We’d all been looking forward to the Squirt Hockey Fargo Flyers international tournament since October. Matt and his teammates had been practicing and playing hard, preparing for this legendary tourney that includes 64 teams from all over North America.
Siblings planned ahead in packing games, toys and goggles:
15. Strumming the Anthem – The tourney begins with the Squirt Olympics, Thursday evening at Scheels Arena, a gorgeous venue. A squirt player from Arizona sang ‘Oh, Canada,’ then a 10-yr.-old tournament participant played the Star-Spangled Banner on electric guitar! As the boys said, “Dude, that rocked.”
14. Catching the spirit – Our guys did pretty well in the various Olympic events, and really caught the excitement of the weekend to come. They were, quite simply, awestruck at the number of players, level of energy, bright colors, great tunes and palpable anticipation of their shared passion for hockey. Most were speechless, just mouths hanging open, slight smile, looking around the arena.
Matt, warming up for his event, the target shootout:
13. Our southpaw in action:
12. Familiar favs
Thursday evening, a group of us went to Mexican Village, one of our fav restaurants from our own N.D. residency days. ‘Only fitting that Greg ran into a young man he once coached, who now coaches Greg’s nephew. Ah, it is a small world. During the weekend, Greg also ran into his former defense partner from high school hockey and numerous other old buddies. I got to see a former colleague drive Zamboni in one of the arenas he manages, during one of our games. While visiting, I forgot to ask if he slanted the ice a little in our favor… (we did win in OT: Thanks, Jeff!)
11. Fargo friendly from everyone, everywhere we met. This is a top-notch, well-run tourney. Fair officiating, on-time operations, great atmospheres. Beyond the rinks, restaurants were welcoming and the hotel staff members didn’t dampen our antics.
10. Here’s the front page of Friday’s daily local paper, The Fargo Forum:
Matt’s final take (check out the Alaska pin: limited edition, 5″ diameter):
8. Just add water
7. Oh, yeah, the HOCKEY – The boys won their first game vs. Araphoe, Colorado, in OVERTIME, 3 – 2. Then beat Stillwater, 3 – 2.
6. Sweet 16 Those two wins put us in the TOP 16 teams in the entire tournament. Very nice, boys.
5. Let’s watch some hockey – After a loss to Eden Prairie (which only stings a little less than losing to Edina, ugh), it was on to Moorhead Youth Hockey rink. We got there in plenty of time for the boys to watch a shootout in the earlier game.
4. OUR OWN SHOOTOUT Little did any of us know we were in for our own Shootout Action. We beat Stillwater in a SHOOTOUT.
3. The haunted floor at our hotel, fueled by some certain future fiction writers in our group.
2. Great memories As one of Matt’s teammates told his parents, “I’ll never ever forget this.” or, on Sunday evening back at home: “I’m homesick for Fargo.” What these little guys and their siblings learned will serve them very well: work hard, play hard; trade pins (or ideas); smile; play tough but fair; shake hands with your opponents and mean it; and always strive to Make Memories.
1. Fam time Perhaps best of all, it was our family’s first getaway all together for quite some time. Most days, evening and weekends, we’re all headed in different directions. But this weekend, in Fargo of all places, we were together. Making Memories that still make me smile.
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