When I woke up this morning, there was a sound of thunder in the not too far off distance and a cool breeze made me want an extra cover. A far cry from the nearly 100 degree weather earlier in the week. Now it feels like a touch of autumn and that means hockey is just around the corner. In fact, just seven days until the Ducks take to the ice and begin preparing for the season to come.
Much will be happening between now and then, some of it for the public, some of it not.
SUSHI AND PAINT
Monday, September 12, things kick off with the third annual “Get Your Anaheim Ducks in a Roll.” The annual sushi-rolling competition at RA Sushi in Tustin will see Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Andrew Cogliano competing to get their roll on the menu during the regular season. $2.00 from each winning roll sold from October 11, 2011 through April 12, 2012 will go to the Anaheim Ducks Foundation.
Fans are invited to attend this one, which will be from 7:30pm – 9:30pm. Send an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org (space is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis). To bid in an online auction to become the lucky fan to roll sushi alongside Getzlaf and Cogliano, you can visit AnaheimDucks.com. RA Sushi is located at The District in Tustin.
Earlier in the day, CHOC patients and randomly selected season seat holders will be at the Honda Center to begin painting the ice at 3:45pm. Francois Beauchemin will be on hand to welcome guests, who will assist in painting the ice, including faceoff circles, blue lines and the red line. This event is not open to the general public, but Adam Brady and other media will happily provide photos.
THE ROOKIES ARE COMING, THE ROOKIES ARE COMING!
Monday morning through Friday morning, the Ducks rookies will be participating in a rookie camp for conditioning and skating drills at Anaheim Ice. This event is closed to the public, but media will be covering the event, as will Adam Brady.
As it was last year, this will be a shortened training camp before pre-season begins. Five days to evaluate rookies will help pare down regular training camp rosters and chances are good that by the time the main camp opens on Saturday, September 17, many of the young prospects will already be heading home.
On Wednesday, September 14, the 17th annual Golf Classic will be at Oak Creek Golf Club in Irvine. One hopes the weather will not decide to unleash thunder, lightning and hail on them, as it is doing this morning. All Ducks players on the roster will be the fifth player of each foursome. A handful of spaces remain for the tournament if you are one of those golf nuts.
BACK TO BUSINESS
On Friday, the off season is officially over. The Ducks will report to the Honda Center for physicals and fitness testing and photo day. On Saturday, training camp begins in earnest at Anaheim Ice at 9:15am. Expect a full crowd for the first day of camp.
On day two of camp, the Ducks will host children from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County to enjoy practice and then have a pizza party in Club 32 at 1:00pm with all the players.
Ten years ago tomorrow, we woke up to a world that was vastly different. While it was a lot of unknowns and chaos in New York, training camp was scheduled to begin for the Ducks that morning. Going to that training camp was a surreal experience. During all the breaks, everyone went around the television sets to get the latest updates. There was a real sense of hockey being put into perspective.
As serious and passionate that fans and players are about the game, in the end it is the people that matter. And how fragile life is. And how quickly everything can change. That was never more evident in the reminder this week when the plane carrying the entire Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team crashed in Russia, killing all but two on board. Among those killed was Ruslan Salei.
10 years ago, he was part of the September 11 training camp. May he and his teammates all rest in peace, and may we all remember that in the end, it is just a game.