Wednesday night saw coaches, players and various dignitaries converge on the Arch in St. Louis for a pre-tournament reception. There were lots of speakers, including broadcasters Gary Thorne and Barry Melrose, as well as St. Louis Blues General Manager and ex-goalie John Davidson. All four coaches also had brief comments.
The players were all business. They were happy to sign autographs, especially for the many kids in attendance, but there was no joking around. There was a five minute video that featured highlights from this past season for all four teams, and I was watching the player’s reactions, especially when it was themselves on the screen, scoring an overtime game winner or making a big save. Nobody cracked a smile.
After that, the USCHO crowd attended a media reception at a downtown establishment. It was great to see familiar faces and talk in person to people I correspond with via IM and email the rest of the year. Unlike the players, we were able to unwind a bit.
Thanks to Skip Strandberg for his picture of some of the kids in attendance, resplendent in their t-shirts adorned with player autographs.