Friday October 12th
It was an excited group of players gathered who at Marywood University for a 3:00 pm departure by charter bus towards Niagara Falls, Canada. Not before celebrating two very special birthdays of course. In route there was a stop for fabulous dinner at Mama G’s, in Rochester, NY, before arriving around 10:30 pm at The Peninsula Inn Niagara Falls for check-in. Upon arrival at the hotel Managing Director, Jeremy Walker was there to meet them.
Saturday October 13th
Following great breakfast at Sunset Grill, the team boarded the bus and headed toward their Hornblower Niagara Cruise around the Falls and a truly breathtaking ride.
After picking up sandwiches for lunch, the team continued to The Welland Canal Center in St. Catharines. They arrived in time for a picnic lunch and a chance to observe a large ship in the lock on its journey to and from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Observing how the locks worked was very interesting.
The team was then back on the bus to the first game at Redeemer College in Hamilton, Ontario against Toronto University. After a hard-fought affair the result didn’t go the Pacers way in the end.
Following the game, they shared pizza with Toronto U and then headed to Toronto and check-in at the Hampton Inn Brampton, their hotel for the next three nights. Next, the hungry team headed to the Mandarin Buffet for a gourmet all you can eat experience which everyone enjoyed immensely. At dinner Coach Mastroianni surprised the team with a once in a lifetime experience as a long time friend of his, now working for the Toronto Raptors, scheduled a visit to the Raptors practice facility. Needless to say, sleep came easy.
Sunday October 14th
After breakfast at the hotel this morning, the team enjoyed an exciting ride to the top of the CN Tower and spectacular views of Toronto and Lake Ontario.
The team then enjoyed lunch at Subway not far from the tower. Following lunch, local tour guide Barry met us back in front of the CN Tower and joined the group for a Toronto city tour, as the team explored much of an exciting downtown Toronto.
After finishing the tour everyone said goodbye to Barry and were given some free time to shop and explore additional parts of the city. Not before a group photo at the iconic “Toronto” sign.
Everyone had worked up a good appetite, after all the walking, for the team dinner at Paisano’s, a local Italian restaurant. After dinner the bus then took the team back to their rooms for some much-needed rest.
Monday October 15th
After breakfast at the hotel this morning, the Pacers headed off to their team-building activity Canadian axe throwing. This proved to be one of the highlights of the tour. Split into four teams they then competed against each other by throwing axes at targets. Although a difficult activity, the team took it to heart and competed against each other with much “gusto”.
Once the competition had ended they boarded their bus for a ride downtown to explore the Distillery District, a rebuilt area that once was home to many whiskey distilleries.
After spending a few hours exploring the team had lunch at Toronto’s Big Smoke Burger and enjoyed one of Toronto’s culinary delights, specialty hamburgers. After lunch, and a quick stop inside St. James Church, they found their bus which took them to Seneca College for their second, and final, game of the trip. Yet another hard-fought game didn’t go the Pacers way, but much valuable experience was gained this evening.
After the game, both teams joined together again for some pizza and conversation. After another full day the bus took everyone back to the hotel for one final evening.
Tuesday October 16th
After an early breakfast at the hotel this morning, everyone packed up their things as it was time to say goodbye to Canada. Managing Director Jeremy Walker also said goodbye to the team before heading to the airport for his flight home. The team however had one last stop in Buffalo, NY at Anchor Bar (birthplace of the Buffalo chicken wing) for lunch. They arrived back at school with many wonderful memories and great experiences.