I hosted 2 pee-wee who didn't know about our winter and it was hilarious

I hosted 2 pee-wee who didn't know about our winter and it’s been hilarious


My heart is heavy. After about ten days, I have to say goodbye to Cole and Senzo, two pee-wee from the small Washington Capitals that I hosted for the tournament. 

Like 300 other families in the Quebec region at each tournament, I decided to welcome some into my home. It was in no way to make this chronicle. And I do not claim to have accomplished anything exceptional. But with the agreement of the dads, I wanted to share this experience. Because it was hilarious, stressful, sad and above all unforgettable.

20 years ago, I played in the tournament and my parents welcomed players from central Switzerland. Former CH Yannick Weber played for this team. The pee-wees at my house spoke neither French nor English. They communicated mostly in German. After two hours, with my big mouth, we already understood each other perfectly. I'm not sure how, but they became my best friends within a week. And I still remember their departure: everyone in tears in the car in front of my school. “Ich liebe dich Juan Nick! That was the last time they spoke to me.

With 2 and 3 year old sons hitting everything in my house with mini hockey sticks and my wife who loves the sport, I thought it was time to host them again, 20 years later.&nbsp ;

It started on February 8th. I picked them up at the Château Frontenac, where their dads were staying. Why don't they prefer to stay at the hotel, especially at the Castle? Because it's part of the spirit of the tournament. And when I asked them if they preferred to spend an afternoon at the hotel with their parents, it was a definite no.

Last night we were together. Senzo (left) and Cole (right) put on quite a show at Karaoke.

In flip flops in the snow

I quickly realized that they had no idea what our winter was like. In flip-flops, Senzo thought he could leave the Château without any problem. 

I asked them to choose the music in the car so that we were a bit embarrassed. Cole surprisingly chose the Beatles. We passed in front of Bonhomme's palace, and the charm of Quebec and of our winter began to take their cell phones off them. 

We continued on the road. “Guys, this is where you are playing tomorrow. It was the Videotron Center. They were flipping. “It's like an NHL arena,” Senzo instinctively said. Thank you for turning the iron in the wound…  

We had bought lots of good things so that they would be treated like real athletes: fruit, granola bars, eggs, cheese, yogurt. They ate almost nothing the first day. “Guys, come to the grocery store, you can choose whatever you want.  

Senzo (left) and Cole (right) proudly show me at the grocery store that it's the Pringles on pizza they're after and not the fruit aisle and vegetables

Sorry, Isabelle

I swear. What they chose would give nightmares to my nutritionist colleague Isabelle Huot: Dr Pepper, chocolate-marshmallow Pop-Tarts, Fruit-O-Long, Reese cereal and Pringles pizza. 

After this highly gastronomic session, we leave the grocery store and there is snow all over the sky in the evening. 

The two guys don't say a word, stare at the sky. They don't come back. Spontaneously, Cole launches into a snow bank in the parking lot while leaving a business. 

We come home and, for them, there is no question of going inside. Despite their look of young people a little jaded close to the crisis of adolescence, we quickly saw the heart of these 12-year-old children all amazed. For two hours, they created a slide in the steps of my entrance by watering. Everything was frozen, impossible to access my front door for several days. 

The next day, Cole told his father how, even at night, it was crazy because there there was so much snow that everything was white and it was like day. The two guys were also amazed to know that there were outdoor rinks everywhere. 

Hilarious anecdote by the way at the ice rink. Cole's feet freeze. I see him climbing on the strip and jumping in the snow. He then wedges his two skates deep into the snow. “What are you doing here, Cole?

“I thought if both my feet were all buried in snow, it might warm them up,” he replied, with Senzo and I both cramped. We had to leave quickly. He understood in a few seconds that it was not the best of his ideas.

Day by day, our pee-wees have become embarrassed and have also become our children, the big brothers. One was going to calm our 3-year-old man when he couldn't sleep, the other slept like a spoon with our labrador. One morning, Cole woke up looking down, telling me there were only four days left to be with us.

At the Super Bowl, the dads even came home with some really, really good bottles. Senzo's father told us how Ovechkin's arrival transformed the development of hockey in Washington. 


Wednesday , it was our last evening everyone together. The guys decided to put on quite a show at karaoke and they didn't want to stop. They didn't really want to go to bed, because they knew what was coming. Senzo is gone. Like 20 years ago: “I love you, John Nick, murci murci murci. Yes, I shed a few tears on the sly afterwards. Cole will stay with us for a few more days and then it will be the same ordeal…

Ah, yes. And they played hockey too. It didn't go well. They lost their first two games. But deep down, we really don't care. I think they had a great week anyway, and that's what we are for, the host families. 

These families are at the heart of the success of the tournament. Several have hosted players forever and deserve a lot of credit for the reputation of the international event.