Meanwhile, up in Lewiston.
by Peter Farrell - posted 10:42 am, December 31, 2010
The happy Swedish contingent cheering their way to another win up in Lewiston
Lewiston: a place that no one has referred to as “the worst city ever”. Where it doesn’t cost a down payment on your mortgage to park. Where you won’t be annoyed by that enormous sea of red clad Canadian fans. Where some of the games in this year’s World Junior Championships are being held. You didn’t know that?
While most of the spotlight on this year’s tournament has been focused on the doings in downtown Buffalo, the tournament has been going quite nicely at Dwyer Arena on the campus of Niagara University. Parking? Fifteen dollars tops. Overbearing sea of red? Not so much in a venue that seats under two thousand. In fact, the smaller venue brings out the presence of fans of the other nations so much better. While attending yesterday’s Sweden/Czech Republic game it was easier to see and hear the boisterous fan bases of said nations rather than having them swallowed up in the presence of the much larger HSBC Arena. Being here really brings home the notion that this is a worldwide tournanment and not simply being all about the North American clubs.
Thus far in the Niagara portion of tournament, Sweden has emerged as the darling team in winning all three of their games at Dwyer thus far and winning their last two without the presence of highly touted NHL prospect Gabriel Landeskog. Yesterday was no different as the Swedes blew through the Czechs 6-3 to set up the showdown of perfect records at HSBC with Canada and their boisterous fan base. It will be interesting to see how the Swedes handle their first game in the big venue in front of a hostile crowd.
Other tidbits from the afternoon at Dwyer:
– It’s always interesting to see who comes out to present Player of the Game awards at the game’s conclusion. At the end of the Sweden/Czech Republic game it was former Sabre defenseman and Czech native Richard Shmelik.
– Emerson Etem, take notes department: Seeing a bunch of 19-20 year old Swedes handle the postgame media attention from the Canadian press. As they were continually being peppered by questions about the upcoming Canada game, not one of them bit on anything that would give any kind of “bulletin board” material to the Canadians for today’s game. Even more impressive considering that English is not the primary language for most of those players.
– noticing the international flavor of the baseboard ads again. At Dwyer, Swedish based ads for Stockholm, cashbuddy.se, Ojega. What? No ads for IKEA!! Blasphemy!