THE University of Manitoba men's hockey team will take in the sights and sounds of Europe and get a head start on their regular season at the same time.
The Bisons have started training camp early this season as they prepare for four exhibition games in Europe from Aug. 25-Sept. 4. The European tour begins with two games in Germany; the first on Aug. 27 against Rosenheim and the second against Klostersee on Aug. 29.
The Bisons will head to Italy to take part in the Ritten Tournament from Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
Bisons head coach Mike Sirant has taken the team on a European tour two times in the past three years. At the start of the 2011-12 season, the Bisons went to Europe for a five-game trip and had one of the most successful regular seasons in school history. The Bisons advanced to the Canada West semifinals at the end of that season.
"We're hoping the team building, the different type of competition and the preparation that takes place during this European tour will give us a fast start and an edge on our opponents heading into the Canada West season when we get back," Sirant said.
But the trip will be more than just a training session for the players. Between games they will get the chance for some sightseeing and to explore Europe.
"It goes beyond a sports experience. We make sure they have time to see the sights, do some cultural things and get a pretty good life experience. But the primary reason is to prepare for the season," Sirant said.