Now that the Chiefs have settled in at this year's Memorial Cup site, Thursday was the day to get back to work. Spokane practiced for the first time since arriving in Kitchener and by all indications, they look ready for Saturday afternoon's opener with Belleville.
Before practice, Rogers Sportsnet, who is nationally televising the Cup across Canada, had the team in for what are called head shots for their broadcast. That way when they are talking about a player, they can show the player's picture.
They also interviewed Drayson Bowman, David Rutherford, Mitch Wahl and Dustin Tokarski for feature segments in the broadcasts.
While waiting in line, there was a guy fitting each team member with ring sizes in case they win the Cup. He was doing it for every team in the tourney, but let's hope he can use the Chiefs information!
The team practiced at a facility called Sportsworld, about 10 minutes from the Aud, the site of the Cup. The Chiefs were on the ice about 45 minutes and had a real brisk workout. Some area fans turned out to watch players; some of them in their Kitchener Ranger jerseys. The guys just looked happy to be skating and getting close to playing a game. It's been eight days since the Chiefs won the WHL title, but it seems forever ago!
The team rested for a couple of hours after practice, then headed to the Memorial Cup opening ceremonies banquet. The banquet went three hours, but the team left early to rest up at the hotel.
There hasn't been a lot of touring on this trip. In fact, outside of going to a local Boston Pizza, the only route we've seen is to the rink. The team is on a business trip as far as they're concerned, so all the hoopla has been pretty much a mild irritant. All they want to do is play a game and in two days time, when they can take out their aggression on Belleville.