Good Evening from Tomakomai in Japan !
After a good nights sleep, most of the team were up and about from 5am as the time difference is still an issue for the players and staff.
At these events teams are presented with a daily schedule of where they need to be and when. This covers not only the on-ice activities but any meetings and all meal times.
Today our schedule was…
7am – Breakfast at hotel
8am – Leave for Rink
– 9 – Practice (1hr 15m)
– 10.30 – Equipment Check
– 11.30 – Player Classifications
12.00 – Lunch at Hotel
1.30pm – Team Meeting
4.30pm Tournament Directorate Meeting (Me and Shirley, the GB Team Manager)
6.00pm Opening Ceremony at Hotel
After the early breakfast we made our way the short walk to the rink. After re-arranging the locker room checking everyone’s equipment had made it in one piece, it was onto the ice for the first training session. The ice was like skating on mirror – so smooth and fast. When we congratulated the Japanese staff on the state of the ice they said it would be even better on Tuesday – how thy can make it better we will have to wait and see, because today it was the best ice I’ve skated on !
We worked on some tactical drills during the session before having some fun at the end with the Team Lights v Team Darks penalty shootout challenge.
Straight off the ice and it was time for the equipment checks. This is where the IPC Technical Director checks every players Sledge, Helmet, Gloves, Sticks and Boots to ensure they all comply with the sports regulations. Thankfully everyone passed without any issues.
Whilst the rest of the team headed back to the hotel myself, Shirley (GB Manager) and one of the players headed off to the player classification meeting. Once finished it was time to get back to the hotel and get some food.
The food out here is very good – plenty of rice and noodles with Pork, Beef and Chicken dishes as well as fish. It was discovered at breakfast that they hadn’t quite mastered scrambled eggs yet !
The team meeting was a chance for me to set my expectations for the week – how I expect the team to behave, on-ice discipline, supporting each other etc. It was also a chance for the “fine” system to be explained – if you tuen up late, leave equipment behind etc you are fined 100 yen (just under £1) with the money going towards out end of tournament meal.
Whlst the players went out exploring the city in the afternoon myself and Shirley were at the Directorate meeting where the tournament rules and logistics were explained to all of the team officials.
This evenings Opening Ceremony saw a number of local dignitaries in attendance, together with the IPC officials, all of the athletes and staff from the teams (Slovakia, Czech Republic, GB and Japan) and the on-ice officials.
So, a busy day today, but tomorrow the real work begins as we face our first game against the top seeded Czech’s.
The game is available to watch at :
29-Nov 14:30 (05:30 UK) Czech Republic v Great Britain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO6bPyHuEEc
I’ll update you all tomorrow on how the day goes.