Day 8 – Okanagan Hockey School and Skaha Bluffs

By Tom F.

There were some tired eyes on the bus this morning after some hotel guests kept us awake the night before. The hour-long drive from Kelowna to Penticton had some nice scenery as we travelled along the Okanagan Lake and soon everyone was feeling fresh and ready for the day ahead. Our destination was the Okanagan Hockey School (OHS) in Penticton, which is a world-class hockey training facility for junior athletes aged from 5-20 years.

Blake Wesley, the Senior Director of Hockey Operations at OHS and a former professional hockey player spoke to the group about how the OHS operates. The talk was interesting, informative and it was clear that Blake and the other staff take great pride in the OHS and its development of juniors both as citizens and athletes. Most of our group had limited hockey knowledge and it was fascinating to gain an insight into how Northern America sports operate in comparison to Australia. Here are a few key points from the talk.
·         Players in the program live with families in the local region and attend local schools.
·         Total cost can be between $30,000-$40,000.
·         Education is a priority and the majority of students on some form of honour role.
·         Winning is not everything, many OHS teams are entered into above-age leagues to focus on overall development at the expense of winning matches.
·         The world-class facilities at OHS attract athletes from all over the world. 

We the toured the OHS facilities, including the strength and conditioning area, ice-rink and indoor arena. The Canadian National Women’s team was conducting a training camp while we were there but unfortunately we did not see them on the ice. Blake showed some equipment and explained the variation in sticks between different players and their roles.

After the OHS we headed to Skaha Bluffs for a quick lunch stop and followed by a hike. Thankfully, this was no Grouse Grind and the minimal incline was appreciated by most. Billy and Emma stepped up as tour guides and we made a few interesting ‘detours’ along the way. 

The scenery made for some great photos, especially after we climbed up to a lookout. From here we had a great view of Penticton and the surrounding lakes. We also took the chance to get a group photo and did our best effort to create a human ‘UC’ which you can decide how successful that was.

 Following a not-so-quick inspection from the Bus Police, we headed back to Kelowna for dinner, where most of the boys fell in love with our waitresses. The hotel was nice and quiet tonight and everyone had a great nights sleep before heading to Vancouver the following day, where the Cambie awaited us all!

Day 15: University of Northern Colorado

By Ellie

A more slow paced day began with breakfast at UNC dining hall. With a cheer leading conference being held it made for a loud buffet style breakfast.

The plan for the day involved lectures from faculty members and shopping at Centerra outlet stores. We were met by David Stotlar, the Director of School of Sport and Exercise Science at UNC, with a big grin and humorous comments. Talking primarily of the Olympic Games Dr Stotlar covered sponsorship and marketing. With a wide experience in published textbooks/ journals, olympic torch runner for Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 and the  and working for large companies such as Samsung it was clear that Dr Stotlar could sell anything; including sport.

With its walls lined with memorabilia, Dr Stotlar took us on a tour of the sports studies building. Some of the group were lucky enough to find long lost relatives.

After lunch in the sun on the beautiful green grass, next lecture was from two researchers in the Rocky Mountain Cancer Institute, Traci Parry & Jessica Brown. Since starting the institute 15 years ago they have seen approximately 1000 clients fully rehabilitated through the program that focuses on exercise to improve the side effects from cancer medication. With constant research done on rats, training programs are continuously modified to keep up with the positive findings. It was really enjoyable to listen to people that are so passionate and dedicated to their research and work.

To end the day plenty of shopping was done in Centerra outlet stores. Everyone (including the guys) loved it and all heavily contributed to financially sustaining the economy.

Day 5 started at TRU

By Chris

Day 5 started at TRU

We then headed over to one of the lecture rooms where Ian then had a talk about the pathways that you could go in get trained to be accredited in mountain based adventures whether it be hiking mountain climbing, ski, etc. but he out lined that you could only be come certified in one of those areas. Ross Cloutier then spoke about more risk management in the legal aspects of what going on and the problems with waivers and the insurance side of things.

We then got a footy that Greg bought for us which then lifted the mood of everyone. We then took a tour of the Tournament Capital Centre where it was another multi-purpose facility having a gym, indoor running track, basketball areas, indoor swimming pool and also had a discuss throwing area under the facility. That it could host major regional events there as well.

We then went out onto the running track where the BC loins were doing there training camp. And that we got to go behind the scenes and look at their field in which it was fake grass which had small grounded pieces in the fake grass. Later on we then came back to watch the BC loins. Watch them was an experience seeing how big they are and that they take their training pretty serious in the off season.

We then went rock climbing with some of Greg’s friends that owned a little business where we were all there for about one and a half hours. The ropes were tie a knot method than clipping in. after we had our go Simon then showed us how real rock climbing is done using clip in to the rock or the latches that go in between the gaps.

On the way back to the hotel we all got ice cream J 

Day 10 – Greg’s Last Day

By Vy Vu

Today was the first of our two free days in Denver. It was very relaxed, no early starts or no long bus rides. The only down side was that it was Greg’s last day with us. Although it was the last few hours with him, we have all enjoyed his company and we’re extremely grateful for all the work he has done for us for the Canada portion of this trip. To end things off, we drove to the historical Capilano Suspension Bridge, a 137m long bridge, 70m above the Capilano River. Upon arriving, we discovered that we were not the only group who wanted to explore the bridge. About four more school buses full of primary school children arrived at the same time as us. We all knew that it was not going to be the most peaceful part of our trip. But despite that fact, we all had our adventure hats on and were ready to explore.

It was a wobbly walk across but the views from the bridge were spectacular.

Once we made it across the bridge, there were different park attractions such as the Cliff walk, Nature’s edge, the Rainforest which we could walk through to learn about the nature of the forest that surrounds the park. One of them was the ‘Treetops Adventure’, a walk across seven suspension bridges from tree to tree 30m above the forest floor. 

Totem poles were of high significance in Canada. They are carved trees of different shapes and animals that each convey a story or legend.

It was getting past lunch time which meant that time was up at the Capilano Suspension Bridge park. From there, we drove back to our hostel and said our final goodbyes to Greg and our most trusty and beloved bus! We had a free afternoon in Vancouver and some of us decided to catch a bus to Stanley Park and ride around the park for some fresh air. The bike ride around the park was 8.5km. There were small cafes and souvenir shops all around the park.  While riding around the park, we came across three wave-less ‘beaches’, they were not as impressive as the beaches in Australia, but the atmosphere was peaceful and the weather was amazing for a relaxing afternoon in Vancouver. 

Day 17: The end is nigh

A short video by Emma.

American Intercollegiate Sport Structure and Culture – Day 16

By Ashley

Day 16 of the UC Sport Studies Outbound Tour began with a lecture from James Henderson at the University of Northern Colorado, followed by a tour of the facilities for student athletes. Here we learnt in more detail about sport structure and culture in the United States. The basic structure of youth organised sports is essentially a pyramid – interscholastic sports forms the base with the greatest number of participation, followed by intercollegiate sports and finally professional sport at the top of the pyramid. Similar to Australia, sport delivery also occurs in clubs for certain sports, though by comparison, the United States places a much larger emphasis on college sports. Intercollegiate sports are known for being highly organised with clear rules and regulations, with a typically larger source of funding, from university funds, student fees and other raised funds. Club sports on the other hand are organised by participants, resulting in the likelihood of varied rules across the board. Club sports are also funded by their participants, and will therefore typically have a lower funding. Henderson also discussed the impact of Title IX, by which all college related sport decisions are governed by. Title IX was designed to increase opportunities for women in sport, and to enforce equality. As a result of Title IX, scholarships offered in colleges are proportional to student enrolment, and facilities must satisfy the interests and abilities of female players. Title IX also extends to teaching staff, such as ensuring fairness and equality in wages. A raise for a male coach must result in a raise for a female coach. Henderson also spoke of funding and budgets set for the two main branches of football, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). An annual budget for the FBS would sit around $41,363,000, whereas an FCS budget is typically $12,115,000. It would be rare of a FCS level school to make money or break even. Despite this, these budgets soar past school sporting budgets in Australia. Student athletes days are fairly intense, most beginning at 5:30am, and finishing at 11:30pm. In season student athletes would spend approximately 20 hours per week participating in sport and exercise. Students here must have 1 day off per week. Off season student athletes would typically play 8 hours of sport per week, and are permitted 2 days off per week. During these days off, students are given ‘optional’ activities, which are reasonably enforced by their coaches. As an analogy, coaches can give their students fruit, but they can’t cut it for them – coaches can give students the basic resources and suggest activities, but can’t give them an advantage over other schools and must let the students use their own initiative.

'The group checking out the football locker room' 

'The Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame'

For the afternoon, our study tour group toured the Impressive University of Northern Colorado campus. We toured through the large number of facilities open to students, including the garden theatre (an amphitheatre often used for student dance practice, and group fitness classes such as yoga). The buildings on campus are very impressive, all quite large with an old but modern feel about them on the wide spread campus.

 The student recreation centre was again very impressive, complete with its own rock climbing wall.

 The University has a maximum of 250 students in any unit, and a maximum of 30 students per tutorial group, at a ratio of one teacher to 19 students. Later, the group spent the evening in Fort Collins, a beautiful town with a relaxed community feel. Here we had dinner, and had the opportunity to look around the town shops before heading back to our final nights’ accommodation at the University.

Day 6: Rafting :)

By Rhiannon Stephens

This morning was another early morning as we left Kamloops and continued on our journey to Revelstoke. About half an hour out of Kamloops we encountered some troubles with thebus door as it would no longer stay closed. After a quick fix, we continued driving to Revelstoke for our day of rafting.

We arrived at Apex rafting at approximately 10am to be fittedwith our wetsuits, socks, jumpers and jackets. After this we boarded their bus for a 15 minute journey to the beginning of the rapids where we were given a safety briefing on how to use the equipment and how to respond if there was an accident. From here we were separated into three different boats and started our trip down the riverThe first rapids that we encountered were to be the roughest of the day and the first time we would experience the breathtakingly cold water flowing down the Illecillewaet River from a nearby glacial lake

With no sun in the sky we froze for the two hours that we were on the water. However, it was an amazing experience and something we would all like to experience again (on a much warmer day).

Once we reached the end of the river we were given various pastries and watermelon whilst the tour guides packed up the boats and equipment that we used. From here we were transported back to their office in Revelstoke where we all changed into some warm clothes. From here we checked into our hotel for the night at the Sandman where we enjoyed an afternoon in the pool and spa.

We then met to go out for dinner at Big Eddy’s Pub where we enjoyed dinner as a group courtesy of Ben and Julie. This was short as we had to meet to go to the Candian Avalanche centre where we learnt about predicting avalanches, what we would do if one was to occur and the devices that can be used to help in rescue missions. Despite the whether and bus problems it was a great day!!!