Kent Valley's Lew Sellers, Director of Communications, will be serving as an Off-Ice Official for the Hockey Venue at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., Canada from February 10th through February 28th. Follow Lew's Winter Olympic adventure on this web page.
Lew is part of "The Seattle Four," crew of Seattle Thunderbirds Off-Ice Officials serving at the 2010 Winter Olympics. The other members of the crew are; Jay Carbon, Betty Petrullo and Ed Petrullo.
1 March, 2010 – 8:00am
My 2010 Olympic Adventure is over.I’m home after 18 days in Vancouver, Canada, for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.Wow!What an adventure.
Granddaughter Ashley Haywood (age 10) asked; “Which of the hockey games you worked was your favorite?”I had to think long and hard about that.Having worked 16 Women’s and Men’s Olympic games over the past 18 days, I had a lot of games from which to choose.My first game was exciting simply because it was my first game of the 2010 Winter Olympics.The last game for just the opposite reason; it was likely my last Olympic game ever.But, after a few seconds I said; “My favorite game was the USA vs. Finland game at University of British Columbia (UBC) on February 18th.USA won that game by a score of 6 to 0.It was a good solid game by both teams, and a lot closer than the score would indicate.USA was strong and fast but Finland never gave up.They played hard right down to the final buzzer.
Ashley then asked; “Who was your favorite hockey player at the Olympics?”Again, that would have to be another tough choice with all the great NHL players spread across almost all of the men’s teams.Then you have to consider the women’s teams and the Canadian favorite Hayley Wickenheiser, captain of Team Canada, who got a standing ovation every time her name was announced.Maybe it would be Team Canada’s goalie, Roberto Luongo.Every time Luongo made a save the crowd crooned “Luuuuuuu.”Or, how about Team USA’s goalie, Ryan Miller, the MVP of Olympic Hockey?But, in the end, my choice was easy.My favorite hockey player of the 2010 Winter Olympics was Team USA’s diminutive Erika Lawler, just 5’0” and 130 lbs, the smallest hockey player in the Olympics, faster than a speeding bullet and one of the hardest working players on Team USA.She was awesome!At times, she reminded me of a jet plane as she rushed down the ice with her long blond hair flowing out from under the back of her helmet like a jet’s exhaust contrail. And, her immaculate makeup lasted from the drop of the puck at the start of the game to the final buzzer at the end of the game without as much as an eyelash out of place.Now, that’s my kind of girl…Yup, Erika Lawler was my favorite hockey player of the Olympics.
My favorite Olympic moment was the performance of figure skater Joannie Rochette, who lost her mother early in the Olympics to a heart attack.It was remarkable that she was able to skate at all.Skating to Samson and Delilah, Rochette was met with roaring applause. She came out swinging with a strong triple/double/double combination. She struggled to land several jumps that followed, but still performed with the grace and elegance befitting a bronze medalist. At the close of her program, a clear-eyed Rochette blew a kiss to her father in the audience, one skyward to her mother, and then acknowledged the cheers from her home crowd. I believe the whole world was praying that she would be able to skate a clean performance.We held our breaths on each jump.We willed a medal for her and she got it.We cheered and cried at the finish.
The only thing that comes close to matching Rochette’s courageous Olympic Bronze Medal performance was her performance during the Exhibition Gala on February 27th.I watched her performance on a big screen TV in a restaurant in Langley, B.C. during dinner.She skated to “Vole” by Celine Dion.It was a flawless performance, elegant and emotional.I had tears in my eyes throughout.
So, this is the final chapter of “Lew’s 2010 Winter Olympics Adventure.”But, I can’t end it without thanking the people who made this adventure possible.
Cindy Secord and Ross Holkestad opened their lovely home to “The Seattle Four,” adopted us as family and took care of us for 18 days.Even their cats, Bubbles and Whiskers, and their dog Kahlua (aka Kahlui-lui) accepted us as family members.The Holkestad daughters Nicole and Kelsey entertained us, prepared meals for us and shared in our Olympic adventure.I’m not sure who made the weekly loaves of banana bread and endless batches of cookies, but they were appreciated.Ross made a mean batch of fried chicken for us one night.We snacked on scrumptious cold chicken for several days.Thank you all for everything.
Ed and Betty Petrullo, and Jay Carbon were the other three members of “The Seattle Four.”Ed’s driving to and from UBC and SkyTrain was always exciting and entertaining.Betty’s cooking was amazing and greatly appreciated.She always had in-between-meal fruit snacks for us to munch on.Jay Carbon transported me to and from Vancouver and hauled all four of us on several occasions to UBC and SkyTrain.They are like brothers and sisters to me.
Brenda Mason served as Official Scorekeeper for six Seattle Thunderbird games during our absence.Paul Dunn was On-Line Scorekeeper for those games and Bob Sellers worked as a spotter for the six games we missed.Buck Haywood took on additional responsibilities during the six games and Tom Gorton, our supervisor, tolerated our absence from the Seattle Thunderbird crew.Thank you all for doing your part to make our adventure possible.
My weekly newsletter for Kent Valley Hockey Association was suspended for three weeks while I attended the Olympics.Nobody complained.Kind of makes you wonder if anyone ever read those weekly dissertations.Did they know I was gone?
Finally, thanks to my wife Karen for allowing me to run off to another country for 18 days of Olympic Hockey while she was left behind.Thanks to sister-in-law Pam for helping entertain Karen and paint our kitchen while I was gone.Our cat Hot Dog missed me.I don’t dare tell him I had the pleasant and adoring company of Bubbles, Whiskers and Kahlui-lui while I was gone.
Several people have asked me if I would do it again.The answer comes quickly and enthusiastically; you bet!Now, where is Sochi?
27 February, 2010 – 8:00am
I’ve now had two consecutive full nights of sleep and I’m feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to go.Ed Petrullo is working the Men’s Bronze Medal Game early this evening at CHP.Jay Carbon, will work the Men’s Gold Medal Game on Sunday.Following that, we’ll pack our bags and head for home. Sadly, our Olympic adventure is almost at an end.
Women’s Bronze Medal Game
Thursday was my last Olympic game, the Women’s Bronze Medal Game between Sweden and Finland.My 15-game partner Cary Eggertson was unable to work the Bronze Medal Game because of a work conflict.Sandra Lowe was assigned to work with me.Sandra is a local ice hockey official, just one International Ice Hockey Federation certification level short of being qualified to serve as an On-Ice Official for these Olympic Games.I met Sandra back in August during our training and was initially assigned to work with her on Crew 2.However, I was moved to Crew 1 so I could work the same schedule as Ed, Betty and Jay, on Crew 1 and make commuting to and from the games less complicated than if we were on different crews.
Sandra Lowe and I tracked time-on-ice for Sweden.I’m not sure why, but I’m a fan of Team Sweden.Maybe it’s their yellow and blue jerseys. A woman named Janice, a volunteer from Great Britain, served as our listener for the game.Janice wears the headset during the game and listens for command and control to call us if there is an issue with time-on-ice.It is distracting for us to wear the headset during the game.I want to be a “listener” at the next Olympic Games, it’s a sweet job.You watch the game from one of the best seats in the house and listen for someone in command and control to call for “time-on-ice.”Over the 15 games I worked, command and control never called our listener.
Sweden seemed sluggish from the get go.They didn’t look like they were into winning bronze.The first period was pretty even with two Finland penalties and one Sweden penalty and no scoring by either team.Finland scored two goals in the second period and Sweden scored one.The second period ended with Finland up by one goal.
The Sweden Women played with more intensity in the third period.They were finally skating like they wanted to win.Sweden tied the game up at 5:09 into the third period and held Finland scoreless to the end of the third period.The game went to overtime.
The overtime period lasted 2 minutes and 33 seconds as Finland scored the winning goal to win the Olympic Bronze Medal.I was too busy closing out paperwork and waiting for the radio call from command and control telling us to shut down the timing and scoring computers, to enjoy the Finland celebration on the ice.The few glimpses I got were memorable.The entire team joined hands and skated to one end of the ice, where there was a large group of Fins, and sang the Finland National Anthem.It was a very impressive display of joy and patriotism.It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.The Swedes on the other hand departed the ice following the traditional handshake, swinging and breaking their sticks against the boards on the way out.
Friday was a fun day, just being Olympic tourists.Ed and Betty Petrullo, and I drove to the Metrotown SkyTrain Station, strolled around the Metrotown Mall and then rode the SkyTrain into Vancouver to Waterfront Station.We walked several blocks through crowded streets to the location of the Olympic Caldron. The Olympic flame burned brightly from four points and the center of the structure.It was gorgeous even on this grey, gloomy and rainy day.The caldron is fenced off and can only be viewed from behind a fence about a 75 or 80 feet from its base.We waited our turn for a moment at the fence to take some photos.
Actually, there was a ramp just to the west of the caldron, kind of a bridge, where you could get an unobstructed view of the Olympic Caldron from above.However, the lineup of people was much longer than we were willing to wait.
We headed back to Waterfront SkyTrain.Along the way we encountered Chris Daniel, KING TV, and his cameraman.We thanked Chris again for capturing our Olympic Adventure on video for all our friends back home.Ed said to Chris; “You made me famous!”
We arrived back at Metrotown on SkyTrain, did some shopping in Metrotown Mall, jumped in the car and headed for The Bay and Zellers in Langley, B.C.We heard from someone downtown that The Bay and Zellers in Langley still had a large supply of Olympic souvenirs.We got lost a couple of times in route to Langley and Betty forced us to stop and ask for directions.It was difficult for Ed and I to admit we were lost, but we relented and got a helpful Canadian to point us in the right direction.We weren’t really lost, just disoriented…
Tomorrow, Saturday, is Ed’s final game.He’ll leave for SkyTrain around 4:00pm for the 7:00pm game.Betty, Jay and I will watch the game on the big screen TV. Jay still has the Gold Medal Game to work on Sunday, but I believe I’m going to hop a ride home with Ed and Betty mid-day Sunday.I’ll watch the final game at home.
25 February, 2010 – 8:00am
It is Thursday, February 25th, 2010.We had just one game yesterday, Wednesday, the 9:00pm quarter final Men’s game between Sweden and Slovakia at Canada Hockey Place (CHP.)Our check-in time was 6:45pm.I rode SkyTrain into Vancouver early in the day to meet daughter Tammy, her husband Buck, and their neighbors Kristen and Marc.They had driven up to Vancouver from Gig Harbor for the day.We met at the Saskatchewan Pavilion for a quick snack and then walked around downtown enjoying all the Olympic related activities and exhibits.We walked along the seawall taking pictures of the Inukshuk along the shoreline and the Athletes Olympic Village across the bay.Tammy has posted a number of these photos on her Facebook page; Search for Tammy Haywood to find her page.
The weather was cool with just a light drizzle now and then, no heavy rain.We walked from the seawall toward city centre and Yale Town.At Yale Town we found the streets full of people and lots of street vendors.We shopped and bought some Olympic souvenirs.Around 2:00pm we strolled into The HUB Bar & Grille, found an empty table and ordered a pizza and some suds.We watched the final period of the USA/Finland quarter final game on one of the big screens over the bar.Team USA defeated Finland 2 to 0.As we left the bar we noticed a long line of people at the door waiting for seats inside The Hub. The Canada vs. Russia quarter final game was due to begin in 90 minutes and people were already lining up to make sure they got a seat inside The Hub.Canadians love their hockey.
We headed uptown to the Bay store.The Bay and Zellers have exclusive rights to sell Olympics clothing and other branded souvenirs.One-half of the bottom floor of the store was dedicated just for the sale of Olympic merchandise.The Bay refers to the area as their Olympic Superstore. The merchandise area was fenced off with shoppers channeled into long lines to one entry point.I also noticed a very long line of people waiting in a cashier’s line.We viewed the area from outside the fence and chose not to join the madness.
By the time we exited The Bay, the sidewalks were a sea of red and white as Canadians made their way through the streets of downtown Vancouver in the direction of Canada Hockey Place to see the Canada/Russia quarter final game.We joined the throngs of people and headed toward Terry Fox Plaza to see if we could pick up some tickets for the medal ceremony at BC Place later in the evening.A blue coat volunteer at Terry Fox Plaza directed us to a ticket office about four blocks away near the south entrance to BC Place.He said we could buy tickets there for the evening ceremony and the cost was $22 a seat.Wrong!They were sold out.While the five of us were standing there trying to figure out how to get tickets, a woman came up and asked if we needed tickets.We told her we did.She gave Tammy two tickets for free.She claimed she had won five tickets but could only use three of them.So, Tammy took the tickets and thanked the woman.Now, we needed only two more tickets.
We returned to Terry Fox Plaza and informed the blue coat volunteer that the medal ceremony was sold out.A few minutes later we heard him again directing people down the street to purchase tickets.We approached a ticket scalper on the corner and asked if he had two tickets for the medal ceremony.He said he did; “$185 each.”I laughed at him!The 6’ 8” young man was upset that I was laughing at him.I quit laughing…I mean, he was at least 6’ 8” maybe even 6’ 9”.He looked like he was capable of causing major injuries with very little effort.
Shortly after our encounter with the giant ticket scalper another guy came up and asked if we needed tickets.He was willing to sell them for $80 each.Tammy offered him $30 and he said no, and started to walk away.Tammy asked him if he’d take $35.He said $60.Tammy said she could only go $40.Again, he turned and walked away, got about 10 steps, turned around and said; “Okay $40, but your robbing me!”
I left Tammy, Buck, Kristen and Marc at the entrance to BC Place at around 5:30pm with still an hour and 15 minutes to go before I could enter CHP for check-in.I walked toward the check-in security gate trying to figure out how I could kill 75 minutes.I wandered through the Plaza of Nations and past the Edgewater Casino.Hey, a casino.Why not?
I found a slot machine on the end of a row where I could play the slot machine and watch the hockey game on the TV over the bar.I put a $20 bill into the machine.After 45 minutes of playing the slot machine the cash out meter was up to just over $100.I cashed out and headed for CHP check-in with a net of $80 in my pocket.
Wednesday night’s game was a quarter final men’s game between Sweden and Slovakia.My partner and I tracked Sweden for time-on-ice.It was an exciting game.I expected Sweden to win, but that’s not how it turned out.This game was also the last of the 15 games I had scheduled for the Olympics.I still have the bronze medal game on Thursday, an extra game added to my schedule on Tuesday.
The first period was scoreless.Sweden took three penalties in the first to Slovakia’s one. It was as if Sweden was trying to give the game away.
Slovakia scored the first goal of the game at 8:11 of the second period.They scored again just 37 seconds later to take a 2-0 lead.Sweden finally got their first goal of the game at 13:49 of the second period.Amazingly, they scored their second goal just 37 seconds later at 14:26.How in the world do these two teams go almost a period and a half without scoring?Then, when they do score, they score their first and second goal 37 seconds apart?Amazing!Slovakia scored a go-ahead goal, a power play goal, at 19:12 of the second period.
The third period was a frantic period of play for both teams.Slovakia worked hard to preserve their one-goal lead and Sweden worked to overcome it.However, Slovakia was not to be denied.They scored at their final goal of the game at 9:01 of the final period to take a two goal lead.The clock ticked off 38 seconds and Sweden cut the margin to one goal when they scored their final goal of the game.Slovakia won the game 4 to 3 and will move on to the semi-final game against Canada.
Tomorrow is the Women’s Bronze Medal Game, Finland vs. Sweden.My monies on Sweden, my seat is in the timing and scoring gondola at the 500 level, high above the ice.
23 February, 2010 – 11:00pm
It is Tuesday February 23rd.We had only one game today, a men’s game, Czech Republic vs. Latvia, loser out.The game was played at the University of British Columbia (UBC).This was our last scheduled game at UBC.We have one more scheduled game at Canada Hockey Place tomorrow evening, Wednesday February 24th.We will work the men’s game, Sweden vs. Slovakia, loser out.
Czech Republic vs. Latvia
The ice arena at UBC was packed tonight.It was anyone’s game; both teams were pretty much equally matched.The Czech’s scored first at 5:52 of the 1st period.They scored again at 11:06.At that point I worried that it was going to be a blow out. The second period was scoreless.The Latvians thought they had a goal at 4:48 of the second period but, following the longest video replay review of these Olympic Games, it turned out to be a skate save by the Czech goalie.
Latvia made it a game with a goal at 12:02 of the third period.They tied it up 4 minutes and 17 seconds later.The crowd, overwhelmingly in support of the come-from-behind Latvian hockey team, went wild on the tying goal.We could hardly hear the player numbers being called out for plus/minus scoring.The crowd remained loud for the balance of regulation play that ended in a 2 to 2 tie.
The ten minute overtime was exciting with each team getting several quality attempts at goals.The fans were hoping for a Latvian win following their third period comeback.However, the game ended on a Czech Republic goal at 5:10 of the overtime period.The Latvian players will now have an opportunity to enjoy the nightlife of Vancouver.Their 2010 Olympic Games adventure is over.The Czechs will move on to play Finland at CHP Wednesday evening at 7:00pm.
Gold Medal Game for Only One of the Seattle Four
Over decades of watching athletes compete for Olympic medals I’ve never quite understood the disappointment some athletes feel over wining a bronze medal.After all, when you think of all the competitors that go home from the Olympics empty-handed, why wouldn’t an athlete be pleased with bronze?Well, I believe I now understand how the bronze medal winners must feel.
From day one of our Olympic adventure we honed our skills, worked hard, and did our best in hopes of being selected for either the Men’s Gold Medal Game or the Women’s Gold Medal Game.The typical Timing and Scoring crew consists of 25 people.We have 3 crews for a total of 75 people.Obviously, some crew members were going to be disappointed.
We, The Seattle Four, with a background limited to the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the Goodwill Games of 1980, are competing for a spot on a Gold Medal crew against fellow crew members who have many years of NHL experience and some with prior Olympic experience.We knew our chances were slim, but we were hopeful.
Well, the e-mail came out last night during the middle of the second period of our game at CHP.Crew members started checking their e-mail on their cell phones and other devices frantically searching to see if they were on the list for Gold.At the second period break crew members clustered around anyone with a cell phone and looked over their shoulder to see if they could spot their name on the Gold Medal Game list.One by one, they would break away from the group, some smiling and some frowning.I asked if my name was on the list for Gold and they said they didn’t see it.At the end of the game, there was more checking and more discussion.Many crew members were wondering how the selections were made.
In the end, we learned that Betty and Ed Petrullo, and I have the Women’s Bronze Medal Game.Ed Petrullo also has the Men’s Bronze Medal Game.The final member of The Seattle Four, Jay Carbon, struck gold.He will work the Men’s Gold Medal Game on the final day of the Olympics.It is a bitter-sweet honor for Jay.He’s excited and pleased to get the Gold, but he wanted us to be there with him.We are proud of Jay and wish him the best with his Gold Medal experience.Good on ya, Jay!You’re a Gold Medal guy!
So, here I am, on a virtual Olympic podium, with an imaginary bronze medal around my neck, and I’m feeling disappointment. I wanted Gold! I now have a better appreciation for the Olympic athlete standing on the real Olympic podium, with the bronze medal around his/her neck, trying hard to smile and convince everyone they are pleased with the bronze.
Well, I’m beginning to put it all into perspective.I’m imagining all the people that would love to be here in Vancouver to enjoy the Olympic spirit for just one day.I’ve been here for 13 days, experienced some of the color of the Olympics, and worked 14 games involving the best Women’s and Men’s hockey players in the world.I’m delighted to have one more scheduled game to work and then a final bronze medal game. I’m a very fortunate hockey fan… I’ll head for home on Monday with a big smile on my face and a bronze memory proudly imbedded in my brain.
Trying to look Olympic Our "Seattle Four" crew was interviewed by a reporter from KING TV Monday just outside Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver. We tried our best to look Olympic. KING TV will possibly air the story sometime Thursday morning. Su Ring, KING TV reporter, has been following our Olympic adventure since late last year.
Right is Lew Sellers, bottom from left to right, Betty Petrullo, Ed Petrullo and Jay Carbon.
22 February, 2010 – 11:00pm
It is Monday February 22nd.We enjoyed Sunday, our one day holiday, and our opportunity to recharge our batteries.We have just one week remaining in our 2010 Winter Olympics adventure.As of today, we’ve worked 13 ice hockey games and we have at least 2 more to go.Time flies when you’re having fun.We had two women’s games to work at CHP today, USA vs. Sweden and Canada vs. Finland.
We watched Sunday’s hockey games on the big screen in the home-theatre downstairs with guests of our host family.That is until midway through the third period of the USA-Canada game when USA went up 4 to 2.The Canadians in the room were getting restless and we thought it might be better for our wellbeing to evacuate to a safer location.I mean, we are guests in the house, but ice hockey is Canada’s national sport and it get can get quite emotional when Olympic Gold is on the line. We quietly excused ourselves and retreated to the TV upstairs in the living room to watch the balance of the game.It’s a good thing we left the room when we did.The empty net goal by team USA sent the Canadians over the edge.Someone suggested they put Team USA on a bus, send them home and close the border.The final score was USA 5 vs. Canada 3.
Russia defeated Czech Republic 4 to 2 and Sweden shutout Finland 3 to 0 in the other two Sunday men’s hockey games.It was a great day of hockey.
Women’s Hockey Final Set
Monday’s hockey games at Canada Hockey Place (CHP) firmed up the final for the women’s gold medal game.USA defeated Sweden 9 to 1 and Canada shutout Finland 5 to 0.Sweden and Finland will play for bronze on Thursday at 11:00am.USA and Canada will play for Gold at 3:30pm.Both games will be played in CHP.
I can’t begin to predict an outcome.I’m hoping USA wins, and they certainly looked good enough today to beat Canada.However, Canada also looked pretty strong. Canada has scored 46 goals and allowed only 2 goals in four games.USA has scored 40 goals and allowed 2 goals over four games.So, I will make this prediction: Gold will go to the winner in overtime by a score of 3 to 2.It could go either way, USA or Canada.
Finland may be the stronger team in the Bronze Medal game against Sweden.I’m guessing it will be a low scoring game, but Finland could win it by two goals.
KING TV Coverage of the Seattle Four
A KING TV crew met Ed and Betty Petrullo, Jay Carbon and I at gate 10 outside Canada Hockey Place between our two hockey games this afternoon.They are here to cover the Olympics and complete a story they've been doing on the four of us and our Olympic journey. They shot over 15 minutes of video but will probably only play a few seconds of it when they broadcast the story. The story is tentatively set to air on KING TV's morning show on Thursday, February 25th. The way these things work is that the Thursday showing will likely be the full feature followed by short segments over the following day or two.
So, keep an eye on KING TV channel 5 near the end of the week.You might get to see the three stooges, Lew, Ed and Jay, upstaged by Mrs. Petrullo.I view Betty as being the more interesting story here.Betty runs the kitchen at Parkwood Elementary School in the Shoreline School District and here she is in Vancouver, Canada, working hockey timing and scoring for the 2010 Winter Olympics.How unlikely is that?Who would have ever guessed the lunch lady was an ice hockey statistician?
Team USA Victory over Canada Men Impacts the Seattle Four
We decided, before reporting to work today’s hockey games at CHP that we wouldn’t say a whole lot to our fellow crew members about the Team USA win on Sunday.We feared that the crew of mostly Canadians might not take kindly to any boasting on our part.However, the subject inevitably came up and while it was mostly kidding and joking, there was clearly some tension between us and them.It even carried over to our crew chief, Dr. Jim Potts, who began his pre-game talk by saying; “Just a reminder that we have one game tomorrow at UBC at 7:00pm.I’d like to have everyone arrive and check in by 4:45pm, everyone that is except for the Americans on our crew.They’ll be going home!”Later he said; “You Americans have the Alamo to remember, we Canadians have yesterday’s hockey game…”
Goodnight from Surrey, B.C., Canada.
21 February, 2010 - 10:00pm Click upon the PDF icon on the right for a slide show presentation of photos taken by Lew over the past several days at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Enjoy!
It is Sunday, February 21st, our day off.We have no games today.We plan to relax most of the day, do some laundry, hang around the house and watch Olympic hockey on the big screen in the home-theatre downstairs.Today’s lineup of games is being described as one of the biggest days in men’s ice hockey history. Russia plays Czech Republic at noon, Canada plays USA at 4:40pm and Sweden plays Finland at 9:00pm.I hope you are able to watch them all.
Proof that it’s a small world.
At check-in Saturday morning at Canada Hockey Place (CHP) the lady checking us in mentioned that her daughter was a close friend of Brenden Dillon of the Seattle Thunderbirds.Apparently she and her family live near Dillon’s family in Surrey.She had nothing but praise for Brenden.
Following the first game at CHP Saturday, a fellow approached me saying that he’d heard I was from the Seattle Thunderbirds.He asked if I knew Thunderbird’s Coach Rob Sumner.I explained that I did and that I had contact with Rob at most T-Bird games.The man, Glenn Brewerton, explained that he owned the house that Rob’s wife Cherie grew up in at 4605 Ramsay Road.Glenn said that his daughter now occupies the bedroom that used to belong to Cherie.I told him I would pass that information onto Coach.
We’re always talking with people on SkyTrain.Friday, on the way into Vancouver a young couple sat across from me.They inquired about our uniforms and what we did for the Olympics.We explained our role and the fact that all four of us were from the Seattle area.The young man said; “Oh!We are too.We’re from Kent!”It turns out they live up the hill just a couple of blocks from Karen and I.Small world, huh?
I received an e-mail yesterday from my friend SA/SFC Robert A. Mason, Special Agent, 4715, Detachment Sergeant, Kandahar USACIDC Office, at Kandahar Airfield, in Afghanistan. But, first some background – Rob discovered an outdoor ball hockey rink on the air base in Kandahar shortly after his arrival there last summer.The Canadian forces there have organized a ball hockey league and have some pretty intense competition.Rob, a hockey fan, attends games when he can.Rob’s wife Brenda is a member of our Seattle Thunderbirds Off-Ice Officials crew.Rob mentioned in a phone call to Brenda early in his deployment that the league was running short of sticks and replacements were not easy to come by in Afghanistan.He suggested she explore a way to collect some hockey sticks and send them to him.To make a long story short, we collected about 70 sticks, most of them from the Greater Seattle Hockey League and our Kent Valley Hockey Association members, some old and some new.Brenda shipped them to Afghanistan.The sticks arrived around February 10th.
Now, back to yesterday’s e-mail from Rob at Kandahar Airfield – Rob informs me that the ball hockey league is assembling two teams, one Canadian and one USA, to “play for the gold” sometime before the Olympics are over this next week.The Canadian military is arranging for segments of the Kandahar “gold medal” ball hockey game to be shown on TV during the playing of one of the gold medal round games here at the Olympics in Vancouver.Some of the hockey sticks Brenda sent to Rob will be used by players during that game.
Imagine that!The hockey sticks collected locally and shipped half-way around the world to Kandahar Airfield, in Afghanistan, will be used by Canadian and American servicemen and servicewomen to play a “gold medal hockey game” of their own, excerpts of which we will see during the playing of an Olympic gold medal game here in Vancouver.Now, that’s my idea of a small world.
Norway 4 vs. Switzerland 5
Saturday’s Norway vs. Switzerland men’s game was one of the most exciting hockey games we’ve seen here at the Olympics.The outcome wasn’t sure until the final buzzer sounded.My partner and I tracked time-on-ice for Switzerland.One of the more interesting moments came during a scrum in front of the Swiss net when a Swiss player covered the puck in the crease.That’s a no-no!The referee called for a penalty shot.Finland did not score on the penalty shot.
I spotted a large poster in the crowd.It had a photo of Norway’s Tore Vikingstad, #29, on the left side and large lettering to the right that read; “Go Dad!”Well, dad got the message.He scored the first “Hat Trick” of the Olympics.Unfortunately, he should have scored a couple more.His team lost the game by a final score of 4 to 5.
Latvia 0 vs. Slovakia 6
Saturday’s second game of the day was another men’s hockey game, this one between Latvia vs. Slovakia.The favorite was Slovakia but the mostly Canadian crowd was pulling for the underdog Latvia.However, Slovakia scored 3 goals in the first, 2 goals in the second and 1 goal in the final period.Latvia has yet to earn a point in Group B standings.
Walking the lower concourse at CHP
Our route from the Off-Ice Officials’ conference room on the P1 level of CHP to our workstation on the 500 level takes us past several team locker rooms, the referee’s locker room, and the Olympia ice resurfacers (aka Zamboni.)On Saturday, as I walked the route, I encountered Team Canada’s Jarome Iginla, Patrick Marleau (former Seattle Thunderbird) and Rick Nash.Marleau was poking fun at the Team USA equipment manager on his way out of CHP.They obviously knew each other and it was fun to listen to the banter between the two.I saw Ken Hitchcock again.He commented; “Life is one bus ride after another,” as he exited CHP.I walked with NHL linesman Jay Sharres as he arrived at CHP to work the next game.We chatted about the Olympics as we walked.
I passed Scotty Bowman in the hallway.Bowman is touted as the most successful coach in NHL history.He was interviewed a few minutes later and it was televised on the big screen inside CHP.The last time I saw Scotty Bowman in person was about 10 years ago at a Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings game in Vancouver. I asked him to autograph my copy of his book, “Scotty Bowman A Life In Hockey.”The autographed book is now part of my hockey library at home.As we passed in the hallway Saturday, I smiled and nodded, he scowled.
20 February, 2010 – 11:00pm
We have just one game today, Friday February 19th, the 9:00pm, game at Canada Hockey Place (CHP) in downtown Vancouver. The game is a men’s game between Finland and Germany.Our departure time for CHP is 4:30pm with a check-in time of 6:45pm. That allows us a little free time for today.So, we spent the first half of the day exploring.We drove out to White Rock, a very nice little community on the water.We bought some groceries before returning home.
The Finland vs. Germany Men’s game is the 9th hockey game we’ve worked.Brad Watson is one of the two referees and Shane Heyer is one of the two linesmen working the game.We know them both from their time in the Western Hockey League development program.I’ll try to catch them in the hallway before or after the game and say hello.
Finland was the stronger team in the game with Germany.They were very impressive on the power play.They worked the four-man German defensive box with precision passes until they had a Fin undefended to the side of the goal.Then, they just simply passed to him and he tipped the puck into the goal.All during this process I kept wondering why they were passing the puck back and forth and not shooting.They went at least 70 seconds passing the puck before they made that key pass to open man for the score.They were like a machine.
Finland scored one goal in the first period, two in the second period and two in the third period.The final was Finland 5 and Germany 0.
Following the end of the game, our crew supervisor released us for the evening.We departed CHP at 11:15 and spent the next 2½ hours making our way home. The streets were packed with hockey fans and party goers.The downtown SkyTrain stations were clogged with tens of thousands of people heading home or to one of the parties elsewhere in the Vancouver area. The lineup of people trying to get to SkyTrain snaked 5 & 6 people across up the stairs, out of the station and through a fenced walk area for about a city block. The line didn’t move very fast, but we finally made it down to the boarding level.After watching several fully packed trains stop without being able to board them, we chose instead to take a nearly empty northbound train and ride it to the end of the line.That way we would have a seat when the train returned to Stadium station.It worked.
On a normal day SkyTrain transports 700,000 passengers to and from downtown Vancouver. They transported 2,000,000 passengers Friday, a SkyTrain record. Do you believe it? No wonder it took us 2½ hours to get home.
We arrived home at 1:30am Saturday morning. I got in bed at 2:00am and awoke at 6:30am to shower and eat a quick breakfast before heading back to CHP at 8:00am for our 10:00am check-in and 12:00noon game, Norway vs. Switzerland men. We will also work the 4:30 game, Latvia vs. Slovakia men later in the afternoon and be ready to head home around 7:30pm.Saturday will be another one of those very long and exhausting days.
19 February, 2010 – 11:00am It is 12:00noon Thursday, February 18th and we’re headed out to the University of British Columbia (UBC) for our next two women’s hockey games, USA vs. Finland and China vs. Russia.Ed Petrullo is the driver again today and our choice of music is a Jimmy Buffett classics album.I like Jimmy Buffett.
The weather is absolutely beautiful; cold but sunny and lots of blue sky.Which reminds me, I forgot to pack sunglasses.The trip to UBC is smooth.Mid-day traffic is light, the road is wide open and we’re cruising to “Margaritaville.”The trip from Surrey to UBC takes just a little over 45 minutes. In the parking lot at UBC we encountered a family dressed in USA Hockey jerseys enjoying a tail-gate party.We went over to the car, introduced ourselves and discovered they were the family of USA Women’s hockey player #19 Gigi Marvin a 23-year-old from Warroad, Minnesota and the University of Minnesota.We asked if we could take some pictures and they agreed.Then, we returned the favor and used their cameras to take pictures of them and their homemade banners. Once inside UBC, we headed for the break area for a cup of coffee.We watched the USA vs. Norway Men’s hockey game on the wide screen TV in the break area.We chanted U-S-A, U-S-A, when Team USA scored their first goal, much to the dismay of the mostly Canadian volunteers in the break room.A few minutes later, we watched out the window as the Russian Men’s teamed arrived via bus at UBC for a short practice session. Vladislav Tretiak, former Russian Goaltender and current General Manager led the team off the bus and into the ice rink.We watched them practice on the ice outside our break room windows. Before we left home this morning, I reviewed the stats from one of our recent games to see how well we had done in tracking player “time on ice.”My partner and I track time on ice for the players on one of the teams in each game we work.On average, each player gets 6 or 7 shifts per period.A shift averages just over a minute at a time.At the end of the game, one should be able to add up the player time on ice and it should be equal to 300 minutes (5 players X 20 minutes per period, X 3 periods - penalty minutes.)Our total for the game we had just worked was 299 minutes and 57 seconds.We were short 3 seconds.We’ll work on trying to get closer to 300 for the next game… Someone recently commented; “Time on ice!How tough could that be?”Well, I challenge anyone to track the jersey numbers of five players leaving the ice and five other players coming on the ice, on the fly and maybe not all at the same time, every minute or so throughout a 60 minute game, and record the clock time for each as they come and go.It’s not as easy as one might imagine. Game one for us today was USA Women vs. Finland Women.We had to leave the USA Men vs. Norway game we were watching on TV in the break room at the 2 to 0 point of the game in order to make it downstairs to ice level for check-in.Check-in involves signing the check-in sheet, confirming our work assignment, picking up the paperwork and materials we’ll need for the game and attending the pre-game meeting with our crew supervisor.Once all that is completed we can proceed to our workstations for the radio-check from command and control. Then we wait. We generally watch the team pre-game warm-up period (15 minutes) from our workstations.At 2 minutes prior to game time the team rosters are confirmed and transmitted via the network to computers at our workstations.Some minor paperwork is required over the next two minutes prior to game time. Then the game begins and our work begins. Just prior to the start of the game I spotted a familiar face coming up the stairs toward our work area.It was Mike Jennings, a Kent Valley Hockey Association member.Mike had spotted me at the stats bench and came up to say a quick hello.It was great to see a familiar face from home.I’m having a great time in Vancouver but I’m missing my family and all my friends back at home.So, I was pleased that Mike dropped up to say hello.Good on ya, Mike!I needed that!
Speaking of the folks back at Kent Valley Ice Centre, the Doner and Grauer families will be pleased to learn that Wisconsin was well represented at UBC this afternoon.I saw several Wisconsin banners in the crowd including one that read “Badgers Gold.” I’m not sure how many Badgers there are on Team USA, but it has to be more than 1 or 2, judging by the clusters of Wisconsin fans in the crowd.
Team USA defeated Team Finland in today’s women’s game by a score of 6 to 0.It was a good game to watch, but the highlight of the day was yet to come.China faced off against Russia in game two.We really expected a lopsided game in favor of Russia.But, that was not the case.Russia dominated at times but China managed to keep it close. I thought the fans favored China over Russia.It seemed like there was more excitement from the fans when China was threatening to score than the other way around. In the end, Russia won this one by a slim margin of 2 to 1.One of our staffers commented that if he had paid $150 for a ticket to see this game he would have gotten his money’s worth.
Just one final observation; you should have seen the snappy blazers the Russian coaches were wearing.They wore dark blue blazers with a gold team emblem on the chest pocket and red collars.Where can I get one of those?I’ll bet they don’t sell them at the Bay.Even Tretiak looked good wearing that gorgeous blazer.
18 February, 2010 – 11:00pm
Okay sports fans, I’m losing track of days.One day blurs into the next.I’m involved in tracking the game and I can’t remember the final score on the way out of the ice rink.Let’s see, it was Sweden and who?Russia did what?The final score was what?What game is next and what time do we have to be here tomorrow?And, where’s the restroom?
It’s 8:00am Wednesday morning, February 17th and we’re tired, sleepy and headed back to Canada Hockey Place (CHP) on five hours of sleep.Our check-in time at CHP is 9:45am. When the heck am I going to be able to get my morning retirement nap?We have two games to work today; Finland vs. Belarus at noon and Sweden vs. Germany at 4:30pm.
The “Lot Full” sign was up at the King George SkyTrain Station but we could see lots of vacant spots at the back of the parking lot and grabbed one.So much for signage…
We made our way to SkyTrain and boarded a waiting train.I took a seat near a partition where I could rest my head for a short nap.It wasn’t until after the Columbia Station that I was able to catch a little shut-eye.It’s the first time I’ve fallen asleep on the SkyTrain.
We got off SkyTrain at Main and Science World and walked across the street to the Science World plaza.The plaza is crowded with people gathering around a stage.There is a TV broadcast truck at the back of the stage waiting to broadcast a live event of some kind.Too bad we don’t have time to stick around and see what it’s all about.
We proceed on along the seawall toward our security entrance to CHP.Every time I make this trip I admire the inukshuk among the rocks along the water.People have stacked rocks to create inukshuk forms.I’ve seen people on the sloped rocky seawall building these figures.I’ve occasionally heard them topple over.Not to worry, someone is always eager to reconstruct them.It is quite an impressive view from this point with the inukshuk on the near shoreline, the calm water of the bay and the Olympic Athletes Village on the far shore.The colorful 2010 Olympic Games logo is an inukshuk.
What is an Inukshuk?
The mysterious stone figures known as inuksuit can be found throughout the circumpolar world. Inukshuk, the singular of inuksuit, means "in the likeness of a human" in the Inuit language. They are monuments made of un-worked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is "Someone was here" or "You are on the right path."
In our pre-game meeting our supervisor praises our work and tells us we’re doing a great job.He thanks us again for volunteering to support the Olympics.He must know how sleepy I am.Everyone appreciates our work and they are constantly thanking us.It is nice to be appreciated and it provides the fuel to keeps us going.
We grabbed a quick cup of coffee in the break area and watched a televised interview of former Vancouver Canuck, Jyrki Lumme.When asked about his experience at these Winter Olympics Games, Lumme replied; “Being here is like being a kid in a candy store.I love every minute.”I feel the same Mr. Lumme.
Our first game today is Finland vs. Belarus.My partner and I are assigned Team Finland. By game time I’m feeling fully awake and ready to begin.We wait patiently for the radio check and for our computer screen to come alive at the 2 minutes to go point.With 3 minutes to go the four on-ice officials skate onto CHP ice, one after the other.The third one, one of two linesmen, skates almost to the edge of the face-off circle and falls ungracefully to the ice.When he attempts to get up he slips again; imagine Bambi on ice.Finally, he realizes he is still wearing the cloth skate guards that protect his blades.Sitting on the ice, embarrassed to death, he yanked each skate guard off and tossed them to the attendant at the gate.That kind of thing happens to Mite age (5-8) players all the time.But, to see it happen to a veteran IIHF and NHL official is rare.I wonder how nervous and excited he was about working an Olympic hockey game.Do you think his partners will ever let him forget that most embarrassing moment?
Finland scored two goals in the first period, Belarus scored their only goal 21 seconds into the second period and Finland scored at the close of the period.Finland scored two more goals in the third period for a final score of 5 to 1 in favor of Finland.
Our second game is Sweden vs. Germany at 4:30pm.We get a short break between the two games for a lunch.I tried to find a way to grab a quick nap, but there just wasn’t enough time.
The Sweden/Germany was probably the best game that we’ve seen so far. Sweden won the game 2 to 0.Ed Petrullo was the scorekeeper for this game.The low scoring and few penalties made it an easy game for him. Ed gets an interesting perspective on the game when he is the scorekeeper.The two referees wear a microphone and he is at the other end of it.When a goal is scored or a penalty assessed the referee informs the scorekeeper immediately so that the information can be passed along promptly to TV and the scoreboard operator. Often, viewers at home will see the penalty on their TV screen an instant before the referee gets to the scorers bench.At least that is the objective.
Games are over for the day and we are headed back home.It is still early and we’d love to visit all the events going on downtown, but all we need right now is sleep.Good night from Vancouver and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games!
17 February, 2010 – 11:00pm
Jay Carbon was the driver Tuesday afternoon as we headed to the SkyTrain station for the ride into Vancouver and Canada Hockey Place (CHP). A 9:00pm start time required that we leave the house by 5:00pm in order to arrive at CHP by our 7:00pm check-in time.The fifteen minute car ride to the King George SkyTrain Station was uneventful in rush-hour traffic as we listened to a Gordon Lightfoot CD with the musician strumming and singing his classic hit Carefree Highway.
Carefree Highway I got to see you my old flame
Carefree highway you've seen better days
The morning after blues from my head down to my shoes
Carefree Highway let me slip away let me slip away on you
Parking was an issue at the King George Station.It seems like the “Lot Full” sign is up every time we pull into the parking lot and that was the case Tuesday afternoon.However, we lucked out and managed to find a spot being vacated a commuter.I volunteered to buy the parking ticket and dashed across the parking lot to the ticket sales station.Once there I realized I had forgotten my billfold containing my credit card in my backpack in the car. The ticket machines only take debit/credit cards or coins. I only had Canadian bills.
As I stood in front of the ticket dispenser, $10 bill in hand and pondered what to do, I uttered something like; “What do I do now?”A man in line behind me realized the dilemma I faced and offered to help.“I’ll swipe my credit card for you,” he said. I was stunned.“No really!You’re one of the Olympic volunteers aren’t you?” He said.I confirmed that I was.“Well, I appreciate what you’re doing and I’m willing to help you out in any way I can.”
Ya gotta love the Canadians.Everywhere we go in our blue Olympic uniforms people come up to us and ask what our role is in the Olympics.They’re delighted to learn we’re inovled in ice hockey.More often than not, they thank us for volunteering.There are over 25,000 volunteers supporting the 2010 Winter Olympic games.They do everything from directing people at the venues, checking security passes, escorting athletes to and from competitions, driving buses, and, like us, providing timing and scoring support.It takes a community of volunteer support to stage something as big as these games.The vast majority of volunteers are from the greater Vancouver area.Others, those with technical expertise relative to a particular sport, come to these games from all over the world.
It is interesting to hear the many languages being spoken as we walk around our Olympic venues.I try to guess which languages I’m hearing.However, I find it difficult to tell the difference between Korean and Chinese, Russian and Slovakian or Swedish and Finnish.I rode the elevator at CHP with a Czech Republic TV crew.I wish I could have understood what they were so excited about.They were pretty hyped.
Tuesday night’s game between Russia and Latvia was our first men’s hockey game at CHP.According to all the experts, Russia is the team to beat for Gold.Many were predicting that Latvia wouldn’t score a goal against the strong Russian goal tending.
Russia scored early at 2:38 of the first period.They added two more goals before the end of the first period.Russia scored the only goal in the second period.Latvia scored their first goal 33 seconds into the third period.Russia answered with 3 more goals and Latvia scored their second and final goal at 3:35 of the period making it 5 goals in 3 minutes and 2 seconds.Amazing, it was not an Olympic record.Russian scored the final goal of the game 18:57 making it an 8 to 2 final in favor of Russia.
We arrived home at 12:45am.We have two early games tomorrow and will have rise at 6:30am and leave the house by 8:00am.Five hours of sleep?Maybe…
17 February, 2010 – 8:00am
I rode in the elevator with Ken Hitchcock last night.It was good to see him.He is an assistant coach with Team Canada.
Vladislav Tretiak, former Russian Goaltender and current General Manager was in the box next to me during the game.I chatted briefly with old friends Jay Sharres and Dennis Larue.Jay and Dennis are former Western Hockey League (WHL) officials and currently working in the National Hockey League (NHL).Jay was one of two linesmen for the Russian vs. Latvia game.Dennis was one of two referees for that game.
I’ll provide more details later.We’re headed back to CHP for two more games today.This is nonstop hockey at its best.
Uh, what day is this?
16 February, 2010 – 11:00am
Our crew worked two ice hockey games at the University of British Columbia (UBC) last night.Our first game, Switzerland vs. Canada, had a start time of 2:30pm and the second game, Sweden vs. Slovakia was scheduled for 7:00pm.Since Ed Petrullo was the assigned score keeper for the 2:30pm game, his arrival time at UBC needed to be 12:30pm.We left Surrey at 11:00am, allowing 90 minutes for journey to the campus of UBC.
Ed Petrullo chose to drive his car today.We buckled in and asked God to protect us on our journey to UBC.A prayer is a wise thing to do when riding with Ed “the bullet” Petrullo.If he misses a turn you need to immediately brace yourself for a death-defying course correction in the form of look both ways then U-turn.He’s so quick that there is no time for a prayer.That’s why you take care of praying before you leave the driveway.
So, we’re off, down the hill to the Highway 99 interchange, on to Highway 99 north and across the delta toward the airport.The sun is shining and we can see the snow covered mountains in the distance.Ahead and to our right a little we can see the office and condo towers in downtown Vancouver gleaming on the skyline below the mountains.It is a gorgeous day.The highway is relatively clear with unusually light traffic.Ed makes several quick lane changes, signaling not required at this speed, and we cruise down the highway listening to AC/DC’s classic rock hit “Highway to Hell” playing on the radio.
No stop signs, speed limit Nobody's gonna slow me down Like a wheel, gonna spin it Nobody's gonna mess me round Hey Satan, payed my dues Playing in a rocking band
Hey Momma, look at me I'm on my way to the promised land
I'm on the highway to hell Don't stop me
And I'm going down, all the way down I'm on the highway to hell
Our prayers are answered as we arrive safely at a parking lot on the UBC campus. This is our closest parking yet (two blocks) to the UBC ice arena.The security check is smooth; it seems to get easier each time we pass through.I think it’s just because we’re learning what to expect and we’re prepared.
We are 30 minutes ahead of schedule so we head directly to the break room for a cup of coffee.The Slovakian women’s hockey team is practicing in the rink.We can watch them through the windows in the break room.There is a large flat-screen TV on a stand near our table where we can watch some of the other Olympic events.This isn’t the only place where the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) has provided spots where we can follow events at other venues.TV’s are strategically placed in the hallways, workout areas, and even the check-in rooms.They’re taking care of us.
VANOC produces a daily newsletter for volunteers. The newsletter keeps us up-to-date on crew activities and provides safety tips, meal information and tips on how to make the 2010 Olympics a better experience for participants and spectators.The following story is about a member of our Off-Ice Crew.
People who are doing a great job here at UBC!
A great play goes out to Dave Holland on the Timing, Scoring and Results Crew.On his shift, one of the coaches from Team Switzerland didn’t have the proper shoes for his uniform and therefore wasn’t able to be at bench level with his team.Dave came to the rescue and leant the coach his black shoes for the game – allowing the coach to cheer on his team at the ice.Way to go Dave!
We tend to have more contact with teams, team officials and other volunteers than we do with the general public.However, we are encouraged by VANOC to provide a helping hand when we can.Our blue jackets and badges give everyone the impression we can help them.So, we have to be prepared to assist others or put them in contact with someone can help them.
Our 2:30pm game involved Switzerland vs. Canada.We had worked the Canada vs. Slovakia game on Thursday night.Canada won that game by a score of 18 to 0.We were hoping for a closer game against Switzerland.Well, it was closer.The final score was Canada 10 and Switzerland 1.The game was actually a lot closer than the score would indicate.The Swiss goalie faced 62 shots on goal compared to 12 shots on goal faced by the Canadian goaltender.It was a terrific game.
The 7:00pm game involved Sweden and Slovakia.We had seen Slovakia play on Thursday night and we had seen Sweden play in the Women’s Canada Cup Hockey match here in Vancouver back in September.So, we knew Sweden would be strong and they were.The final score was Sweden 8 and Slovakia 2.Slovakia matched Sweden goal for goal through the early part of the game. Sweden scored then Slovakia scored.Sweden scored again and Slovakia tied it up again.However, Sweden went on to score six unanswered goals.
Slovakia’s first goal was exciting considering they were unable to score a goal in their first game with Canada.So, when they scored their first goal of the Olympics in this game, they acted like they had just won Gold.I really believe they were amazed that they had scored against the strong Sweden team.I also thought the Canadian fans were more supportive of the Slovakian team than the Sweden team.The fans remembered the Thursday night 18 goal scoring exhibition of their home country team over the Slovaks and they wanted them to have some success in this game.
So, we’re off to Canada Hockey Place (CHP) this afternoon to work the 9:00pm men’s hockey game which features Russia against Latvia.I hear that Russia is the team to beat for Men’s Gold.We’ll see how they do tonight.
15 February, 2010 - 10:30am Click upon the PDF icon on the right for slide show presentation of our tour around Vancouver yesterrday as the city celebrated the 2010 Winter Olympics. Enjoy!
15 February, 2010 - 8:00am To the right are two group photos of the 2010 Winter Olympics Off-Ice Officials Crew, all 3 crews. The photo was taken as part of our training and orientation session on February 11th. These are photos we will treasure forever and we thank Dr. Jim Potts and the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for making it all possible.
14 February, 2010 – 11:00am
Happy Valentine’s Day to my lovely and patient wife Karen back in Kent, Washington.
Thank you so very, very much for being so supportive of my Olympic adventure and my never ending involvement in the sport of ice hockey.It has required more time apart than we are accustomed to.I miss you.We’ll find a way to make up for this prolonged absence when I return in March.
You are my Valentine!I love you!
13 February, 2010 – 11:00pm
Well, the orientation, training and dress rehearsals are all over.It was crunch time today.We worked our first official game of the 2010 Winter Olympics.It was a women’s hockey game at Canada Hockey Place (CHP.)Canada played Slovakia in a very lopsided game.The final score was Canada 18 and Slovakia 0.Ouch!
The SkyTrain was crowded on the way into Vancouver, the plaza at Main and Science World was also crowded and the walk along the sea wall to the security check point was packed.Oh yeah; It was also raining. People are coming out, even in the rain, to explore downtown Vancouver during the Olympics and enjoy the festivities.
We encountered a group of people at Science World protesting something about not being recognized by Russia.We didn’t have time to investigate.It looked pretty intense.
Our powder blue Olympic volunteer uniforms get attention everywhere we go.On the SkyTrain people ask us how we’re involved in the Olympics.Many thank us for volunteering.The whole city is excited about the Olympics.When walking near the hockey venue, our blue uniforms are like magnets.People come up to us and ask questions about where to go for this and that.Sometimes, we out-of-towners are able to help them.
We encountered a guy near the security station holding a sign that read; “TICKETS WANTED - Will buy your extra Olympic tickets.”He was very bold about approaching people.In fact, he was kind of irritating.Why did he think we would have tickets?We don’t pay to get in…
Today’s game was a 5:00pm start.We left the house for the King George SkyTrain station at 1:10pm.We arrived at our security gate entrance to CHP at 2:45pm.We were required to be there for check-in at 3:00pm.So, we just made it with 15 minutes to spare.We got our meal tickets at check-in and proceeded to our Off-Ice Officials room at the P1 level of the parking garage.We confirmed our attendance with our supervisor, stowed our backpacks and headed for catering to get a quick bite of lunch.We returned at 4:00pm for the pre-game team meeting.When the meeting ended at 4:20pm we proceeded to our work stations.The game started promptly at 5:00pm.
The Canadian women set several Olympic records during the game.They established a new Olympic record for goals scored in one period, seven goals.They also established a new Olympic record for most shots on goal in a game, 69 shots.
It was a sell-out crowd for tonight’s game.However, not everyone who had a ticket showed up for the game.None the less, the 10,000+ Canadian hockey fans made the place sound like it was packed to capacity.The Canadians adore their women’s hockey team.It was a sea of red and white from my vantage point suspended from the media gondola at the 500 level and high above the ice surface.The Canadian fans rocked CHP every time Team Canada scored, and they scored often.
The real story of our adventure today has to do with the Olympic spirit and I was thrilled to experience it in person.The Slovakian women were clearly outmatched by the Canadians in this game.However, they never gave up.They came out of the locker room after the first period break, facing a deficit score of 7 to 0 and continued to play the game as if the score was tied.They never, ever gave up.They played their hearts out until the last second ticked off the clock.They must have realized that the final score was going to be somewhere in the high teens in favor of Canada by game’s end.But, they continued to play as if the first Slovakian goal would launch them on a miracle comeback.The goal never came.
After the final buzzer sounded and the game was over, the two teams lined up at center ice and performed the traditional handshake.After the handshake, the Canadians went into a huddle in front of their bench.The Slovakians skated to center ice and waved at the crowd.The crowd cheered and gave them a standing ovation.The crowd was on their feet cheering the Slovakians until each player had left the ice.Once the Slovakians had departed the ice, the huddle of Canadian women broke up and the crowd gave them their standing ovation in a round of applause and cheers as the team left the ice. It was the classiest fan reaction I’ve ever seen.It was the Olympic spirit at its very best.
And, this was just game one.What could possibly top tonight’s experience?We’ll see.
PHOTO: The photo on the right was taken during the Canada vs Slovakia women's game. That's me, Lew, the guy on the far right. I'm the one with the bald spot. The two crewmen on the left tracked time-on-ice for Canada while I and my partner tracked Slovakia.
Notice the Swiss timing official standing behind us. He never explained why he was there. However, we had a keyboard failure on our computer during the second period and he fixed it for us. Before he departed following the end of the game, he said; "Well done gentlemen!" So, I guess we passed his test...
So, what do you think of our view from this altitude? We are at the top of Canada Hockey Place in a gondola suspended from the roof structure of the building. It took me a while to get used to being up there. But, the view is spectacular.
13 February, 2010 – 10:00am We watched last night’s opening ceremonies on the big screen.It is interesting to note the differences between being there in person (we attended the dress rehearsal) and watching it on television.We could not see the floor/stage designs well from our seats at just one or two rows above stage level.So, the televised show provided us a view we had missed in person.Our rehearsal seats were very near the ramp where the snow boarder blasted out of the Olympic rings.That was pretty cool on television but it was absolutely spectacular and stunning in person, particularly when we were seated so close to the ramp.We anticipated that someone or something was going to come down that ramp.So, we kept watching and waiting.When it happened, it blew us away.Awesome!
The photo on the right provides some idea as to how close we were to the ramp and the athlete as he soared overhead.
I am a long-time fan of Canada and the Vancouver area in particular.I worked for a Vancouver-based software firm for five years in the mid 70’s.I lived in Vancouver for almost a year and commuted home to Kent on weekends.Over the years, our daughter Tammy, son Bob, and grandsons Justin and Chad, played hockey against teams in Vancouver and the lower mainland.So, our family knows Vancouver fairly well.It was this background and experience that stirred my emotions throughout the opening ceremonies on rehearsal night.I had tears in my eyes during the singing of “Oh Canada.”It was so very beautiful and emotional.It took my breath away.
KD Lang’s performance of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah” was very moving and powerful.I could watch that performance over and over again.I rate it as the best musical performance of the show.I’m certain that Mr. Cohen is proud of KD’s rendition of that beautiful piece of music.
An important highlight of the opening ceremonies was the incredibly large stage.So often, performers or props would appear on the stage and I wondered how they got there.When the performers were carried up into the clouds and never returned, I wondered where they went.Later, I noticed people walking a catwalk suspended from the ceiling of BC Place. I also spotted several trap doors open and close in the floor of the stage. Mystery solved.
The snow falling in BC Place early in the show was very realistic. The spectators were delighted as the snow began to fall. They cheered.Later, the red, yellow and orange leaves blowing around the arena added to the reality of the fall season.I caught a couple of snowflakes for souvenirs.Sadly, leaves never fell in my direction.
The First Nations performers did an outstanding job.They were very colorful in their elaborate native costumes.Did you notice they danced all the way through the procession of athletes into BC Place?By the time the first athletes from Greece began their walk onto the stage, the First Nations performers had already been dancing non-stop for 15 minutes.By the time Canada’s athletes entered the building they had danced for over 45 minutes and they went on beyond that for another 5 minutes. They never stopped moving. I did notice they performed in shifts at times, some of them moving back a little and just walking in place to the beat of the music as other moved forward to dance.None the less, I was impressed with their stamina.Their performance was an amazing one!
Our dress rehearsal performance did not include the lighting of the torch.So, that was all new to us as we watched on television.The torch ceremony was one of several surprises they saved for the real performance.Perhaps they should have rehearsed it, considering part of the structure failed to rise out of the floor for the actual torch lighting.
It occurred to me that there was more at work than one might imagine in the failure of that one structure to rise out of the floor for the torch lighting.I thought it symbolic of the loss of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in the tragic accident earlier in the day.His death is mourned by everyone including the symbol of Olympic spirit, the flame.
We’ll depart in a few hours for our first “official” game of the 2010 Winter Olympics.It is a Women’s Ice Hockey game between Canada and Latvia at CHP.We’re ready!Let’s get this show on the road…
12 February, 2010 – 11:00pm It was a casual day of rest, relaxation and recovery.I awoke this morning with aches in muscles I didn’t even know I had.Yesterday’s marathon walking did a number on me.It will take more than a cup of coffee to get me going this morning.Maybe a walk will help.
I was reading this morning’s edition of the Vancouver Sun and monitoring the morning news on the TV in the other room.Suddenly, everyone in the room gasp and someone said; “Oh my God!”I checked to see what all the excitement was about.It was a video of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili’s crash.An hour later it was announced that the 21-year-old athlete had suffered fatal injuries.We are all shocked and saddened by the death of Kumaritashvili. The Vancouver Sun has changed its format for the 16 days of the 2010 Olympic Games.They will move all of their Olympic Games news out of the sports section and into the very front section of the paper.This is just another of the indicators as to how important the games are to Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada.
Vancouver appears ready for the games.Many of the downtown buildings are draped with huge Olympic banners.The windows and balconies at the athletes’ Olympic Village are draped with flags of the various nations involved in the games.The city is very colorful.The many miles of chain link fencing that partitions the secured areas around the Olympic Village, BC Place and Canada Hockey Place (CHP) are covered with very colorful Olympic fabric. Images of the Vancouver Olympics’ mascots Sumi, Quatchi and Miga decorate fencing, walls and walkways throughout the Vancouver area.At night there is a light show near the edge of Stanley Park that illuminates the low hanging clouds over the city.The lights in the clouds gave me the impression of a city in the sky, up there in the clouds. Yesterday, when we entered CHP we were amazed at how the facility had been transformed from GM Place, home of the Canucks, into the 2010 Olympic Venue for Ice Hockey.It is truly remarkable, a huge change since we worked the Canada Cup in that very building back in September.Back then, it was all under construction.We had to walk under scaffolding and over cable covers on the floor.However, all that has changed.Today, everything is newly painted, the floors, walls and ceilings are all like new.The first level, P1, of the CHP parking garage has been turned into offices, meeting rooms, a press conference room, staging and storage areas and much more. Because there will be 12 men’s hockey teams at CHP, the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) has constructed 8 locker rooms in huge tents in the street just outside CHP.We toured the main hallway of the large and impressive tent.I’m not sure how they did it, but the temporary building has all the necessities of a locker room including restrooms and showers.I was impressed. A similar transition has occurred at the University of British Columbia (UBC.)The facility there has three ice rinks.One of the ice rinks has been converted into office space, much like those in the parking area at CHP.Additional seating has been added at the open end of the new ice arena raising the seating capacity to 8,500.They too are ready for the ice hockey competition to get underway. Well, my day is over.In the morning, I’ll comment on the opening ceremonies that were broadcast around the world this evening.I’ll just say that it was spectacular from both the perspective of being in the building and from watching it on TV.My favorite performance was K.D. Lang singing “Halleluiah.” The Beijing Olympics had a performance by Lang Lang in 2008, Vancouver had K.D. Lang in 2010.K.D. was better. Goodnight all!
11 February, 2010 – 11:00pm We just returned to the Secord home in South Surrey. It is 10:30pm. We left at 7:30am this morning for University of British Columbia (UBC) and ended the day at Canada Hockey Place (CHP aka GM Place.) That makes it a 15 hour work day if you count the commute time. Here’s an overview of the events of the day: 7:30am – Depart Surrey for UBC; we traveled by car to the UBC campus. 8:30am – Arrive UBC, locate parking and walk to venue. 8:50am – Navigate through security (very much like airport security.) 9:00am – Orientation class in building next to Ice Arena, covered safety, logistics, rules & regulations. 10:00am – Tour the UBC Ice Hockey venue; learn how to navigate the facility. 11:00am – Training at our workstations in UBC’s Thunderbirds Arena. 12:00noon – Depart UBC for CHP; we drove the car to a subway station near a shopping mall, grabbed a quick lunch, boarded the subway to downtown Vancouver (Waterfront Station), boarded the SkyTrain and rode to Stadium station, walked approximately 1/2 mile around CHP to the security check point, walked approximately 1/3 mile, walked upstairs over the street and downstairs to the security entrance #9 at CHP.We did all this in the cold rain and wind. 2:00pm – Orientation class in temporary building (Off-Ice Officials Room) in the P1 level of the CHP parking garage, covered safety, logistics, rules & regulations. 3:00pm – Tour the CHP Ice Hockey venue; learn how to navigate the facility. 4:00pm – Group photo at center ice, all 80 of us.It was awesome! 4:30pm – Quick logistics meeting with our supervisor; two thirds of our group departed to return to UBC for their dress rehearsal hockey game.Our third of the group remained at CHP. 5:00pm – Quick fast-food dinner at a food mall two blocks from CHP. 5:45pm – Navigate through the security check point into CHP. 6:00pm – Pre-game team meeting in the P1 Off-Ice Officials Room. 6:30pm – Proceed to our workstations throughout CHP. 7:00pm – Dress rehearsal hockey game.We were fully operational including the BC Ferryboat horn that sounds when a goal is scored (the blasted thing is located about 20 feet from me in the rafters of CHP.) 9:00pm – Post game team meeting in the P1 Off-Ice Officials Room. 9:30pm – Excused for the day.We departed CHP to Stadium Station, caught the SkyTrain to Waterfront Station, transferred to the subway to 41st Street Station, retrieved our car and drove via Hwy 99 to Surrey. 10:30pm – Arrived back home in Surrey, exhausted and a bit overwhelmed.What a day! We had a group photo taken, all 80 of us, at about 4:00pm at center ice in Canada Hockey Place (CHP aka GM Place). After the group photo we were able to take a few individual photos. Ed Petrullo took the photo of me at center ice in CHP.I hated the idea of wearing that tuque. However, with all the walking we did today in the wind, rain and cold, I adapted quickly to the comfort of the ugly thing. Now I love it, no matter how bad it looks on me. It keeps my bald spot and ears warm. I'm wearin that sucker... The photo of the “Seattle Thunderbirds Four” was taken at UBC following a training session.
The photo of the guy with the torch was taken on the subway. There were cheers when he entered the car with the torch. He had just carried it somewhere in Vancouver and was headed home. He was pretty excited about the experience.
I believe we’re all ready for the Ice Hockey competition to begin.Make sure you all watch the opening ceremonies Friday night. We attended the dress rehearsal Wednesday night with 50,000 other people, 15,000 of which were Olympic Games volunteers, and we were very, very impressed by the spectacular show. It is full of surprises. It is extremely emotional at times.
I feel Canadian. I have become Canadian... I'm learning to speak Canadian... I'm even wearing a toque!
10 February, 2010 - 10:52pm We just returned to Surrey from downtown Vancouver and the 2010 Opening Ceremonies dress rehearsal. We had to sign a non-disclosure statement regarding the ceremony, so I can't describe the show or they'll deport us. Let's just say that you need to watch the real show on TV Friday night. It is exciting, beautiful, awesome, inspiring, spectacular, dazzling and full surprises. It took my breath away. It made me proud to be a Canadian... Uh, well, uh; I'm not Canadian. But, I felt like it by the end of the show.
I'm off to bed. We have mandatory training out at UBC that starts at 9:00am in the morning. I'm told I need to be ready to head out by 7:15am. 10 February, 2010 - 8:00am Jay Carbon and I are on I-5 headed for the USA/Canadian border. We're both excited and a bit nervous about our Olympic Adventure. However, we're looking forward to the next 18 days, all that we will see and experience, and all the people we'll meet along the way. Our initial destination is the Secord family home in Surrey where we'll off-load our luggage and occupy our home away from home. From there we will drive to the nearest SkyTrain station, park the car and ride the SkyTrain to downtown Vancouver.
Later this afternoon, 4:30pm or so, we'll watch the dress rehearsal for the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies. It's going to be an exciting day and the beginning of an exciting journey.
Lew's Crew Assignment
Lew will be one of four "Time on Ice" crew members. Two crew members are assigned to the home team and the other two are assigned to the away team. One member of the two person crew serves as a spotter, reporting the players entering and leaving the ice during the game. The other crew member enters the reported data into the computer. At the end of each period the computer system is closed and the data is passed to command and control where it is distributed to media and the teams.
Below is the schedule of Women's and Men's Ice Hockey games for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Lew is a member of the C1 Crew (noted in red). Crews have not yet been assigned to the medal round games.