T.C. Lewis, the team leader for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team, is blogging from Piestany, Slovakia and Breclav, Czech Republic, the site of the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. Check back every day to see how the U.S. players and coaching staff are enjoying their time overseas.
Aug. 10, 2014
Hello from Breclav, Czech Republic. It was a great game last night as players were excited and it made for a nice ride from Piestany to Breclav. The drive took a little less than two hours and got us to the hotel around 11 p.m.
Our hotel has no air conditioning for the most part and it was a bit hot last night, but the players handled it well and it seems most got decent rest last night.
We were up at 9 a.m., had breakfast and headed to the rink for an hour practice starting at 11:15 a.m.
The only issue so far has been the lack of Wi-Fi. The hotel has it but for some reason most can’t connect to it. We are working on that issue but so far it hasn’t been solved. At the rink there are a few we can access but they are password controlled. We're working on that issue as well.
If all goes as planned we will broadcast the game via Ustream (ustream.com and then search for Hlinka 2013). It isn’t the best but it is the best option we have at this point. Last I knew, none of the games in the Czech Republic were being broadcast officially.
Today we have a fair amount of downtime. The players can get a bit antsy but we are getting across to them that they need the rest given the number of games in a short period of time. Everyone is excited for our first tournament game tomorrow against the Czechs. We watched them practice today and the building should have some good energy with the host playing.
That is all for now.
Aug. 9, 2014
It is moving day and so there is lots going on. But let’s start were I left off yesterday.
After our practice yesterday we took the team to a swimming pool that is basically a community pool. Some of the players hung out on the side getting some shade while others worked on their flips and diving. And the third group met some locals and played volleyball in the pool. It was nice to do something a bit different for a change.
We had an early dinner (4:30 p.m.) so we also had a snack at the hotel at 8:30 p.m. Then, as a treat, we took those who wanted to go, to McDonalds. We also set up a movie in a conference room for that that wanted to watch something in English. Not many takers as rest seem to take priority. As has been the norm, our lights out is at 10:30 p.m.
This morning we got to sleep in until 9. Breakfast was the same as the last few days but given the variety, that is a good thing.
We then went to the rink for some off ice work and to pack up our equipment. Right now we are waiting for lunch, which was spaghetti with meat sauce.
We have already packed our bags and will load the bus at 1:30 p.m. We should be in Piestany around 3 p.m. for our 5:30 p.m. exhibition game against Slovakia. As soon as the game is over we will get some pizza and head to our hotel in Breclav.
That is all for now.
Aug. 8, 2014
Good morning again from Trnava, Slovakia.
The boys were up early again today and looking forward to a good practice. The weather has been terrific, which has made for much better sleeping than we would have expected. With no air conditioning in the rooms, the ability to leave the windows open and get some cool air has been welcomed.
Breakfast today was, for the most part, a repeat of yesterday. Everyone seems to be getting enough to eat and the food has been quite good. We even had hamburgers and chicken wings cooked on a grill for dinner last night. We also went down the street to a restaurant that has excellent pizza so the guys were well feed last night.
We have two practices scheduled for today as we prepare for our exhibition game tomorrow afternoon in Piestany.
An hour before our ice time our trainer takes the players to a second ice surface that is covered with sport court in the summer. They will typically do some dynamic stretching and play whiffle ball, soccer or something similar. The players have a ball with it and it really shows their athleticism.
Aug. 7, 2014
Greetings from Trnava, Slovakia.
After a very busy first few days, the players and staff for the U.S. Under-18 Select team participating in the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup are finally starting to settle down and get to the business at hand.
The short stay in the Nations’ Capital was productive as the team got to know each other quickly. Our hosts, the Washington Capitals, could not have been better. They obviously have first class facilities and it is always so nice that they allow us to use them in our preparations. We got on the ice four times and the staff was able to install some systems that will be utilized in the tournament.
Our trip over here on Tuesday afternoon could not have gone smoother. We got through the check in process and security was quicker than any of us had ever seen. The flight over the Atlantic went well and having a direct flight made for a much quicker trip that we have experienced in the past.
Yesterday was tough on everyone as we wanted to acclimate ourselves to the time change as quickly as possible and therefore we tried to keep everyone up once we landed in Vienna. Once we landed, we took a short bus trip to Trnava, Slovakia where we went to the rink to drop off our equipment and then to the hotel to check in.
We all went to the town center for some sightseeing but the main objective was to keep everyone awake until we had to head to the rink. We had our first practice over here at 5 p.m., local time. It was good to get on the ice, and practice went great considering how long everyone had been up.
We have had breakfast (lots of different options, eggs, ham, yogurt, and cereal) at the hotel and headed to the rink for the first of two practices today.
We are on the ice at 9:15 a.m., and then again at 3:45 p.m. In between we will have a team meeting probably a bit of a nap. The boys are looking forward to a snack tonight of pizza, which is excellent over here, by the way.
Anyway, hopefully this gives everyone a bit of a sense of what we are going through. I’ll try to touch base daily so even if you can’t be here you will have a sense of what we are experiencing.