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U14 NA Stars Prepare for 1st Game in Prague

Day 4 – April 20, 2011

The North American Stars practiced at the Letnany rink in Prague, Czech Republic on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.  Because of traffic delays in the six hour bus journey from Munich to Prague, the team’s one hour practice session had to be cut to only one-half hour.  While some thought the practice would be transformed into more of a pre-game skate, that was certainly not the case.  Coach Bernie Cassells held a spirited session that challenged the girls’ skating, stick-handling, passing and shooting skills.  The team responded.  “They were flying,”  said Cassells.  The skate was not the only preparation that Cassells had in mind.  He took advantage of “bus-time” to continue his one -on-one sessions with his players.  He also conducted a chalk talk session that included, for example, specific face-off schemes.  The lessons appeared to have sunk in.  “It was helpful to know where we should be,” said Tesa Mackey of Guilford, Connecticut.  “We know his system now,” added Tess Drauschak who hails from Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

The team’s first game as well as opening ceremonies will occur on Thursday, April 21, 2011.

Life on the Road.    More bus time meant more quality together time for the “team from everywhere.”  The girls continued to work on their card game skills (playing countless numbers of games of Kemps) interspersed by random singing (such as “Time of My Life”).  After practice, the team took advantage of the sunny and pleasant springtime weather by playing ball in the rink parking lot.  A number of the girls took advantage of the multi-lingual/cultural nature of the team by working on French phrases with Valerie Rodier of St-Majorique, Quebec and Gabrielle Poirier of Sherbrooke, Quebec.  A number of girls also enjoyed the hotel pool before heading to a team dinner that gave the team a taste of Czech cuisine.  Parents continue to be impressed with the team chemistry both on and off the ice.

Other Notes.  Valerie Rodier is travelling with her grandparents.  Her grandfather just  happens to be the mayor of St-Majorique.  Gabrielle Poirier sat out the practice after hitting her head during Monday’s game but she is expected to play in the tournament’s first game.


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