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Polar Bears Ringette Tour 2008

The 2008 tour included the following athletes:

Player Name
2007/8 team location
Maddy Orchard
Calgary, AB
Heather Coles
Charlottetown, PEI
Heather Statham
Nepean, ON
Alana Hodgert
Exeter, ON
Jodie Gordon
Calgary, AB
Kristy Oram
Calgary, AB
Sara Armstrong
Elora, ON
Jessica Jones
Dorchester, ON
Sloane Pukarowski
Elora, ON
Katrina Smid
Calgary, AB
Becky Branton
Elora, ON
Maren Troitsky
Calgary, AB
Chantal Chown
Calgary, AB
Sarah Byers
Richmond Hill, ON
Jocelyn Stock
Calgary, AB
Alison Rockley
Calgary, AB
Brienne Patton
Edmonton, AB
Alysha Kulka
Calgary, AB
Kathleen Gilgan
Dartmouth, NS
Hadyn Van Loy
Dorchester, ON
Nolwenn Lanne-Petit
Rennes, FRANCE
Helene Olliver
St. Brieuc, FRANCE

Coach – Team Git R Done    Chris Belan – Calgary, AB
Coach – Team Extreme      Jennifer Wakefield – Cambridge, ON
Manager – all Polar Bears       Tanis Humphrey – Stratford, ON

July 27

After an 8 hour flight (for the group that flew out of Toronto) we finally arrived in Frankfurt, Germany.  It was about 1:00 p.m. Frankfurt time and we were all a little tired and hungary but a little excited to begin our tour.  We had lunch in the airport while we waited for the Calgary crew to arrive at about 5:00 p.m....  All arrived we boarded the bus and started our 1 hour journey to our first destination Wurzbury, Germany.

Checked into the hotel we had a late dinner as a group.  Onion soup, pork schneitzel (spelling?) was fabulous we were all really full and tired and headed to bed.


July 28

Almost all of the group started day two with a walking tour of Rothenburg and a couple hours of free time to enjoy the shops.  One of the girls had picked up the wrong luggage in Frankfurt so Coach Jen and this player had to go back to the airport and find her bag and returned the incorrect bag  (I am sure that owner will be happy when they get their bag back)  and find hers!!!  Luck was on our side her bag was there and they headed back to Rothenburg  to enjoy an hour of free time shopping with the rest of the  group.  That evening we enjoyed another great dinner  at the hotel and then went to bed to try and catch up on some lost sleep from travelling

Hayedn Alysha

July 29

We woke up early at 7:30 and had a traditional German style breakfast.  Following Radek (our tour guide) we walked through the streets up to the Wurzburg Residence.  It was real busy that day so we started off in the beautiful gardens taking a team picture and many others of the beautiful gardens and statues.  At 11:00 we were able to go on our guided tour in the Residence.  Our tour guide Peter showed us the rooms of the Residence and explained the signifance of the Palace was to show the power of the Prince Bishop.  We saw magnificent rooms of gold and mirrrs.  After the tour we walked back to the hotel and got on to the bus to make our way to a beautiful hill and our lunch destination.  We sat ourside and enjoyed the sunny weather eating tomatoe soup, salad, turkey, spetzel and desert (ice cream and berries)  It started to rain and luckly we were almost done eating so we made our way bak to the hotel for a bit of last minute shopping before we boarded the bus back to Frankfurt and our flight to Stockholm.  Due to an accident we got to the airport and had to rush (RUN) through the check in and to our gate catching our plane just in time.  The two hour flight to Stockholm weny by pretty quickly.  When we got to the airport we grabbed our luggage (finding we did not have one goalies equipment bag).  We found our tour guides had a quick bite to et at the airport and departed on the hour ride to our hotel room and headed to bed.

Kristy and Alana

July 30

Today was our first full day in Stockholm, Sweden.  We started the day early with a tasty buffet breakfast and then headed our on a tour of the city.  First stop was the Wasa Museum.  In this museum was a massive wood ship that sunk on its maiden voyage in the Baltic Sea.  In the 1960's is was brought back up from the sea bed and has a very interesting history and we learned many thing about the ship and it' history.  After a bus tour of the city we went over to City Hall and enjoyed a large buffet lunch.  We were all full and we set off for a few hour shopping spree in Old Stockholm.  No one came home empty handed.  We then headed off to the arena four our first two games.  Team Extreme came away with a win and Team Git R Done lost a hard fought battle comming back from behind by one goal. After the games both teams went back to the hotel for a quite night and get some sleep before the early morning practice the next day.

Chantal and Heather C.



July 31st
Early start and we're off to the arena for practice..."Our practice was good but the ice was so foggy we could barely see" writes Maren.  Coach Jenn and Coach Chris get our plays and stratagies organized, some skating drills and then we are off for some free time and of course SHOPPING!!  Another gorgeous day in Stockholm warm and sunny.  Next stop... ICE BAR! Very cool (haha) - drinks in ice glasses, team pictures and souvenirs of course... so worthwhile!  We leave the Ice Bar to thaw out and head to our cruise ship...Finland Bound!  Cruising to Finland..oh my well it was unforgettable..so many life lessons.
Kathleen and Maren

August 1st
Wake up in Turku and bus to Rauma where we have a walking tour of old Rauma...very interesting lace bobbin shops and all.  Quick naps and we are off to our much anticipated gamees against Rauma teams.  Team Extreme has a close first period and then pulls away in the second period winning 8 - 4.  Team Git R Done game went real well winning 10-1 over the Rauma teams.  All players received a bag containing Finland candy treats and brouchures from the Rauma players.  All players from the Polar Bears teams as well as some players and parents from the Rauma teams went to a quanit restaurant for dinner and we all then retuned to the hotel stuffed!!!
Kathleen and Maren 

August 2nd
Today started off later than planned with 2 rooms sleeping in (wake up calls girls!!!), however once that was settled and everyone aboard our new bus we heded to Turku.  Many slept on the way there while others played games.  Shortly after arrival we started our bus tour of Turku learning that when the tour guide says...left is 'drivers side' and the "Big" hill isn't really that big..lol.  We saw a beautiful  Old Cathedral and learned all the history that went with it.  Many photo's were taken of the amazing stain glass and stone work as well as the palace we drove by.  Upon finishing our tour we immediately had to head for the arena as not only were we behind do our sleeping beauties but he games time had been moved up one hour!  We ate another chiaotic meal at the cafe in the arena and headed off for teh ice.  Team Git R Done was victorious after 3 long 20 minute periods.  As was Team Extreme (now known as Black Attack)  After finishing the games each team ate an early dinner with the Finnish team they had just played against.  Although there was a large language gap for Team Extreme a few sparce conversations were made.  Then it was back on the bus to head to Helsinki.  Again many naps were had but there was a very intense game of President @ the front of the bus along with some I-Pod kareokee that may not have been appreciated by everyone at the back.  After luggage and equipment were unloaded it was time to have some fun.  A few parents and coaches joined the parents travelling from Fort McMurray (Polar Bears) headed out to enjoy the night life of Helsinki.  Many of the players headed down to the hotel restaurant to enjoy some ice cream sundes Hmm!! So Good!!!. A few girls also made a new frind with a youngFinnish hockey playyer who was headed to Tez=xas to play in the USHL.  Who knows maybe one day we'll have met (and have a picture with) some famus NHL hockey player???  The evenng ended with hanging out in rooms laughing and joking together.  With Smid feeling better now and Jess to add to the jokes the twins (as we now call them) are always keeping the rest of us laughing.  What's it for today.  We will see what happens tomorrow.

August 3rd

Today was a really good day.  Team Git R Done had an intense game against one of the Turku teams.  The score ended up being 8 - 5 for us!.  After we headed up to the cafeteria and ate lunch with the Turku team.  It was really fun and the food was good.  We then headed back to the hotel in Helsinki and most of us slept the whole way.  When we arrived at the hotel we had a nice dinner.  The food was super good but it was pretty expensive.  After dinner we put our bathing on and headed for the pool.  Since there was no hot tub, we all just chilled in the sauna and then jumped in the freezing pool.  After this we were super tired and went to bed.


August 3rd

On Sunday, August 3rd, 2008 on the Canadian Polar Bear Ringette European Tour we started our day with an early breakfast at 8:00AM consisting of cereals (cornflakes and granola) plain and fruit flavoured yogurt, croissants, white and brown bread in loafs and in pre-cut slices, a variety of meat and cheeses, tomatoes, cucumbers, decadent chocolate cakes, eggs and orange and apple juices. There were hardly any line ups for the food and there was plenty of seating.

After completing our morning activities in our rooms, we climbed onto our faithful tour bus at 9:30am who would take us downtown to the capital of Finland, Helsinki for a tour of local monuments which incorporate the rich history of Finnish culture and origins. It was at this time that our female tour guide joined us. Our first stop was at the Senate Square where we took photos of the open area. The square encompassed a large church dressed in white and lined with gold with arches which stood at the top of a daunting staircase, which, at the top, withheld a spectacular view of the square and its surrounding buildings. This is the tallest building in Helsinki. It was no surprise that with a view such as this a group photo was taken. We raced up the stairs as fast as we could which proved to be more difficult in reality. After that our bus tour around Helsinki began. Amongst the sites we took in was another church that displayed a unique composure. Referred to as the "Rock Church", both exterior and interior mirrored its name as it is constructed from a large rock formation. In the interior of the building there was a large glass panel on the ceiling, filling the large area with light. Next stop was to a scenic park housing two artistic creations, one of an assortment of large pipes which face straight up, and the other there stood a detailed monument of the head of a famous Finnish composer who wrote the words to the national anthem of Finland. The rest of the tour consisted of a tour of the main town and its' Italian style architecture. The tour guide notified us that most stores are usually closed on Sunday, however due to this time of month being the time where many tourists flock to Finland, most were open. This included a large marketplace selling fresh produce and also a flea market. By this time hunger kept its striking fist being 12:00pm and the tour reached its conclusion. Our tour guide recommended a reasonably priced and delicious pizza buffet located downtown to fill our longing stomachs. At the buffet where many different freshly made pizzas, salads and other Italian food such as lasagna and fresh breads, various hot drinks including coffee and hot chocolate. We had from 12:00pm to 1:30pm to have our fill and to shop in the local trendy shopping area before we got back on the bus and then back to the hotel. At the hotel we had the chance to rest for 1 hour and 45 minutes – most people decided to sleep in their beds.

 At 3:45pm we departed from the hotel to the arena; arriving at the arena at 4:15pm. Both Polar Bear teams, both playing a little bit later than when we arrived, watched the other Canadian Team, Fort McMurray. The "Geterdone" team, playing first at 5:15pm won their game 5 to 0 against the Finnish team Tuusuka C which ended at 6:45pm. Following that game the other Polar Bear team, "Team Extreme" played the other Finnish team at 6:45pm, Tuusuka B and won 4-3.  The game ended at 8:15pm. One player on "Team Extreme" tripped during the game over an opponent's stick and landed on her head. An ambulance was called and she stayed overnight at the local hospital. Although we were all worried for her, her condition was not too serious and she only had to miss one day of the tournament. After this game, both Canadian Polar Bear teams and the two Tuusuka teams had dinner together at around 8:30pm.

 The dinner was a buffet which included a salad with two choices of dressing, a sort of cranberry juice and two different casseroles (one salmon and one chicken). There was no dessert however the eatery had a snack bar which had Skor cakes that a couple of girls purchased. After the dinner many players and parents decided to go to the nearby sauna which was optional with the dinner. Some of the girls decided to go into the lake located right beside the sauna. The bus left at 9:30pm to take the players back to the hotel to prepare for the next day's activities and games.



Aug 4, 2008

7:30 a.m. – Wake-up call to all of our rooms. Everyone got up, had our last awesome Finnish breakfast, and packed our bags for Prague.

9:30 a.m. – We checked out of the hotel and boarded the bus.  We headed downtown Helsinki for our final tour in Finland.

10:30 a.m. – The last tour was of the sea fortress of Suomenlinna, founded on a group of islands off Helsinki.  A small ferry took us across the choppy waters of the Baltic Sea to the fortress.  The ride was only 20 minutes, but due to the rainy and windy weather, some girls felt a little queasy on the boat.  We had a guided tour of the island for about two hours, which flew by so fast even though it was a little cold!  We learned all about the Finnish/Swedish history of the island and saw many of the island’s sites:  the Bastions, the gravesite of its founder, the love pond, the tunnels and the Russian guns.   The island was beautiful and the perfect ending to our tour of Finland. 

1:00-3:00 p.m. – Once everyone was off the boat we had free time on our own downtown Helsinki.  Some people chose to browse the main market or the smaller flea market, while others hit the bigger clothing stores. Either way, everyone managed to add a couple of more items to their suitcases!

3:00 p.m. – The group met up again and the bus headed for the airport. We got there with plenty of time to check in (unlike our last flight) and once through security did a bit more shopping in the airport stores. Chocolate and licorice were the most popular purchases, and the girls played cards while we waited for our flight.

7:00-9:15 p.m. – The flight was good.  We arrived in Prague at 8:15 p.m. local time, a little tired and hungry, but really excited to be in the Czech Republic!

9:30 – 10:30 p.m. – Before checking in at our hotel we stopped at a restaurant for dinner.  We had salad, pork with mushroom gravy and fries, followed by an amazing apple crepe dessert.  Now really tired, we finally headed to the hotel

11:30 p.m. - The day was almost over.  It was almost 1 a.m. Finnish time and everyone was very ready to call it a night.  The tournament would finally begin tomorrow, and it would be another exciting day on the Polar Bear tour!

Jenn Gaudet

Aug. 4, 2008

The day started with overcast skies and light drizzle.  Our illustrious group, led by Lauri and Radek, went to the Sea Fortress in the Helsinki harbor. This is another of the world heritage sites we have seen on our tour. We followed the tour with a walk through the food market and some downtown retail therapy.
Mid afternoon we boarded our bus for the airport and caught a flight to Prague for the “BIG TOURNAMENT”.  When we arrived in Prague, the tension and anticipation for the tournament was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. Throughout the day we were entertained by Jen Wakefield, referring to herself in the third person and realized Tanis struggled converting hours into minutes.

                                                                           Chris Belan


Aug. 5, 2008

We all woke up early and went to the arena. Team Extreme had two games vs. Sollentuna and Fort McMurray and won them both. Team Git R Done had a training session with the Slovakia Select team, and then played against them afterwards, and won as well. We got lunch at Tesco and went on a tour of the Prague castle and old town. There was a great view of  Prague and we saw the Charles Bridge, which was crowded with people. We walked around downtown and saw cool places, like the Astronomical clock and Paris Street, which is the most expensive street for shopping in Prague. We walked to a restaurant downtown and had a 3-course dinner and then got picked up by the bus and drove back to the hotel. We were all tired and wanted a good sleep, so we just hung out at the hotel until we went to bed.

                                                             By Sara Armstrong & Alison Rockley


Aug. 6, 2008

Another day in Praha “aka Prague.” Today’s agenda started with another 6:00 a.m. start or 7:00, depending on your game time.  Team Git R Done had the early one, but they recruited help to defeat the Fort McMurray team.  Their weapon of choice was Heather Statham #5, and of course Helene from France. The final score was 13-2, so mentioning who scored would take awhile. Unfortunately Katrina hurt her knee after a bad fall, but it was worth the win. Next team on the ice was Team Extreme, played the Ulriksdal one of the Swedish teams, a couple recovering injuries but managed a nice win over them ending the score 8 to 5. Team Git R Done was back on the ice playing Hyvinkaa from Finland. Even with a rowdy coach they couldn’t keep up with them ending the game 9-4 in favor of Canada (of course). Lunch was on everyone’s own. I chose a delicious lasagna and salad combo while others had pizza or subs.

After the ringette was finished it was back off to touring. This day event was seeing Terezin a Concentration Camp in World War 2. It was interesting to see first hand the quarters for prisoners and made all we learned about seem that much more realistic. Unfortunately due to delays departing, we rushed through the tour to have time to come back to the hotel before our dinner party that night. After getting all dolled up, we headed to hotel Praha for the Challenge Cup dinner and dance party. The delicious pork, fish and ice cream were complemented by the dance. There were some boys hockey teams there…however, they were 11, therefore we stuck with each other to tear up the dance floor.  When the twist came on however the parents were right up there with us. No one can twist like Bri’s Mom (ha-ha). After all the dancing a beautiful fireworks presentation began on the patio. The evening was very well done and all of us have sweet memories to go with it. There are tons of pictures of the night, so you can see the day for yourself.

                                                                                    Happy to report
                                                                                    Heather Statham #5



Aug. 7, 2008

We had a full day today. Team “Git R Done” started their morning with a wake-up call at 7:15 a.m. and headed for the hotel buffet. Meanwhile “Team Extreme” had started their morning bright and early at 6:15 a.m. Shortly after Team Extreme had finished their breakfast of bread, cereal, yogurt and much more, they headed off to the arena to play Hyvinkaa, Finland. The match ended with Canada winning with a score of 11 to 5 .During that match the other Canadian team Git R Done was busy having a training session with the Slovakian team. The session ended up with a shoot out and the winners were rewarded with sticks given from the fellow players of Git R Done to the Slovakians, this was very exciting and they appreciated their newly earned possessions thoroughly. Team Extreme went over to the mall to get a bite to eat and start their day of shopping. At this time, team Git R Done was playing team Sollentuna from Sweden. The game ended with a score of 9 to 1 for Canada. When all the hard work was done, the girls thought they should treat themselves to a day of shopping.  Off to the Asian Market they went. Many people bargained for cheap goods and found several items for great prices (depending on how well you bargained). Anyone who hadn’t already got their fill of shopping at the market sure did downtown Prague! The girls had 2 hours at the market and 2 hours downtown. After a long day of sweat, the hungry shoppers went to a small restaurant downtown to eat a delicately prepared meal. The meal consisted of delicious pork, potatoes and salad. The day ended by going back to the hotel and spending a good amount of time sleeping

                                                                                    By Jocelyn Stock
                                                                                    Nolwenn Lanne-Petit 


Aug. 8, 2008

Git R Done who had the early morning 6:00 o’clock wake-up. This morning we dragged ourselves out of bed and went upstairs for a buffet style breakfast….again. I think a lot of girls are missing regular breakfasts from home. It just seems so repetitive. Team Extreme got the luxury of an extra hour sleep-in before they departed for the arena for a training session with the Slovakian team. After the training session, Team Extreme defeated their students with a 13-2 victory. The Slovakian coach was appreciative of Becky, who accidentally scored on Bri, and helped them with their second goal of the game. Team Git R Done also came out on top against Ulriksdal with a score of 11 to 3. After getting changed and cleaned up, both teams climbed onto the bus for an hour ride to the Crystal factory. We learned that the glass gets heated to 1450 degrees and the men who do the glass blowing work in sandals and shorts, YIKES! There are 200 workers in the factory who make roughly 900 euros a month for pay. The workers either work in the melting or cutting department. While cutting, one person has a designated sequence of lines they cut. We later learned that while on shift, the workers are allowed to drink and smoke. The company pays for the alcohol and safety equipment, but I’m sure they take advantage of the alcohol, more so than safety equipment. Another important note of the day is that the Olympics began today. We watched the opening ceremonies in the Crystal Shop. After returning to the main city, we shopped for a little while before boarding a sight-seeing boat that would take us down the river. The Slovakian team joined us for dinner on the boat as we rocked out to a scratched CD of Brittney Spears….thought we could get away from that one, but the captain insisted. We took a few more pictures as we floated under monuments and statues before returning to the hotel to pack our bags and prepare a 6 hour drive to Wurzburg, which we would endure the next day.
                                                                                    Happy to report
                                                                                    Jessica & K Smid


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