It was a trip the Arvada Pee Wee AA team will always remember, and one they shared with more than family and friends in a series of postcards sent from Quebec between Feb. 11 and Feb. 24.
The 13 skaters and two goalies spent almost two weeks in Canada for the Quebec Pee-Wee International Hockey Tournament — the most prestigious minor hockey tournament in the world, according to the event's website — representing the Avalanche and Colorado as one of 120 teams in the event.
The Junior Avs not only traveled internationally and played teams from other countries, but they also had opportunities to explore Quebec and learn about the city's culture.
The team posted a 4-2-1 overall record while in Canada and was 2-1 in tournament play, losing in the third round to the Halifax Mooseheads. It was an impressive performance in an event that becomes a single-elimination tournament after each team's first game.
While the competitive hockey was important, it took a back seat to everything else that came with the experience.
The players billeted with French Canadian families for the entire trip, played outdoor/pond hockey at the end of every day, and participated in numerous team activities, including dog sledding, snow tubing and going to watch the Quebec Remparts play in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game.
However, the highlight of the trip was the friendships created with players from all over the world. The Junior Avs traded pins with other players — even ones who didn’t speak English — and displayed plenty of sportsmanship while participating in exhibition contests, where they took team photos with their international friends no matter the games' outcomes.
The adventures of Arvada's Pee Wee AA were detailed in a series of postcards sent from Quebec and displayed below. Scroll down to read each one (written by a different player), and you'll understand why they returned to Colorado knowing "la vie est belle" (life is good).
Written by head coach, John McKibbon.
Written by defenseman, Ian Whittington.
Written by forward, Mathias Silaban.
Written by forward, Nolan Darlington.
Written by defenseman, Sean Grohman.
Written by forward, Dimarco Benallo.
Written by forward, Braeden Reiher.
Written by defenseman, Max Warfield.
Written by goaltender, Griffin Niedzielski.
Written by defenseman, Chip Olsen.