THUNDER BAY, Ont. -- How can one pack even more excitement into nine days of baseball at the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship? Getting all four Staal brothers on the premises is a good start.
NHL stars Eric, Jordan, Marc and Jared were at Port Arthur Stadium on Tuesday morning, adding their high profiles to a tournament that has already been an enormous success. The Thunder Bay natives visited in support of an environmentally friendly initiative developed by tournament organizers, in an attempt to get patrons to visit the ballpark on their bicycles while leaving their cars at home.
"It's a great concept, us being pretty active people and it's a great opportunity for people to get outside and enjoy the weather we've had this summer and support this event," said Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal.
By turning an off-leash dog park beyond the outfield fence into "The Bike Staal", fans have a spot to park their bicycles free of charge, while soaking in the atmosphere at the stadium.
The four brothers rode into the designated parking area on four identical mountain bikes, eventually stopping to lift their wheels into a bike rack before meeting with the media. Helping people achieve a healthy lifestyle while saving the environment is what the promotional event was all about, and Jordan Staal was more than happy to be involved.
"It's always good to get people out and about, getting into physical activity. Obviously with our line of work we do a lot of it and it's enjoyable. It's always nice to be in good shape and feel good about yourself and obviously this event right here is big for going green." said the Pittsburgh Penguins forward. Warren Philp, executive director of the tournament organizing committee, said he was mindful of helping reduce the environmental impact the nine-day event would have on the Thunder Bay area.
Bringing the Staal brothers in was the perfect way to get people interested, while playing up their already legendary status in the community. A few chuckles were shared among the group when Eric was asked why Marc seemed to lag behind during their short bicycle stint around the grounds.
"We just came from a workout and I think he pushed himself a little too hard," said Eric. Though when it comes to saving the environment and preaching an active lifestyle, it could be argued that one can never push hard enough.