For the past few weeks I've been working at the World Junior's event in Calgary, Alberta. I wasn't doing anything too remarkable, but the event itself was. There were people from multiple countries such as Latvia, Sweeden, Russia, and so on; all of whom had different roles with the hockey teams that were participating in the events. During the two or so week long event I managed to see a few games including the gold medal game that pitted Russia against Sweden. On the day of the gold medal game I saw or met numerous people associated with the various teams. I also saw or met numerous notable hockey and political personalities that were attending the games, such as Steve Yzerman, Prime Minister Harper, and Jim Peplinski.
|Gold medal game: Rus vs Swe|
A few of the individuals I met, including Peplinski, gave me pins. I am not a pin collector but as you can imagine from the kind of things I discuss on my blog here, I do collect a variety of things. The pins that were given to me are incredibly unique and definitely make great keepsakes from attending and working the games. Additionally, my experiences have been nothing but positive and in particular one pin showed just how enthusiastic and kind the people associated with the World Juniors teams were.
|Event Organization pin.|
|IIHF 2012 pin.|
|Finish /Swedish 2012 IIHF pin.|
|Russian hockey pin (Russian text).|
In all, I was given 4 pins. None of these pins could be bought at the event. Instead, certain individuals (mainly people associated with the IIHF or specific teams) handed out pins when asked. One pin I received was provided by the event organization for working there. This pin features an image of the World Junior's location, unlike any of the other pins I saw. A second pin, given to me by Peplinski, is the IIHF 2012 event pin. A third pin commemorated the Finish and Swedish teams and was given to me by one of the Swedish team coaches. The fourth pin represented Russian hockey and was given to me by the assistant coach of the Russian team. When I had first met the assistant coach I had asked if he had any extra team pins. In his broken English, he said he had run out but would grab more from his room. I didn't think for a second that he would actually return, but sure enough he did.
Those associated with the Russian team were by far the nicest of anyone at the games. The Russians were not the nicest because they gave me a pin, but instead because of how genuinely enthusiastic they were about the games. They were enthusiastic about Canada and hockey as a whole, which is counter to the serious nature that has epitomized their popular perception. It is because of this that I will cheer a bit more loudly whenever I see a Russian team play!