, particularly on game days. We had our typical breakfast followed by a chalk talk session and then a 45 minute practice. After that, it was back to the cafeteria for lunch. We gave the boys about 2 hours to do what they wanted after they ate.
There are all sorts of activities that are all inside the building next to the rink. Along with games like foosball and air hockey, there are activities that teach about drug awareness, sustainability, good eating habits and so forth. If the athletes participate in these events they can win prizes like hats and scarfs. They seem to be a hit with the team.
After free time it was back for a bigger meal at 3:00 p.m., followed by mandatory down time from 3:45 to 5:45 in the dorms. When we met after that to head to the rink, you couldn’t tell they were headed to quite possibly the biggest game in their young career. They were loose and having fun. We got to the rink, watched a bit of Russia versus Canada and then got on with our pre-game routine.
Our lockerroom prior to the game was great. Mark Pane, our equipment manager, always does a great job with everything, particularly presentation. As one of the boys said today, “Look like a champion, feel like a champion, play like a champion.” Mark is a big part of that.
If you are looking for stats and articles on the event, there are a few good places at USA Hockey and IIHF.
Norway is up tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. local time…wish us luck.
Go Team USA