Thursday, January 14, 2016

Andorra Hoquei Gel

What a day :) for the most part I stayed in bed as I was having dizzy spells and I'm not sure if it's associated with the medication , the illness or the altitude but regardless rest is dearly needed to keep my shit together for my 1.5 hour ice time tonight . The Andorran Ice Hockey Federation is taking good care of me by picking me up and driving me back and the last thing I want is to get anyone sick . That is a concern for me and it should be for anyone else feeling sick at any time . 

David is the national team coach here and is picking me up at around 7 pm . As I said not much happened during the day aside from a little hike around the city which is nice but not really much to do aside from looking at mountains and visiting the leisure center called Prat del Roure which is a fantastic building that looks like it's a spaceship . 

Ok so back to the hockey :) we drive up the mountain to Canilo where the Palau de Gel is ( ice rink) and we have a quick coffee then head to the dressing room where my gear has been drying for the last 2 days . Love it when I can leave my gear at the rink :) nobody had even touched it and my gear is at a whole new level of super dry ! Too dry lol . All the guys that I met on Monday where there an even federation president Andru was there to test my skills :) they don't see too many goalies here and in fact they never have 2 goalies out for the same skate so everyone was pretty excited . The first half hour was drills .... I hate practise and at this altitude it was like suicide , I was really dizzy ! Gagging and gasping for water while I stopped most of the shots in the first but then I became a sieve but didn't want to disappoint so I carried on and didn't abandon my goal . Yeah a bit stubborn and I'm sure everyone noticed my lack of physicality towards the end but thankfully the last drill was just skaters taking slap shots from just inside the blue line ... I regained my composure and stopped everything . There were a few youngsters with good shots that seemed a bit flustered knowing that they couldn't cash in on me . The level was not bad at all and I took notice to a female skater that had really good skills but had the tendency to sky shots at my head hahaha ... When she took her last slapshot I took position with my glove in the air above my head , she stopped thinking I needed a time out then realized I was playing with her , she then put another at my head and we both laughed :) everyone here had a great time during the practise ... Then the game kicked in . 

I had the honour of competing in their Tawa Cup which breaks down to individual points as teams are randomly picked from the skaters that participate and at the end of the season the skater with most points wins the trophy :) pretty cool thing to do as they don't really have enough skaters to have teams here . When the game started Andru had a glorious opportunity on me but I stopped him with a nice blocker save :) the game is 2 periods at 23 minutes each . Every time I had to make a move I got dizzy and shook it off so really I don't know how I made it through it all but I did and j made some nice saves on the way to earn a shutout . So for the win I get 7 points and the shutout is another 3 .... Doubt I will win the cup but it is definitely something they will talk about here for a bit at least lol . The shutout felt good but something inside me tells me I should have let a couple guys score , I guess it's my competitive side that wanted the shutout even though my conscience said otherwise .... 

We got some group photos and as I skated off the ice I gave the federation my goalie sticks to use in the future and no word of a lie they were glowing with happiness over this gesture which is not much for me as Oxelo Hockey sends me sticks annually through Hockey Community as what I call a sponsorship . I just wanna help make it easier everywhere for kids too play the game I love so dearly and if someone gets to use them then I have done good . So thank you Hockey Community and thank you Oxelo Hockey for helping me help other countries towards the mutual goal we all seek together and that is to make ice hockey more global ! 

We went up to the bar after and I chugged a few pints as the federation asked me to autograph the sticks I donated ... Yeah it's cool being asked for my John Hancock ! As your average guy it's totally an honour being asked for such things ;) I wish I had everyone on Facebook so I could remember names but there was one fellow that is a pilot and I'm sorry I forgot your name but I wanted to thank you again for buying my beers for me ! After the match we all bid each other adieu then David drove us back to our hotel in Andorra la Vella ... I was a bit sad saying bye but as The Travelling Goalie I must move on but as a human I will never get over the emotions of saying bye to new found friends :( I wish the Andorra Hoquei Gel the best in times to come and hope to meet you all again . Thank you ! 

I think Iron Man is your next opponent :) 

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