Youth Olympic Games Blog Post: Day One

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.

Here is an overview of day one:

Feb. 10, 2016

As I write this blog, it is 10:30 p.m. in Lillehammer and we are pretty tired.  Most of the players and staff got up fairly early yesterday to catch a 6:55 p.m. flight out of Newark.  Since then, we've had a flight to Oslo, a bus ride to Lillehammer, one practice, several meetings, several meals and not a lot of sleep. The idea was to try and get some rest on the flight over but from the looks of it, not many of us got it. Since we arrived, we've tried to keep everyone awake to get them on the local time.

Our players and staff, with the exception of a player and coach who had already arrived in Europe, met at the Newark Airport and conducted a team building exercise during our first meeting. During the exercise, each player introduced a different player to everyone else.

After a several hour plane ride, we arrived early in Oslo and got on the bus to Lillehammer at 9:30 in the morning for the two hour ride to the Olympic Village. The bus had internet, which didn't help people get much rest. Got to stay connected.

When we arrived in Lillehammer, the temperature was 36 degrees, but didn't feel very cold as we checked in at the Olympic Village. Our rooms are very small, with spotty internet and no TV. Thankfully, no one had any luggage issues and everyone has all of their belongings.

After everyone was settled into their rooms, we had a quick overview meeting and then headed to lunch at the huge cafeteria that has been set up in the largest of the three ice rinks in the Village.

This arena is a big hub of activity. It is set up for a Learn and Share experience for all of the participants.

At 3:45 p.m., we held practice. The locker room and the practice rink are in two separate buildings, so we had to walk outside. It was a good, spirited practice, but the guys were noticeably beat towards the end of the hour-long allotment.

After that, we headed to a USOC meeting that went over security, social media and schedules. Once we had dinner at 7:30, it was right back to the dorms for an early night.

One item that has been both a blessing and a bit of a slow up has been the security.  There is one entry and exit to the village we stay in and just to get to meals and the rink, we have to leave the village.  That means we have to go through security to get back in and that happens a lot.  Security is very similar to our airports.  It is slowing things down a bit but the security is top notch and has really made everyone feel a lot more comfortable.

Everyone is tired today but there is also a great sense of excitement within the team.  We can't wait to get things going tomorrow. We're sleeping in until 8:45 a.m. and then there's a busy day full of meals, a meeting and a practice. We shall see what tomorrow evening brings as we have a few ideas percolating right now.

Hope this gives you a better sense of what the team is going through on their first day here in Lillehammer.

Another blog post will be up tomorrow.  And don't forget: I will tweet occasionally so follow us @hockeytc.  For more, follow Team USA on Twitter and watch the nightly highlight show on NBCSN starting on Friday night.


-- TC Lewis

Team Leader


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