Things are underway at last! The last 13 days have gone by so fast getting ready for the games, so I cant imagine how fast things are going to go now that we have started.
Yesterday was our first day with teams on the ice at BRT. After the disappointing torch run in the am (see previous post), it was amazing to see the athletes arrive and on the ice. The first team on was Latvia. They had a full team there (since they don't have any NHL guys) and were very nice. Watching Olympic level hockey up close is pretty amazing to see how fast they skate and how hard they shoot. Even though the Latvian's are nowhere near medal contention (sorry Ryan and Val) they are still at a higher level than I have seen up close.
One of the funniest parts was seeing the guys arrive. It is actually quite a unglamorous process to come and practice. The teams leave the athletes' village to get changed into their hockey stuff at Canada Hockey place(CHP). After they get ready, they load up into the bus and head to BRT. Most just wore sandals and carried their stick and skates, but some of them got off the bus in their skates and skate guards and walked in!
Finland was on the ice next. Since THEY have more guys in the NHL, there were only 5 skaters on the ice. They even had to "borrow" a goalie that works at GM/Canada Hockey place to take up space in the net for them. After having seen how hard they shoot, I thought that that would have been pretty scary, but I was told that goalies are crazy and that they would be 100% up for it, no question.
I got to stand pretty close to Jari Kurri as well, so that was pretty cool. We are not allowed to ask for autographs or photos with the players, so I will be taking lots of mental pictures. The "Big" guys will not be arriving for the next few days as they are still playing this weekend.
Last night I went home to watch the opening, having seen the rehearsal, it was cool to see how things looked on TV. The whales and KD Lang were my faves, besides the Canadian team marching in. I wish however, that O Canada could have been done so that the audience could sing along (a personal pet peeve) as that would have been awesome (a la Oilers hockey games)-although she has an amazing voice.