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2011 Postcards From Quebec

The Avalanche's Pee Wee Team Writes Home

Tuesday, 02.22.2011 / 10:07 AM / Features
By Colorado Avalanche
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2011 Postcards From Quebec
After earning the designation of the Colorado Avalanche Pee Wee Hockey Team for the 2010-11 season, the Boulder Bison are now in Quebec, representing the Avalanche at the 52nd Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament. Team members will be checking in with ColoradoAvalanche.com throughout the tournament to share their experiences.

Monday, Feb. 21

#88 - Nate Clurman (C)
As team captain of the Avalanche pee wee team I want to thank the Avalanche first for giving my team the opportunity to experience Quebec and the pee wee tournament.  This whole trip was great for my team, and for me it was really important to represent the Avalanche ‘A' which to me represents people like Matt Duchene, Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg.  The Avalanche organization has such a great history and I just want to thank them for giving me and my team this experience.

I think that as I look back on the trip I will remember hanging out with my billet family and just spending so much time with my friends.  My billet family was awesome!  They really took great care of us and made sure we all had whatever we needed to be successful.  We played a ton of hockey, even at home with them either in the basement or out on the pond.  They also had a nice massage chair which we used quite a bit.

I have been on quite a few hockey trips already but this one was the best.  We did a ton of great activities like sliding, tagball and going to a Remparts game.  The time went by so fast and I didn’t want to leave.  The tournament was great and the competition was the best we have ever seen.  Since we finished the tournament with only one loss when we were eliminated in the quarterfinal (7-1-2), overall I thought we ended up playing very well.  This was an amazing experience for me and my team!
 
#72 - Wyatt Williams
We are traveling back to Denver today; our flight was cancelled into Chicago so it was an interesting travel day.  This trip really was a good experience for me even though I got injured in one of the tournament games.  We were playing at the Colisee when I went down and now I am done for the season.   Even with my injury this trip was great and will be something I will never forget because I have so many good memories.  Some of my favorite memories are definitely playing hockey against some of the best players in the world at the pee wee level.  I also think that this trip really made my team become a lot closer with each other.  We all stayed with billet families and were paired up so we really got to know our teammates better.

My billet family was awesome!  They were so good in helping me with everything I needed when I got injured and after too.  I had so much fun with the family, with most of our time filled with pond hockey, mini hockey and video games.  They have a huge projection screen to play on so we definitely played a lot of games!

It means a lot to me to represent the Avalanche, and up in Quebec it was really cool because many of the fans still like the Avs.  When we were playing at the Colisee it was almost like playing a home game because all of the fans were behind us.

I just want to thank the Avalanche for everything they have done for me and my team!
 
#56 - Tyler Blue
This trip really taught me a lot about being a good hockey player.  We had to play really good teams every single day and we did really well overall.  I learned that I just have to fight through playing tired and to never quit even when times are tough and you really feel like you want to.  We could never quit against the teams we played, and I think it really showed us that we can play at a high level more than we have.

This trip has given me a ton of great times and memories; I think my favorite team activity was tagball.  It is like paintball but the balls don’t explode when they hit you so it’s not as messy.  It was cool running around playing games against my teammates and when the forwards were playing against the defense and goalies we beat them badly!  I think it was because the forwards were used to working a lot more with each other. I will also remember taking a slapshot to the ribs when I went down to block a shot in the last game we played.  I gave up myself for the team and it really hurt, but I am much better now.  I think we might need a team doctor in the future!

I will also remember my billet family. I have some great memories with them and they were amazing.  They put us under their wing and it really meant a lot to me.  There was one time they couldn’t stop laughing, I don’t even remember why, and then everyone else started laughing too. I will never forget them. 

It means a lot to me to represent the Avalanche because I have always watched them on TV or at Pepsi Center and I have always wanted to be an Avs player.  This was just an amazing experience.

Sunday, Feb. 20

#4 Stone Streeter:
Today we spent the day at the Colisee watching the finals for all the divisions of the tournament. The Colisee was packed! I was surprised by how crowded it was! I had no idea people here would care so much. It was a little hard to watch our division finals because the team that knocked us out ended up winning it all. I really think we should have won that game and it was tough seeing them win when I knew it could have easily been us. But besides that game, I think we did really well overall here in Quebec. I'd give us a 7 out of 10 probably.
 
This trip was really, really fun.  I loved playing pond hockey and going sledding. Our billet family was awesome. They have a cottage at Saint Anne's, which is a ski area outside of Quebec. They go there every weekend to ski and brought us a few times while we were here. It was so beautiful! They also cooked us a ton of delicious food like steak, pizza and chocolate fondue that we dipped fruit in. The food we had here was pretty similar to what we would have in the U.S. except for the fondue. It was so good!
 
We're leaving to head back to Colorado in the morning. I am sort of looking forward to going home, but I wish we could stay longer.
 
#26 Josh Egan:
This trip was way better than I expected it to be. I didn't know all the fun stuff we would get to do. There were a bunch of activities planned for us and my favorite was probably the sledding hill. Our billet family also made it an awesome experience. They were the kind of people you always wanted to be around, really nice and generous. They had two kids that were awesome and like to mess around. They would take us to go night sledding and play pond hockey, which is so cool and not something we'd get to do back home. I liked Quebec City more than I thought I would too. The people here are really nice. I noticed that they are all very polite and put others before themselves. The city itself is amazing too. I would for sure want to come back at some point.  It was hard to say bye to them tonight. I really hope we stay in touch. Maybe I'll even get to see them again when I come back!
 
I think our team did really well and played great as far as hockey goes, we just didn't finish strongly in the tournament game we lost to Carolina. I knew we were supposed to be in the finals and not them. I know we could have beat the teams they played to get into the finals (Anaheim and Swiss) so it hurt to see them take it all.  Now we have to think about going home and playing well because we have to finish our regular season and start the playoffs.
 
It felt amazing to represent the Avalanche in Quebec. The jerseys we got were sick and I wish we could wear them for all our games for the rest of our season! I'm not really ready to go home tomorrow, I want to stay longer!

Saturday, Feb. 19

#60 Josh Sample:
Today we played our last game in Quebec which was against the Pembina Trail Twins from Winnipeg.  It was very fast paced and I saw a lot of shots from them in goal. They are a team that is a level above us and I think our boys really stepped up to the challenge to play them. We match our opponent's level of play often (for better or worse).  Even though we ended up tying 1-1, I think because we battled and played hard, it was a positive way to finish up our games here.
 
Being a goalie, I prepare for games by getting ready mentally, thinking about playing well, controlling rebounds and not giving up goals. Hip-hop and rap music also pumps me up. A lot of people think being the goalie would be a stressful position but I love that I can be a man who stands on his head and blocks shots, or I can let a goal in and lose the game for my team. I actually like that pressure and I think my parents think I'm crazy for it.
 
Overall in the tournament I think we did really well and I'm happy with our performance. We've definitely grown as a team and I've seen some things from a few guys just this week that I haven't seen all year. My favorite part has been playing at the Colisee. I love all the people and the energy you feel being there. It really felt like we were playing at an Avs game! It's been amazing to represent the Avalanche organization here. It has felt like we are the actual Avalanche pro team!

Friday, Feb. 18

#20 Michael Revitte
We played in the quarterfinals tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. In the beginning of the game we didn't come out as well as we could have. We sometimes tend to play at the level of our opponent and I think that was the case tonight. Their pace was kind of flat and we matched it. In the first period, pretty early in the game, Andre scored a goal and we were feeling pretty good. But we couldn't manage to finish it out early by scoring more and let it come down to the 3rd period. They battled in the 3rd and we did not play strong enough to hold them off. I thought we didn't play with enough intensity and let the game slip away, ending on the wrong end 3-1. On the positive side I think we were very disciplined and and were good about now retaliating when they would push us around, I thought we were good about avoiding penalties.
 
Overall in this tournament we've been working hard on all the major points coach has wanted us to develop. I really think we worked hard and I'm happy with our results (7-1-1). My favorite part of the trip has been playing hockey and doing all the fun activities with my team. I think down the road I'll remember the whole experience and all the fun stuff we've gotten to do. Hockey has obviously been huge part but staying with the billet family and getting to do all the other fun stuff has also been unforgettable.
 
Tomorrow we are finishing up our tournament play with an exhibition game against the Pembina Trail Twins from Winnipeg.  I am excited to get on the ice again and forget about the loss in the quarterfinals against Carolina. 

Thursday, Feb. 17

#16 Andre Kurtz
There are a lot of things I love about this trip but my favorite part  is getting to meet and live with my billet family. When we're at their house we hang out, play ping pong and Wii with their kids, and of course watch a lot of hockey. I've noticed some differences in the way we do day-to-day stuff, like their milk comes in bags, I think it's interesting to learn about the differences (and similarities) in our cultures.
 
My other favorite part of the trip is how much hockey we are playing. Today we had two exhibition games. The first was against the San Jose Sharks. It seemed like we felt kind of tired and I thought we didn't play with enough intensity but other than that we played well and won 2-0. My teammate Bucky got two goals in that game so I am really happy that we won.  Right now our record is 6-0-1 on this trip.
 
Tomorrow is a big day for our team. We play at 7pm in the Colisee in the quarterfinals. I'm not nervous about it but actually looking forward to it and think it will be fun - probably the most fun game we've ever played. Big crowds don't really change the way we play, we'll just play our game by bringing intensity and urgency, and playing as a team. I can't wait! During the day tomorrow I'll probably just watch a couple movies, stretch and warm up mentally. Wish us luck!
 
#22 Jovan Zimmerman
We played two exhibition games today, the first was against the San Jose Sharks and second against the Calgary Junior Flames. During the second game I think I played alright but at one point I accidentally speared myself in the stomach with my stick, knocking the wind out of me. I had to sit out a few shifts so that wasn't the best. At the end of the game it was tied at 1-1 and we ended up doing a shootout. We won that on the last shot when Jake Young scored to end it, so we proved ourselves in the end. I think that if we talked more on the bench and on the ice, pumping each other up, we would have won by a lot more. That's something we'll have to concentrate on for the quarterfinal game tomorrow night.
 
I've never played in front of a crowd of more than maybe 50, so the game tomorrow night is going to be awesome. The Colisee should be pretty packed for our game at 7pm and it holds around 15,000 people. I think it will feel like a pro or junior game with all the people, lights and sounds. All that won't make me nervous before the game, if anything I get nervous during the game if it is close.
 
Quebec is really cool. I definitely want to come back when I'm older, whether it's to play hockey or not. I like the environment here. Everyone is obsessed with hockey and you notice it everywhere. There are tons of rinks, and the five dollar bill even has a picture of pond hockey on it. The other day we went to this crazy store that was only hockey stuff. I got a Quebec Nordiques sweater like the ones they used to wear to play. I wish we had a store like that in Colorado!

Wednesday, Feb. 16

#2 - Cody Christofferson
We won our last tournament game against the Aylmer Mariners 4-1!  I was in net today and it was so fun to play in the Colisee.  There were a lot of people there but since we won we will now play in the quarterfinals on Friday night, so there will be a ton of fans there to watch us.  This is such an amazing experience and I know that I will not get another chance to do something like this again in life.  We get to meet new people and really see what life is like here in Quebec City.  I think that the best thing about this trip is getting to know our billet families.  My family is so nice and they take great care of us, we are definitely spoiled.  The thing that I have really noticed about life here is that hockey is just a part of life, I wish that was how it was back home.
 
We have done a bunch of great things while being here besides hockey.  We went to a Quebec Remparts game which was really cool because the Colisee was full and all the fans were really into it.  The Remparts are a really good Junior team. I didn't get to see the whole game because we had an early game and I needed to get some rest.  We also went sliding which was really fun.  We were flying down hills, and I have never done anything like that before.
 
I have had so much fun so far in the tournament and I can't wait to play some more games and get to know my billet family better.
 
#10 - RJ Harland
This is really an amazing experience because we get to represent the Avalanche and I am so glad that my team earned this opportunity.  My billet family is great and we are really playing pretty well!  The tournament game against Aylmer was a pretty good game for us.  It seemed like our team was a little bit tired today though and when we were up by a couple of goals going into the third period we let them come back a bit.  We definitely need to put complete games together and finish a bit better if we want to win this tournament. 
 
My billet family is so great, I really enjoy staying with them.  We have played a ton of pond hockey which is awesome because we don't have ponds like this in Colorado.  I also have gone to a few of my billet family's hockey practices and games, which is pretty cool because you can really see that there are a lot of good players everywhere!  The players here are all great skaters and are pretty fast.  One of the best things about my billet family is the crepes that Chantal makes us in the morning. Even though I have had crepes before these ones are extra good, it might be because of the chocolate. 
 
I am really looking forward to our next tournament game on Friday night and I am looking forward to playing some exhibition games at the Mall tomorrow.  I really can't pick anything specific that is great about this trip, everything is great!

Tuesday, Feb. 15

#62 - Adam Tybor
Today we had another exhibition game against the New York Islanders. They were pretty good but we beat them by having good placements on shots and rebounding. We won 3-1 and I scored the 3rd goal on a power play which was cool. It was good practice before our very important game tomorrow when we play our second tournament game. If we win tomorrow we'll get to play in the Colisee on Friday night at 7 p.m. The stadium will be pretty full at that time so making it to Friday is a huge goal for us right now. Playing in front of all those fans would be so awesome.
 
After our game we went to the Ice Hotel. I thought it would be small with only a couple rooms but it was huge! There were 30 rooms where people could spend the night like a regular hotel (I think you would have to be crazy to stay overnight there - the beds are made out of ice!) The walls had carvings in them and there were ice sculptures everywhere, and a slide made out of ice you could go down. Some of the parents even got drinks that were served in ice glasses! The whole thing was really cool to see.
 
Another fun activity we did yesterday was Tagball. It's like paintball but with foam balls as ammo instead of paintballs. I had never heard of it but it was cool, the balls stung a little but overall it was really fun to play. We split into teams, forwards vs. defense. I play defense and the forwards team got the best of us for most of the time we were there but in the last game we captured their flag and got our revenge. Tomorrow we're going to the sliding hill so that'll be fun too.
 
#28 - Trent Fleming
This is hands-down the best trip of my life! We all really appreciate the Avs for making this possible and unforgettable for our team. From playing games against teams from other countries, to getting to stay with a billet family while we're here, the whole experience is awesome. My favorite part has probably been playing at the Colisee. It's such a cool experience, especially knowing that the Nordiques used to play there and tons of NHL players.
 
Today we played the New York Islanders in an exhibition game. We didn't play bad but it wasn't our best performance. We tried to make fast decisions and control the puck for most of the game.  They had some good individual players but didn't work well as a team and we ended up coming out on top, 3-1.
 
For our tournament game tomorrow, I think the keys to winning will be making unselfish plays, communicating a lot, making good passes, and always having someone in front of the net to rebound or help screen the goalie. Before the game I'll try to visualize playing a good game. We really want a win so that we stay in the tournament and get to play Friday night at the Colisee!

Monday, Feb. 14

#36 - Jake Young
Hello from Quebec! We are having an amazing trip so far. Yesterday we had a day-off from playing which was really nice. We got to sleep in and then went to watch our billet family's son Gabriel play in his hockey game. They lost unfortunately but it was still cool to see him play. After his game we headed down to the Winter Carnival. It's a pretty big deal here and it was the last day so there were lots of people walking around. We got to play mini-hockey, human foosball, and dodge ball - it was awesome. Later on my real parents came over to my billet parents' house for dinner. The food was so good! They had something I don't really know how to say, which was like a grill on the table where we cooked our own beef, chicken, and shrimp.
 
I feel like the Quebec culture is different than the U.S. but not enough to where we don't connect with the people here. The kids in our billet family are pretty much just like us and we don't even speak the same language! They are Nicolas who is 10 and Gabriel who is 12. Neither one speaks English but they can sort of understand it and we are still able to communicate.
 
Today we had another exhibition game, this time against England. There is a blizzard In Quebec right now so five of our players ran late to the game. Once they got there though, we played well, just weren't able to score. Their goalie was good and we didn't score on some of the chances we should have. The game ended 0-0 and in exhibition games we don't have overtime.
 
I'm really looking forward to playing at the Colisee again and to playing different teams from around the world. Thank you to the Avs for this opportunity!

Saturday, Feb. 12

# 36 - James 'Bucky' Guthrie
Today we had our first tournament game at the Colisee. It was cool to play in such a huge arena with the Jumbo-tron and everything. Oh yeah, and it was awesome because we WON! We played the Boston Jr. Bruins. It was a fast-paced game and they were pretty good. After the first we were still tied 0-0 but in the second they got a lucky break-away (which we normally don't give up) and scored. In the third we focused on keeping in their zone and I scored a goal to tie the game. My linemate, Will Reichart, scored another one later on and we won 2-1. That means we move into the "winners" bracket and it's single elimination from here on out. Our next tournament game is not until Wednesday, but we'll have some exhibition games before then so we can get some practice in. As long as we stick to our plan, work hard and find it in ourselves, I think we'll do pretty good in this tournament.
 
Other than having fun playing hockey, I've had a great time getting to know my billet family- Danny, Chantal and their kids. They are really nice and welcoming to me and my teammate, RJ. It's fun learning French words, seeing how they live everyday and experiencing a different culture than my own. It's interesting for me to just listen to and watch them! They have a son who is an older hockey player and today he refereed our exhibition game. It was fun to see him on the ice while we were playing. We won the game 5-1 but I swear he was fair and didn't favor our team!
 
I love Quebec and can't wait to explore more. I get a good feeling just being here, I can tell it's special with all the history and culture. I want to thank the Avs and my billet family for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I know I will never forget!

Friday, Feb. 11

#78 - Will Reichart
It was our first full day here in Quebec and it is really cool! It's not as modern as I expected with lots of old buildings. We had our first exhibition game which was against the Atlanta Fire. With the long 12 hour travel day yesterday, I wasn't sure how we were going to play. At first we weren't playing very smart (not making the right passes or positioning well) and the game was at the mall so there were definitely a lot of distractions like a rollercoaster going over the rink and people screaming, but we managed to stay focused and win 3-1. I scored the game-winning goal which I was really excited about.
 
After the game we got ready to head to dinner to meet our billet families for the first time. We stay with our billet family through the whole tournament so I was a little nervous but mostly excited. Me and my teammate Trenton are staying with Nancy and Daniel. They don't have any kids but have friends who have been billet families before and recommended it to them. They seem really nice and tomorrow night they are taking us to the Winter Carnival Parade. Nancy is in a choir that is singing in the parade so it will be fun to see her doing that.
 
I'm looking forward to having fun and playing hockey, but also just experiencing the Quebec culture. It feels great to represent the Avalanche here!

Thursday, Feb. 10


#12 - Blake Bride
We traveled all day to get here, I am really excited to be with my team and see what kind of competition is here when we play our first game against the Atlanta Fire.  Tonight we get to meet our billet family and I am really excited about that as well.  I haven't even talked to them yet but I do know that they have two kids that are my age so I think it is going to be really fun to get to know them.  I am going to be away from home for a while so it is going to be nice to stay with a family.
 
Before we left Colorado we got to do some really cool things.  First we practiced at the Avalanche practice facility and skated with Craig Anderson, Paul Stastny, and Matt Hunwick.  They were really nice and the best advice they gave us was to have fun no matter what because this is a great experience and we are playing with the best players from all around the world.  They skated with us for an hour and then signed whatever we asked them too; the best part was taking photos with them.  That same day the Avalanche gave us a ton of gear like jerseys, bags, jackets, warm-ups, and hats. It is so cool to have all this stuff personalized.  The next day we had a send off at the Avs vs. Ducks game. It was amazing being out there on the ice when we were introduced with the Avalanche.
 
It means a lot to me to represent the Colorado Avalanche 'A' and it is a great experience for my entire team to get to come and play here.  I think I am most excited about playing at the Colisee in front of all the fans that are there!


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