Dear Junior hockey players & parents,
The USA delegation all arrived safely yesterday in Hobart, Tasmania. We are staying at the Old Woolstore hotel. A historic renovated building with charm and character. It's centrally located near the beautiful Hobart harbor and walking distance to shops, the waterfront and the Aquatic center.
Three teams: the Under 19 Men, Under 23 Men and the Under 19 Women. I write about the U19 Men that Tom Brown and I coach, but will share what I can about the women coached by Kendall and Sue Banks, and the U23 men coached by Iain Curtain.
Today, Monday (Australia time) was the first of four practice days before the official opening ceremony. Our practice time slot is late in the day, from 4-6 pm. The three USA teams share the practice time. Short warm up sets and puck drills to adjust to the fast tile bottom. The U23 and the U19 men use the final 30 minutes of our practice session to scrimmage. Three pro referees offer to officiate our scrimmage and we gladly accept. It's only a scrimmage, but surprisingly, after a hard fought game, our boys win the game 3 - 2 over the U23 men. It's a good omen for our U19M team.
After dinner, we go the St. Michaels performing Arts theater to watch the Colombian underwater hockey delegation perform a modern dance recital. This is a fundraiser to help offset the fact that the travel agent handling their trip to Hobart, ran off with their money. Four teams and staff adds up to a few hundred thousand dollars. It's criminal but the Colombians are here and put on quite a show.
Tomorrow's practice day has us scrimmaging with the Argentinian U19 men in the morning, and the Colombian and Australian men in the late afternoon. Three good games to see how we match up with our competitors before the official games open.
In closing this first letter, I want to acknowledge a few people: Jim Folts, the grandfather of U19 player Ben Leo of Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati. Without Mr. Folts support, Ben would not have made this journey to Worlds. And to Paul and Robyn Outram for their support in helping me recruit Zakk Outram from the Los Angeles club for the USA team.
And to Doc Paul Wittekind, legendary head of the Roger Bacon junior UWH program for his support of Ben Leo on our team. Doc's program has been the role model for me in my effort to bring competitive junior hockey players to the world level. Of the 31 USA athletes here at worlds, 15 have come out of our San Francisco club. Thank you Doc.
A shout out to Gustavo Pesce, one of the original founders of the San Francisco Sea Lions, and to coach Jakub Koulasek, who has meant so much in developing our young players. There are so many more to thank and as we continue our journey through this tournament, I'll try to get them in.
Gotta get some rest and shake off the rest of this jet lag. I'll write about the player's and their backgrounds tomorrow. Good night from Hobart.
Dear Junior hockey players & parents,
It’s almost over… Bittersweet game for the U19 girls today.
The bug has spread. All ten of our boys share two suites and now six of them are sick.
I am not sure I can make it through this report. It is SOOOO stressful. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone - I can do that tomorrow.
First game today was M19 against Colombia - a great game that I will let Holland do the report on.
Our game with Argentina is not until 5:10 pm so we take the boys on an optional cruise around the Bay of Hobart. It's bitter cold and we're the only people on the boat.
This will be a short report. I’m coming down with some sort of bug and I feel completely wiped out.
Our 10:40 am game is with the Brits. They beat New Zealand 5 - 2. I consider this an upset and know that our boys will have their hands full.
It’s a cloudy day in Hobart, but spirits are high. Games are going well, and we are all getting into a good routine for our games.