Team Sask 2017 has arrived at the Scotties!!!
Thursday and Friday have been busy days so far. This will definitely be my longest blog of the week…I am setting the bar high and it will be lowered by the end of the event. Penny, Deanna, Danielle and Amber left Thursday morning to Toronto. Because of Lorraine’s school commitments, her & Merv flew out very early Friday morning. So we tried our best to include them in all of our adventures via messages and pictures and even brought them along with some creative substitutes.
I started my fifth player duties out early with trying to minimize distractions and take care of the little things by being selected for the random security screening at the Regina airport. When I questioned the security guard about how random these screenings really are… he asked if I believed in karma. I said yes and his reply was if I was perhaps a better person I may not have been selected. 🙁 I guess I have never really have claimed to be nice… But don’t tell the team that!!
After almost losing Penny at the airport, getting luggage, waiting patiently for Team Ontario and BC to get into Toronto – we boarded a bus in rush hour traffic to St. Catharines. Ugggh – this is not like rush minute in Moose Jaw. Needless to say we had envisioned arriving a tad bit earlier but still happy to make it to our home for the next 10 days. The host committee did a great job of making us feel at home with lots of gifts at the hotel for the team. My room was the hub of these great gifts and I am still not sure why they thought leaving 8 bottles of wine and beer in my room was the best idea!!! I have done this 5th player gig before and it can be a long week, let alone temptation like that. The beer is kind of neat though as it is a special made ‘Hurry Hard’ Amber Lager.
There are some ‘firsts’ at a Scotties that are pretty special. Getting your green jackets is definitely one of them. Opening the box in your hotel room comes with a special anticipation. It was no different for this team.
Lots of smiles when putting the jackets on. Lorraine may have missed the girls getting their green & white clothes but we made sure her replacement tried them on before she arrived.
Friday afternoon was busy with pre-competition practice, interviews, photos, and hot shots. Because of the time Lorraine and Merv landed in Toronto, we knew Lorraine may not make it for the pre-comp practice. But apparently her and Merv were picked up by the secret service in Toronto and whisked quickly to the arena in St. Catharine’s and Lorraine slid onto the ice for the last 10 minutes of practice. It was nice to see all the team on the ice together. Ice is wonderful. Feels good, looks good and is good!
The Hot Shots had a new twist this year. Instead of the traditional 6 shots, they decided to do 5 shots that included the Hackner double, Sandra Schmirler’s in-off from the Trials, a drag effect double, around the horn shot and a tap back. The girls did not too bad. Danielle would have been close to top 4 if she nailed her last shot but didn’t quite do it. Apparently she was trying to show me up after I made a smart comment about leads potentially struggling with these selected shots. It is just awesome to get on the ice and throw even if you didn’t make the finals of the Hot Shots… Who needs a car lease anyway?? I think we would take finals of another kind instead.
Probably the most fun & entertaining part of the day was doing the TSN Power Poses. This is where the team goes into a studio (aka converted hockey dressing room) and TSN creates video poses with cool flashing lights in the background. It was difficult for this team when instructed to be serious and not smile.
The end result looked like a pretty darn powerful team (that may need some dance lessons) but there was lots of laughter after each pose. The hardest part of this event for this team may be not being allowed to smile in their power poses. The girls were really rock stars though and handled the photos and video and interviews like pros! And man do they look really good in the green & white!
The girls got some rest for about an hour in the afternoon. Merv & I headed just down the street to Merv’s office for the week for a brief support team meeting. He bought and I am now 1 for 2 on roll up the rim.
The evening reception included the other special ‘first’. The girls received their Scotties pendants presented by Kruger Products. They are now marked forever with their gold heart pendant. They have arrived!! If you had a chance to see this team’s run at the provincial, you may recall some emotion after a few of their games. Well it wasn’t any different with opening their jewelry boxes. Melts my heart to know how special that symbol of all their hard work means to each of them, so a couple tears of joy were fine by me!!!
The evening was capped off with the Fan Appreciation at the Heart Stop Lounge, where the team could socialize with others. It was nice to see the England/Schmirler family there so we had some Sask connections as our own support groups of family/friends don’t start arriving until tomorrow and over the next couple of days.
We are getting closer to getting the real party started on the ice…. Saturday will be the Opening Ceremonies and our first game in the evening. Stay tuned……
Amber Holland – 5th
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