Volunteering for the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship: Part 1

Tis the season to...

...volunteer for another big sporting event! And this time it's not curling!

Way back in the spring/summer (I think? It was awhile ago anyways.), not long after I heard Edmonton would be sharing hosting duties with Calgary for the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, I immediately got online and applied to volunteer. The event runs from December 26 to January 5 - perfect timing for me to hide from the guilt and family drama that comes along with Christmas. Plus I'd be off work anyways. Perfect.
The application was pretty lengthy, and once submitted I doubted it actually went through because the system seemed buggy. Oh well, I thought, how could they not accept me? I have three pretty solid curling event volunteer experiences to boast about, and I'm a librarian - come on, I should be a shoe in for some sort of info desk position. And hey, I've emptied garbages as an event volunteer before so I'd do anything. They were obviously going to accept my application.


In October I had a possible chance to go to Ghana, so I inquired about my application status. I already had doubts I had gotten in as I'd heard on twitter about someone else who was already accepted and getting her security check done. I figured I had missed the boat. The email I received back noted they couldn't tell me the status of my application, but that most accepted volunteers were already notified and I would receive an email declining my application at some point in the near future.

That email never came (don't promise something you can't deliver on), but I can take a hint. Turns out I'm not going to Ghana, so I figured I'd have to sleep away the Christmas holiday in my pjs having LOTR, Band of Brothers and Firefly marathons while overcoming academic librarian burnout.

Imagine my surprise then when my Wednesday Night Ladies curling team skip said she knew someone who was looking for 50/50 sellers for the hockey games. Sign me up!!

Of course by this time, the event was only three weeks away. She gave my name to her contact, a few days later I received an email telling me to a) pay my $50 volunteer fee, b) give my team leader my availability, c) fill out an application form (already done obviously) and d) come to the office to fill out a form to get a security clearance done - oh and do all this NOW!

So I did. When I went to get my security clearance form filled out I picked up my uniform:

The black long sleeve shirt will be perfect for curling and I'll definitely keep the scarf after. I'll never wear the toque so it'll be donated. And the puffy vest is too big, as in it makes me look like I weigh 250lbs. So either I'll exchange it for a smaller size before my first shift (?) or I'll donate it too. I'll probably never wear it, at the event or afterwards. I also got a transit pass. I'll admit though, that's quite a lot of volunteer gear for $50!

Since picking up my uniform, I've been in email contact with the 50/50 leader. They're using this whentowork.com site to coordinate shifts, and it's pretty nifty: it'll show all your shifts, everyone's shifts, and there's a swap board too. I figured there's 11 games, so I'll probably pick up 4, right?

Ha. Wrong. I'm working 9 games. That's pretty much the whole week. For four of the days I work the afternoon game, then have a 30 minute break, then work the evening game. Crazy. Unreasonable. When will I eat.

I asked for the Canada vs. Sweden exhibition game off because I'm going with a friend (while the actual games are impossible to get tickets to and if there are tickets they're crazy expensive - the exhibition game is cheap cheap and there's tons of tickets left). I also asked for another game off, which my leader has said is approved but the change hasn't been made on the whentowork.com site, so I'm bound to piss someone off at some point when I don't show up.

It's curious to me that the volunteer committee went from rejecting perfectly capable volunteers, to being so short on volunteers I'm going to end up working 36hrs in 6 days!!

The first game is boxing day. I'll have to go in early to try exchange my vest and get last minute accreditation photos done. Apparently I have to sign in and out for all shifts, which is something I've never had to do at a curling event before. There should be snacks available, but snacks aren't dinner so it's a good thing I don't mind Rexall's hamburgers!

Despite being a bit sad I'm giving up all of my relaxing holiday, I'm pretty excited. I worked a 50/50 game at an Oilers hockey game before and it was really fun. I'll get to see the exhibition game so wont be too sad about missing all the others. I love making small talk to strangers, so as long as it's not a case of "too many volunteers with nothing to do" I'll have tons of fun. I expect the atmosphere will be pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to meeting people from all over the world!

I'll write up part 2 after the event. Only a few more days to go...


  1. Enjoy this once in a life experience, i get your point about coming up short on the volunteers and it sounds like you are working crazy hours. But heck have a BLAST !


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