Well, I’m in St. Cloud the day before the start of the 2009 U17/U16 Girls camp. I’ve been here in MN for the last couple of days visiting some old friends and stopping by some universities in the area. Of course I’ve spent some time in MN in the past (business and a visit to SSM) but never took the time to poke around any of the universities. On this trip some time was set aside to explore UM and UMD. The first stop was to the UM campus. Although there was a bit of rain, it didn’t hamper the visit. Overall the UM campus in very nice. It was great walking around, reading the history of the campus and seeing some of the unique building architecture around campus. Of course the visit wouldn’t be complete without visiting both the mens and women’s ice rinks. The mens is impressive but I would be lying if I said the same about the women’s. Not that it’s bad, it’s just that for a program of that calibre I expected much better. A quick drive up 35 to UM Duluth was the next stop. After spending some time walking around and inside the campus my opinion was positive. There are some impressive new buildings and facilities on campus and I’m not talking about the rink. As to the rink, the existing facility for the women’s program is very nice and to top that they are currently constructing a new area right next door. After looking at the drawings and renderings of the new facility it should be one of the premier collegiate hockey training and playing facilities in the country.
Anyway, back to St. Cloud. Arrival was a bit later than expected today but there was time to stop by the Hockey Center for a quick look. As advertised, there are 2 ice sheets. One is the primary arena and will be a great venue to watch the camp. The second is a dimly lit practice rink in the same building. Don’t know how big the practice sheet is but for some reason it looked much bigger than an olympic sheet. Of course tomorrow is check-in day and there won’t be much else going on. When the practice schedule is available I will post it so anyone interested can see the full camp agenda. As always, feel free to comment.