We arrived in Almaty airport with people clapping as we landed. Sarge loves a clap.
They must of heard about his obsession as Sarge was front and centre being interviewed by local press as we walked through the terminal to our team bus.
Getting into the athlete village early doors Thursday morning a lot of the boys were feeling groggy from the long travel day but couldn't shut it down for some rest.
Blaring all day was the song of 2017!
The rest of the day we were all taken back by how amazing this place is. It's fully legit. Staying in a purpose built village, views of the mountains, arenas, unlimited horse meat (dreams do come true) and a Tinder dream for the single lads.
Today was our first practice day and our first opportunity to get into our arena. The Halyk Arena.
The drive from the village is around 40mins. For all our journeys we get a police escort and drivers who love a What's App voice note.
Getting to the arena there's two pads. The main arena and a practice rink. We were scheduled for 12:30 on the ice. When we got to the rink Team Canada were on the ice. This arena is incredible. Nothing compares. Our locker room is the size of Solents Ice rink with designated sizeable stalls, tea and coffee table, a glove drying room, coaches room, physio room and skate sharpening room. The locker room is arguably breathtaking.
Getting onto the ice there was a zip about the place. No dodgy boards, seamless glass and perfect ice made for orgasmic strides.
Finishing practice for the day we got to come back to the village and take in our welcoming ceremony. Lot's of shapes being thrown.
Day 3 - Game v Slovakia
We were first up for the winter games. Playing Slovakia at 12:30 meant an early wake up and get to the rink for 10am'ish.
The game went to Slovakia but with their roster it was inevitable - guys who play regularly in the Slovak top tier.
Highlights here (or Stampy's backhand shot really...)
After the game we took in some Japan v Slovakia before heading off to watch the women play in a different arena against Kazakhstan #stasy29
Just the one practice was scheduled with a gym session in the morning (There's a gym in the village as well as swimming pool and sauna).
Highlight of practice was Monty and Rosey with a big centre ice hit on a breakout play. Both were on the same team...
The evening saw the opening ceremony. WOW!
12,000+ people cheering as you run around the arena. Unbelievable. No words at all.
Here's my video from my iPhone.
Watch it here: