Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Beautiful weather in Denver!

As you know, Kyle is back playing "travel" hockey. Normally we don't travel far - Flagstaff, Tucson, Peoria... but this time we chose to spend a weekend at a tournament in Littleton, Colorado. Now, in August, in Phoenix, Denver sounds like a lovely place to visit. Cooler temps, mountains. HA! We have to pick the year to visit when Denver gets more snow than Minneapolis and colder temps too!!!

I am SO glad to be home. Just tired. These trips take a toll. Not enough sleep, not enough rest time, so many emotional ups & downs!!!

Here's the novel for all interested...

Got to the airport Thurs late afternoon. There were 4 "families" on our flight so we all met at Chili's in the airport for dinner before the trip. Figured we could get to the hotel and get a snack if necessary in Denver.

The waitress was a moron, and we ended up having to RUN through security. Made the flight. Easy flight. The landing however... we bounced and slid down the runway. Literally. Guess it was a tad icy.

Then had to wait 45 minutes in the sub-zero (with wind chill) temps outside for the rental car agency van. 4 adults & 5 kids & oodles of baggage (hockey bags, stick bags, suitcases.) Can you imagine???

Got the rental car. I was giving another dad & kid a ride to the hotel, cause he was sharing a car with someone already there. We could barely fit our luggage in the Jeep Cherokee. The kids had to sit with luggage in the backseat.

About 15 minutes out of the airport (did I mention that it was snowing like crazy, the roads were pretty bad, and it was below zero???) Eric (the other dad) and I were noticing that it sounded like a window was open. We checked all the windows, pulled back the sunroof cover, and SURPRISE, the sunroof was blown out. Literally, pieces of the sunroof were blowing out. It had shattered somehow. (speculation is the sudden temp change from subzero on the outside to warm on the inside - or when they washed the car, moisture somehow got in the gaps and cracked it. Who knows???)

We continued, sans sunroof, to the hotel. Arrived at the hotel at 11:45. Almost exactly 3 hours AFTER we landed. (keep in mind that the hotel is approximately a 25 minute drive from the Denver airport. Where did 3 hours go???) Checked in, called the rental car agency roadside assistance, who suggested at midnight, in a sub-zero snowstorm, that I return the car to the airport immediately. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
I called home to Ron.

Ron yelled at me for taking a damaged car (as though, in subzero wind chill with snow all over the roof of the car I could notice that the sunroof was damaged!!!) and told me to go to sleep and contact the rental car agency in the morning.

Slept fitfully and awakened at 7 am to Ron's call. He wanted the rental car agency's phone numbers.

30 minutes later, the roadside assistance person called me to tell me that a new Jeep Cherokee was on its way, being towed from the Denver airport, and they would tow back the old one. (which after 6 inches of snow overnight must have been an interesting sight!) Ron said he had quite a conversation with a supervisor about my call to them the previous night. Anyway, it was very nice of him, as I was utterly exhausted ALREADY and had a huge day ahead.

Another dad on the team agreed to be my chauffeur for the weekend, to and from all our games. YAY!!!

Did I tell you that it was cold? And we got 6 inches the first night? Okay maybe not quite that much, but it was a lot. And it was cold. Our first morning there, the weather channel reported it was -18 with windchill. But the kids didn't seem to mind. They couldn't wait to get out in the snow. We promised after the games.

Won our first game 4-3. It wasn't pretty, but the kids got the job done. (Kyle had one goal, but it was waved off because his teammate was in the crease.)

Went back to the hotel. Kids played in the snow for a while. Went to the Denver U hockey game that night. It was a good game. The kids had fun. Got their picture up on the giant scoreboard. They liked that. Ate junk and ran around the rink. Walked in subzero temps to and from the arena. That was fun too. Would you believe that the lacrosse team was actually on the field practicing??? BRRRRRRR.

Sat, second game against the Denver University team (the 12-U team, not the college team we watched the night before!) we won 10-0. More like ourselves. Kyle took two penalties and got two assists. (if you get hockey - Kyle took one for slashing a kid that had him hooked around the neck and the other was for coming to the defense of a teammate that was being roughed up. The second one he lucked out on, cause technically they could have thrown him out of the tournament for being the "third man" in on a fight. Both were retaliation penalties, which is something you generally don't want to see!)

Kids went back to the hotel and played in the snow from about 1 until 6. They did come in to eat lunch at some point but went right back out. Brrrrr. We sat in the bar and waited for them.

Sun, we had a game at 8 am. Ugh. That means leaving for the rink at 6:30 because of the snow and roads. Brrrr. Very cold. Kids played a team from Aspen. Won 11-0. We really thought the Colorado teams would be tougher. Sun afternoon we had to play our first quarterfinal game. We played Ogden Utah. Rumour has it that they knew they couldn't beat us, so they decided to come out and try to impede us - physically. We had two kids have to be carried off the ice. It was awful. Their parents were rude and the kids showed it. They played one of the worst games of hockey I've ever seen. The refs let the game get completely out of control. It was HORRIBLE. I was so thankful that Kyle backed off a bit. We won 13-1, and it could have been double that, but our coach was hoping if he backed the kids off, they might not get hit. The theory didn't work and the tournament director requested the game be called with 6 minutes left - which the refs chose not to do. I'm very thankful we got out of that game with all the kids intact and not seriously damaged. Oh yeah, one of their parents picked a fight with one of our dads, one of our moms and one of our coaches. Nice.

Monday brought sun!!!! And warmer temps!!!! And two more games. Our semifinal game was 7:15am against the first team we played, Littleton Red. The kids came in all fired up from the previous game against Ogden. We beat Littleton 6-0. Off to the finals!!! We barely had time to grab some breakfast and pack up our hotel room before heading back to the rink.

We played Glenwood for the title at 11:50am. It was a tough game. They were a very well disciplined team with great sportsmanship. It was nice to play that way after the previous day's game. First period, no score. Second period, we went up 2-0. The third period was tough. No score. But we held on and won. The kids truly earned it and deserved it.

You have to give our kids credit - 6 games over 4 days at 5000ft elevation, with all the late nights and playing in the snow, it's almost incredible they could put it all together and pull out a sweep. Impressive display scoring 47 goals and only giving up 4. We were very very proud of them!

Back to the hotel, finish up the packing and head to the airport. Got home at about midnight last night. Sigh. Tired. Feel like I've been run over by a truck.

Now this Saturday we head up to Flagstaff for two games, spend the night, and head home Sunday for a late afternoon game. Sigh. Welcome to travel hockey!!!!

PeeWee B Champs - Littleton

Kyle - snowboarding behind the hotel

#94 - Kyle after the goal!

Kyle at the DU Game