Sunday, 15th July
‘WELCOME TO SUNNY VIERUMAKI’
So I guess Vierumaki is usually a sunny place, but not for our welcome. I have a feeling that the name ‘Sunny Vierumaki’ is a bit misleading- a bit like Wexford is in Ireland’s sunny south east….saying anywhere in Ireland is sunny is being pretty optimistic.
Anyway, after an hour and a half bus journey from the airport hotel, we arrived here at the sports complex. It’s a sort of holiday camp that Finnish people come to – lots of indoor and outdoor activities – gyms, hockey rinks, cycling paths, hiking, swimming, etc.
There are two camps running simultaneously here – the High Performance Camp for the top U18 girls from countries like the US, Canada, Russia, Germany, etc, and then the Hockey Development Camp for everyone else. There are U16 players for the development teams as well as programs for coaches, managers, learn to play (me), and a few others too. I’ve seen some pretty big names in women’s hockey already, including Hayley Wickenheiser and Melody Davidson of Team Canada. I have to say, I’m really looking forward to watching some of the games from the High Performance Camp – I imagine most of those girls will go on to represent their countries in the Olympics (if they haven’t already) and some will get to play pro.
It’s been great meeting people from around the world who are so keen on promoting women’s ice hockey – my group has representatives from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Taipei, Netherlands, Belgium…and a whole lot more.