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Behind the Scenes at the World Junior Championship Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Aaron’s adventure as a volunteer at the World Juniors in Calgary.  Part one can be found here.  Team Canada has just arrived and as usual they are in the semifinals, and Finland has delayed their choke job game and moved past 5th place.  Good for them.  I think.

It’s hard to not stop and stare when the members of Team Canada enter the ream.  Every single member of the team has been drafted, save for one but he is draft eligible in 2012 and is going to be a top 10 pick, and Hockey Canada makes sure they command an audience.  By that I mean their first appearance in Calgary was no in a game, but rather in a short 45 minute media scrum.  These scrums are when members of the media gather to ask players questions and usually it is one giant, controlled clusterfuck.  Media personnel are every where trying to get the quotes they need, demanding that certain players face their wrath, and trying to get the perfect camera shot of them.

It’s our job to make the that their requests are honored, every last one of them.  It’s amazing that in the era of blogging how many accredited members of the media there are.  It seems everyone and their mother is trying to cover this tournament.  And god forbid they don’t get their interviews.  I don’t mean that sarcastically, I learned rather quickly that it’s a pain in the ass dealing with scorned media members.

Back to Team Canada.  Their arrival in Calgary with Finland and the Czech Republic marks the beginning of the medal round: aka the games that mean something.  That means that most of the media personnel that was covering Canada in Edmonton has ventured down to Calgary.  AKA, my job just got a hell of a lot more interesting and I actually have to do it.

For the first stage of the tournament we just had to manage the press box (make sure they didn’t run out of popcorn and soda) and take interview requests.  Now that Canada is here, we needed to label every seat of the main pressbox, the overflow press box, and the four auxiliary press boxes.  This is for the assigned seats that we didn’t need to enforce during the first group phase.  There simply weren’t enough reporters to have to care.  Now we have to make sure members of the non-canadian media (yeah it’s really funny how that works) aren’t sitting in the main pressbox because they have been assigned to the auxiliaries.

On top of now babysitting the media, we need to continually make sure everything is going smoothly in all the press boxes, and then make sure all media personnel are taking care of for the postgame conferences, which just got a hell of a lot harder to manage.  Being down there it is cool to interact with players (I give them head nods and they respond!), but you forget how cutthroat journalists are.  Every cameraman is trying to get a shot of them coming out of the lockerroom (sorry thats for TSN only, you guys aren’t cool), and when you tell them to stop they barely listen to you.  Thank god for my awesome gold vest (except its poofy and ugly as fuck), which means they have to listen to me because I was training to do this job (I really wasn’t because I’m from out of town but THEY DON’T KNOW SO SHHHHH).

I didn’t even have to bear the brunt of the media clusterfuck today.  I worked the first relegation game (Denmark almost won!), and the first quarterfinal game (ok I stayed in the media lounge not in the Saddledome to watch the Winter Classic), so I did not have to deal with the media at Canada’s first official practice.  Apparently guys were sneaking on to the bench in the practice arena to get quotes!

Overall, I’ve had a fucking blast here and can’t believe the tournament is over in 3 days.  Part of me doesn’t want to leave, because I don’t have to deal with anything in my normal life, but then I remember how damn expensive everything is here and my wallet hurts.  The being able to drink legally is a nice touch, but I an keep being used to that due to me going abroad next semester.  Yes I will still be watching the Rangers and being around so stop fretting.  Just needed to get that out of the way.

Well I’m working almost every game left in the tournament except one semifinal and one relegation game, so expect part 3 to be a media orgasm, slash hockey amazing adventure.  Go Sweden, and may you read this while enjoying the best College Football in the land.  Remember, they are all secretly paid, and Andrew Luck is better than everyone in the world (including you).  HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE!

About the author:  Aaron is an international studies student from a small town in New Jersey that no one has heard of, although he's been relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. While he isn't studying or trying to prove Thrashers fans exists, Aaron is on a never ended quest to defend Wade Redden's name. His all time favorite Rangers is Brian Leetch, but other favorites include Henrik Lundqvist, Markus Naslund, and the rest of the Swedish National Team.

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