Saturday, December 03, 2011

Moscow: View from the B Arena

Well sorry, actually not a view as I forgot the lead which would have downloaded pictures from my phone, so you will have to do with a 1000 words instead ...

English teams arrived safely on Thursday from their various connecting points, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm - geography determined that teams should arrive at Sheremetyevo Airport in the North rather than the other one in the South. Problem is that only Aeroflot fly directly to Sheremetyevo from London and fears, possibly unjustified, of Aeroflot’s reputation led to the option of changing flights midway - and it was slightly cheaper.

I travelled out on Friday, in the company of ECA President Alison Arthur, and got to Copenhagen no problem, only to find that the flight to Moscow had been cancelled for technical reasons and we would have to travel via Stockholm, but we had to wait over two hours! Eventually arrived four hours later in Moscow than expected just in time for the opening banquet. But at least our luggage arrived in spite of the changed itinerary, unlike that of WCF President Kate Caithness which got lost somewhere in Schiphol on her way here.

And so to the Stadium on Saturday morning. A well organised and pleasantly short opening ceremony. This is an enormous building and the B Arena is in the basement - but it is a light airy rink and very similar to curling rinks elsewhere, though it is a hockey rink in everyday life.

Ice is good - as fifth player for the men’s team I threw a few stones in the practice session this morning before the first game against Poland which was won 9-2. And with the ladies winning 6-4 against Spain in their first outing it has been a successful day so far for England. Currently they are on against Ireland and leading 6-0 and so more news in a tomorrow’s blog.

Footnote – all mod cons here in the B arena with flat screen electronic scoreboards – only problem is that they are only at one end below the coaches bench and so invisible to those who matter! So for this session the latest Russian technology has appeared at the far end. Red and yellow coloured A4 pads with numbers to be turned over as the game progresses – no line scores obviously but sufficient for what is needed!

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