Members of Team USA are served a buffet lunch at Mern's Place on their first day in Yarmouth. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
By Tina Comeau
If you feed them, they will come.
Actually it’s the other way around.
When you're hosting six teams in an international weeklong hockey tournament, one of the challenges is that you’ve got to keep them well fed. And we’re not just talking about one or two team meals, but at least four meals a day multiplied by six teams.
Complicating things is the fact that pre-game meals are different from post-game meals. And then, of course, is the scheduling of meals for all of the teams.
To meet the meal challenge during the World Junior A Challenge, the preparation involved putting out a tender call to restaurants in the area. Included in that tender was how many meals would be required and what types of food would be served.
“Those that were interested contacted us,” explains Joanne Wallace, one of the local event volunteers, who is helping to coordinate the team meals.
“Menus had to be approved prior to contracts being awarded and everything had to be approved by Hockey Canada,” she says. “Especially pre-game meals, they are most difficult.
“When they are on the ice they are very strict as to what they are allowed and not allowed to have,” Wallace adds. “Their pre-game meal is high carbs and starches and proteins, and then they have a post-game meal that is actually a bit more relaxed.”
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Those awarded tenders to deliver meals are Mern’s Place, Marco’s Grill and Pasta House, the Colony Restaurant, the Grand Hotel, Wilson's Family Restaurant and T&W Catering.
Shortly after arriving in town on Thursday, Nov. 1, and prior to their first practice, Team USA was eating a buffet meal that had been prepared for the players and coaches at Mern’s Place.
“First I was only doing post and pre-game meals but right now I’m into lunches,” said Myra Ritchie, who runs the restaurant. “Our post menu would be soups, salad, brown rice or white rice, chicken, broccoli sauce, meats to make subs and sandwiches and fruits and yogurt.”
As the week has gone on, there has been some shifting and adjustments made to some of the team meal schedules with those who are responsible for feeding them.
Still, in spite of all of the work Ritchie says they are happy to be participating in the World Junior A Challenge, even though it is a lot of work given the restrictions of the menus.
“I’m hoping later on can they have a really good Yarmouth meal, like seafood chowder and rappie pie,” she says, laughing.