We spent yesterday driving from Kaufbauren to St. Polten and it was an amazing drive thru the mountains. The mountains, waterfalls and small villages provided great scenery and we also saw a few castles along the way that made me feel like we were in a movie.
It has been a great trip for the team and a huge benefit for me to get to know the players on and off the ice instead of having to wait until October when we get on the ice with them. At this point I have a pretty good feel of what each player adds to the team and am starting to get a better feel of how to coach and relate to each player based upon their individual personalities. The trip has been a great way to learn all these things about the team and its’ dynamics in a very condensed period of time.
I also really enjoyed our time in Kaufbauren. Walking around town was spectacular soaking in the history and architecture. We were able to see the old city walls that provided protection to the city over seven hundred years ago. There were also some great old churches that were built back in the 1300’s that were great to visit.
We also played very well against great competition. Our guys did a lot of good things against polished and savvy veteran pro players that bodes well for the upcoming season. If we can compete and play the way we did after a long flight, six hour time difference, a short turn around in game times, three games in three nights, and that level of competition than we have a lot to look forward too!
Finally, the best game of the weekend from a “I’ve never seen a game in Germany” perspective was the “derby” game between Kaufbauren and Ausberg. They call their rivalry game a derby and they had a great crowd at the arena. They were arm in arm chanting, beating drums, and waving flags that led to a great environment. The final score was a lopsided win for Ausberg but then Kaufbauren rebounded for a shoot out win over Linz on Sunday so it was nice the home town crowd had something to cheer for.