People have incredible days every day. Some days we meet goals, other days we meet new people, some days we try new things. Sunday, March 23, 2014 was an incredible day for an incredible reason.
We were invited to attend the Avs’ Better Halves Charity Brunch in Denver. This event recognizes children with medical challenges and gives them a day to forget these challenges and shine.
Upon arriving at the Denver Hyatt Regency Hotel, we were all a little nervous. This was our first time at such a large event and we wanted to make sure everything was perfect. After letting the children and their families get settled at their tables for breakfast, we were so excited to get to know each and every one of them. As we walked from table to table, we were greeted with warm smiles and sunny personalities. Each child had a different story, personality, sense of humor… They made us feel instantly comfortable and set the mood for the rest of the day. Our job was to simply help the kids feel more at ease when it came time to walk the runway, but instead, new memories were created and amazing friendships were formed.
We spent our morning with the children; practicing their runway walks, taking photos with Bernie, and watching as they got their hair, makeup and wardrobes ready for the big show. One of the most remarkable parts of the day for us was watching the kids interact with the coaches, players, and the better halves that they were matched up with for the event. Seeing their excitement and watching them bond with their player was an unbelievable moment!
At one point, a game of tag broke out with two of the little boys. We were hiding from each other, running around tables, and having so much fun. Their laughter was absolutely contagious! It was after they followed the line upstairs for the fashion show that we realized how large of an affect these two children just had on our lives. Every day, they face challenges and fight battles that make “normal” every day challenges, that seem like mountains to most people, look like a piece of sand to them. For them to be so strong and take every challenge they have with such amazing spirits brings tears to our eyes because to us, they are miniature super-heroes. These boys, as well as the rest of the children, will take a piece of our hearts.
Then came time for the fashion show; we listened to the children as they talked through their ideas of funny end-of-the-runway waves or gestures that they had in mind with their player. We tried to help make them feel comfortable with the bright lights and not being with their families to walk the runway. Little did we know, these amazing children would completely open up and be full of confidence when the spotlight was on them and their Av. We saw moves like twirls, spins, coordinated dances, and even a headstand! We were moved by their free-spiritedness and willingness to live life to the fullest no matter what.
This event is put on to give the children a day they will never forget. A day for them and all about them; but at the end of the day, as the families and children leave, we find ourselves just as moved and inspired. We are so thankful to have met these incredible little super-heroes. It is a day that we will never forget.
~Avs Ice Girls
Let’s talk about smiles for a second. A smile is the key to expressing happiness and breaking down language barriers between different people and cultures; the best form of communication. Though we smile without thinking throughout the day, we underestimate the power of smiling. For some people, this can be a challenge. Not because they want to hide their smiles from the world, but because in their opinion, their teeth aren’t pretty or perfect enough. Everyone deserves to be proud of their teeth and share their smiles! This isn’t just a matter of expression, this is a health concern. No one should have to suffer from the pain of dental imperfections. Last week, we got to meet an awesome group of people dedicated to providing dental care and helping create beautiful smiles!
TeamSmile is a non-profit organization that partners with various dentists, sports teams, and healthcare companies to make every stop around the country a special experience. They provide dental care for kids who may not be able to afford the basic check-up or procedure.
When we showed up to KIPP Denver Schools, the entire gym was a dental office filled with many kids who were anxious to go through the process. Dentists and dental hygienists were scattered everywhere, ready to care for the children. Everything was organized by stations; from check-in, to x-ray, to cleanings. There was a DJ on site and we encouraged children to dance with us before and after their visit to the dentist. The “Cupid Shuffle” was the favorite song of the day and we had a blast bustin’ a move!
We were so excited to be involved that day. Most of the children were all smiles, very outgoing, and so sweet! The staff that ran the event was incredible; very patient and made such a huge impact on the lives of the children there. We’re so happy that an organization like TeamSmile can provide such a great service to the community and we are very fortunate to have spent a day with such a wonderful group of students and professionals. Not every kid walked into the gym smiling, but I can guarantee that they all walked out smiling from ear-to-ear with pearly whites!
We want to say thank you to KIPP Denver Schools for having us! TeamSmile, thank you for bringing the community together and doing something so unique to better the world; we had an awesome day with all of you!
-Samantha & Paolina
We got the opportunity to go to Barking Dog Café with Bernie in Lyons, CO. If you recall, Lyons was hit pretty hard with the flooding that devastated much of Colorado in September. One of the first things we saw on Main Street was a group of people packaging bags of supplies and unloading food, water, etc. from a truck. It made us sad but at the same time, wow, what a great community of people! There were adults, children, families, and neighbors volunteering their time and efforts to rebuild the town. It also showed us that the process of recovery and rebuilding from the flood isn’t over yet. Even in the midst of broken roads, damaged homes, and a cold wind sweeping through; Lyons emanated comfort and warmth. We knew it was going to be a great day!
We arrived at Barking Dog Café and began meeting a lot of people from the community. They were all so sweet and welcoming! You would never guess they’d been battling with the consequences of a natural disaster because everyone had a smile a mile wide. Kids came running up, eager to meet Bernie and give him a hug or a high five; it was extremely gratifying. Bernie kept everyone laughing with his silly jokes and the atmosphere was wonderful. He even made some coffee behind the counter! We also met a little girl who was thinking about playing hockey. We told her it’s a sport like no other and that she should definitely start skating! Her dad laughed and gave us high-fives and said, “YES! Thank you!”
It was great to meet some of our fans who we may not have seen yet this year due to road damage. Lyons is a unique community with so many big-hearted people that we felt at home. We were so happy to be there with Bernie and to share this fun morning with them! In this town, even after all they’ve been through; everyone still smiles and says good morning. They embrace the work, they embrace each other, and most importantly, they have positive attitudes. We couldn’t have picked a better group of people to spend my Saturday morning with; hopefully we will see you all soon!
Thank you so much for having us Barking Dog Café and Lyons. We had a wonderful time and you’re an incredible group of people. We admire your hard work and dedication to your community!
-Samantha & Kara B.
On Monday afternoon we were given the privilege of joining the Avs and Bernie in their annual visit to Children’s Hospital Colorado. We put on our holiday hats and walked around all of the floors waiting rooms where children were sitting patiently with their parents to receive treatments. We were lucky enough to spend some time with each child asking them about their Thanksgiving and what their favorite food was from their big turkey dinner. I’m sure you can guess what most of them said, dessert, especially the pumpkin pies!
The countless smiles on all of the children’s faces during such hard times were what really got to us. Those children are warriors, battling every single day with such kind hearts! It amazes us how strong and courageous they and their families are throughout these tough days. We have the utmost admiration and respect for them.
As we continued to interact with the amazing children, we were able to take pictures with them and sign a few autographs. Bernie was also having all kinds of fun with them. Although some of the kids were a little frightened by him at first, they were relentless to give him a big high five or a hug once some of the Ice Girls showed them that he wouldn’t bite! One little girl in particular was just in awe of the big fluffy pup, she could not take her eyes off of him. They played hide and seek for a few minutes and a smile from ear to ear was soon to follow!
We are so thankful to have had the wonderful opportunity to bring a few smiles to children’s faces; hopefully we made their days just a little brighter! Thank you so much to all of the children and families who were so gracious to let us be a part of such a wonderful event.
“A lesson for all of us is that for every loss, there is victory, for every sadness, there is joy, and when you think you’ve lost everything, there is hope.” ―Geraldine Solon
That quote sums up our visit; we feel unbelievably privileged to have been part of this heart-warming trip and look forward to making this one of our new traditions as a team.
Avs Ice Girls
On Monday night we were able to attend the Colorado Avalanche Meet the Team Event. The event is set up for Season Ticket Holders to meet the Avs Players, Bernie, and your Avalanche Ice Girls. The ice was covered and the new video board, Pepsi Vision, was brought all the way down to the floor. If you think it looks big when it's hanging above the ice, it's ten times bigger when you're standing next to it! Stations were set up around the rink for opportunities to interact with the players. There was a station in the penalty box, the players' bench, and in front of Pepsi Vision; you could even sit on the Zamboni. One of the highlights was the opportunity for fans to take a picture with Roy, Sakic, and Foote. You could also take a holiday photo with “Santa” Bernie or a photo with the whole Avs Ice Girls Team.
It was so wonderful to be able to meet our season ticket holders. Many of them are at almost every single game. What an incredible fan base! There were faces we recognized either from their seats at the games or from visiting us at our autograph table pre-game. There were also many new faces, which we will be sure to keep a look out for at upcoming games. It was so much fun to interact with fans of all ages, from toddlers in their tiny Avs jerseys to grandparents. After we took pictures with our fans, we were able to do a little mingling. It was wonderful to see the passion for the Avalanche and the growing interest in our jobs as Ice Girls. We are so thankful for everyone's support.
Toward the end of the evening, we were asked to come onstage and tell a little bit about ourselves. It was a great opportunity to show the fans what an awesome group of girls we have. It was so nice to tell people about the things we do outside of being an Ice Girl. There are a lot of smart and talented women on our team.
After our moment on stage, the players came up to thank the fans for their support. As Landeskog put it, "We'll keep doing what we're doing if you keep doing what you're doing." So keep up the support Avalanche fans! Let's make this the best season yet!
-Your Avalanche Ice Girls
Today when I woke up, it felt like any other day. I went to the gym, went to school, and planned for an evening skate at Pepsi Center. I walked through the entrance and proceeded to the locker room; my fellow ice girls and I laced up our skates and got ready to go. We were greeted by bright-eyed families and children of all ages when we got to the rink. Some were nervous and some were excited as we fitted them with helmets, skates, and elbow pads for the skating session.
The first little boy I skated with was roughly five years old and it was his first time ever being on the ice. It reminded me of my first time and how I fell in love with hockey the day I stepped foot on the ice. He was really scared initially but after our first lap, he was ecstatic. He wanted to go fast so I held him up and got some speed going. It was a great feeling to know that I shared such a special moment with this child and I hope that he pursues the sport because he was definitely a natural! I spent the majority of the night pushing kids around in chairs, letting them race against Bernie, and spinning them around. It was a blast! I enjoyed watching kids shoot pucks at the net and the excitement in their eyes from scoring a goal was extremely gratifying. One of my favorite moments from the night was when Ryan O’Reilly asked the kids if they had any questions and the little boy I’d been skating with raised his hand. Ryan, expecting a hockey-related question, called on him. The boy said, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Everyone laughed and it was so cute. Just in case you were wondering why the chicken crossed the road, it was to get to his eggs! :)
I spent a decent amount of time talking to a young man named Logan who some of you might recall from the Avalanche vs. Stars puck drop the other night. As I write this, I’m still nearly speechless. He was one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. I can’t say enough great things about him, I’m so happy that his treatment has been successful, and that he’ll be able to play again. I considered myself blessed to share the ice with such an incredible group of kids and families. When I realized the strength that each one of them possessed, and at such a young age, I absolutely admired them. Watching them have so much fun and getting to share that experience with them was really moving. I look up to these kids for their courage, strength, determination, and their very humble demeanor. Tomorrow, I won’t just go to school. I won’t just wake up and say, “It’s just another day.” Today, from these children, I’ve learned that every day is a gift and should be treated as such.
Thank you so much to all the families that came out to skate today and all the kids. You’re all so inspirational and strong. We loved skating with you and getting to know you!
Hey Avs Fans!
During the month of October the NHL participates in an incredible initiative called Hockey Fights Cancer. If you were in the stands at the Avs-Stars game on Tuesday, October 15th, you probably noticed some splashes of lavender being worn throughout Pepsi Center. We absolutely loved rocking the white hats with the Avs logo dyed this beautiful shade of lavender to help support this cause, and feel beyond privileged to have been a part of this night! The support from fans was equally amazing, and you could certainly feel the positive energy throughout the arena.
On Wednesday, October 16th, we were able to participate in a second community outreach opportunity for Hockey Fights Cancer called “Break the Ice.” We had a wonderful time meeting some of hockey’s sweetest, strongest, and youngest fans.
When we arrived at Pepsi Center, we were quickly put to work fitting and lacing skates, getting kids geared up with helmets and gloves, and finally hitting the ice for some skate time! We spent the evening having races across the ice, practicing shooting goals, and getting to know some amazing kiddos, each with a different story to tell. We got to know a lot about them and their unique personalities in the short two-hour period.
After getting some time to skate and play around on the ice, everyone took to center ice. Fans were able to ask questions to two Avs players, Alex Tanguay and Ryan O’Reilly, and then we took a big group photo with everyone who came to the event.
After a few hours of skating, it was time to go enjoy some hot chocolate and popcorn. We were able to take a few more photos with the families that participated before the event came to an end. This was an unforgettable opportunity and we feel extremely grateful to have been a part of it. The positive vibe in the arena was incredibly moving and uplifting. As a new team, we have been looking forward to getting opportunities to participate in events like this and are so honored to have met some of our bravest fans during this event. Thank you to everyone who came out, and to everyone who helped support the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative! Go AVS!
On Saturday, October 12, we were so excited to arrive at one of the most beautiful geographic sights in Colorado, Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Being figure skaters, the cold weather made us feel right at home. It was such a privilege to be able to watch the beautiful sunset over the city of Denver just as our Avalanche team was winning their fifth straight game in a row.
The reason we were at Red Rocks was to support our team prior to the Counting Crows Concert. At the event we hung out with Bernie and signed autographs. It was so much fun to be with all of the fans and see how excited everybody is for the season!
After signing autographs for a while we went onto the stage and got to throw shirts out into the crowd. Now, there is a reason we are figure skaters and not softball players, but Bernie was extremely helpful ;)
To conclude the night we signed some more autographs. It was such a blast again to see what supportive fans we have! We could not be more excited to meet more of our fans!
Thank you for all the support! GO AVALANCHE!!
Tess and Rikka
On Monday, September 30, we were at the Castle Pines golf course in Castle Rock for the Colorado Avalanche Annual Charity Golf Classic put on by Kroenke Sports Charities. This year’s Classic raised a total of $88,000 net for youth sports.
There was a beautiful sunrise over Denver on our way to Castle Rock. We arrived as a giant Avalanche “A” was being blown up in front of the Castle Pines Club House. Welcome to Avalanche Territory!
At the event we hung out with Bernie handing out thank you gifts for the participants, as well as restacking any bags Bernie’s excited tail knocked over. The opportunity to meet and welcome all of the participants was one of the many highlights of our day.
After brunch we took the scenic route around the hilly greens, past a deer, and up to hole nine. Hole Nine was the Longest Drive. It was fun to encourage the friendly competition between the golfers!
It meant a great deal for us to be involved in an event that was created to benefit youth sports. As coaches in Learn to Skate programs, it was special to see the support and enthusiasm revolving around this particular event. At our autograph signings as well as rooting on the mini mites during intermissions, we have met many young hockey fans. It’s wonderful to think we’ve seen some faces of the children who are benefiting from Kroenke Sports Charities’ youth sports initiatives.
Go Avs Go!
~Kara D. and Kayla
Hey Avalanche Fans!
Sammie and Paolina here, posting our very first blog. We are so happy and honored to be a part of this new team, and really appreciate all of the support so far! Today, we are going to go back to the first ever Avs Ice Girls’ audition process.
From the moment the audition information was released, to the actual audition, the nerves began to build. What to expect? What skating would be required? How long would the audition be? How many girls are going to make the team? All of these questions and more began to run through our heads. After what seemed like a year, it was audition time. Saturday, July 13, 2013, that’s where we started this amazing journey!
It was gloomy and rainy on that Saturday night. As we all started to arrive at the Ice Ranch, there was a huge circle of chairs filled with beautiful and talented women who were all there for the same reason! We lined up at 7 pm, turned in our resumes, headshots, and other paperwork and received our audition numbers, 15 and 16 for us.
All of the ladies auditioning were asked to skate through an obstacle course, including things like front and back crossovers, shoveling snow, and sprints in groups of three. The beginning was pretty nerve-wracking, but so exciting. Each girl did one last check to make sure their hair and make-up was perfect. We hit the ice and everyone seemed at home. After all the groups skated the judges left to deliberate…that seemed to take forever!
The judges came down to make their announcement and wouldn’t you know it our numbers 15 and 16 were called out. We made the first cut! The two of us couldn’t have been more ecstatic! We had skated together at the same rink when we were younger so it was great to have a familiar face to go through this process with. The following week we had to go to Pepsi Center for formal interviews with the Colorado Avalanche staff and the rest is history…we made the team!
We can’t wait for our fans to get to know us better through our blog this season! Stop by Pepsi Center and see us soon! Go Avs Go!
~Paolina & Sammie