Flyers Alumni Russia Tour: Feb. 14, 2017
2:45 PM (Moscow time)
We are at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow awaiting a connecting flight to Kazan. The customs line was fast but claiming and re-checking all the hockey equipment for the second flight as well as our suitcases, as expected, was time-consuming but orderly.
There's a Russian national team hockey apparel store here at the airport called "Red Machine.” The distinctive jerseys in the store window were visible from far down the hallway.
At the gate for our Kazan flight, we were introduced to a Moscow-based Russian film crew that will be following the Alumni team on the tour. We were told they recently completed a documentary on hockey legend Phil Esposito’s travels in Russia. We will see it in St. Petersburg.
Lindsay Carson, who traveled from California to Moscow, arrived at the Kazan flight gate with a few minutes to spare before we board.
11:00 PM (Kazan)
We had quite the adventurous flight to Kazan – delayed and very turbulent – but the greeting we received in Kazan was more than worth the journey. We were greeted by television cameras and group of lovely young women in traditional Tartar folk dress, bringing us a welcoming gift of traditional foods. We then loaded the hockey equipment into the bus and a waiting truck.
After driving to the spectacular Hotel Korston, and passing by where the KHL team Ak Bars Kazan play their home games, we reconvened as a group for a tremendous dinner. A great time was had by all.
Let’s put it this way: It’s minus-7 degrees Celsius outside and it has snowed all day and evening but we’ve experienced nothing but warmth.
Tomorrow, there will be a whirlwind of activity, starting with the Flyers Alumni conducting hockey clinics in the morning, a tour of city and a game in the evening.