Archive for April, 2016

April 30th, 2016

Stockholm ice hockey tournament trip

After returning from Japan, we spent a few days at home and then I and Aapo were on the road again. This time our destination was Stockholm. Aapo’s ice hockey team had their first tournament trip abroad. As I’m one of the two team leaders of the team, I was in charge of around 35 ten year old junior hockey players.

The trip started on Thursday afternoon – everyone gathered to the Kauniainen ice rink to embark a short bus journey to the ferry terminal in Helsinki. The whole team got sponsored Warrior backbags – and I got one, too. It is surprisingly good bag and I could fit all my stuff needed for four days trip into it. I’m planning to use it also outside ice hockey related travels – probably the best backbag I’ve owned.

Anyhow, we took the bus to the ferry terminal and boarded the ship to Stockholm. The ferry trip started with a dinner in the buffet and after that the players had some time off before it was time to go to bed. We had agreed a couple of games for Friday and then there would be two full tournament days, so the players needed to have as much sleep as possible. Fortunately, boys and girls of this age are not yet interested in hassling around during the night.

The next morning started slowly, so we packed our stuff in a leisurable pace and had an excellent breakfast in the ship. Then we drove to Danderyd that is a sister city of Kauniainen to play two games against the local team. As this was the first international games for both teams, the national anthems of Finland and Sweden were played, and I gave a short speech in Swedish – not my strongest language, but it went surprisingly well. We also won the both games, so it was a good day.

After the games and lunch, I visited central Stockholm for a quick business meeting while the rest of the team visited Farsta tournament that had already started on Friday evening. We had no games until Saturday, but it was good to scout the other teams.

We stayed at Scandic Alvik in Bromma. I must salute Scandic’s sport pricing, as otherwise we would be staying in hostels or schools. The whole hotel was an excellent experience.

I had a rendezvous with the rest of the team in Bromma’s McDonald’s. We ordered around 50 Big Mac meals – the restaurant had been informed about our team beforehand, so everything was ready in less than ten minutes. Impressive! The manager was very pleased and asked to come again the next day… Probably he exceeded his targets for that day.

Saturday morning was very early, as we were the first team on ice on that day. We woke up around six o’clock and then the day was just about hockey until quite late in the evening, when we gathered the team to hotel and had sauna with the players before going to bed. We won some games and lost others, so the tournament was on right skill level for us.

Sunday morning was a bit more pleasant, but we were again at the ice rink quite early. One of our two teams were third, beating the organising team at the bronze game. The other team had chances to be at the final, but ended up being sixth after the other teams in our division won their games with enough goals and then we lost our final game. So lot of celebration and disappointment.

After our final games, we hurried to bus to the ferry terminal – just to find out that we need to wait for the ship for a while. We had arranged dinner to à la carte restaurant at the ship. The players had a pasta option, and the coaches, team leads, etc. chose to eat two course menu and spend some quality time without the children.

The ferry’s destination was Turku, as these ships leave three hours later than ships to Helsinki – otherwise we would not have been able to play the last games in Farsta. This also meant that the ship arrives quite early in Finland, so the breakfast was again very early, followed by disembarking the ship and two hour bus ride to Kauniainen. Aapo went to school and I to office. Boy, I was tired on that day…