Duo's going international

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Usually at this spot on the calendar, Pierre McGuire is preparing for a marathon. Someone went and cancelled his gig.

So when TSN offered to send the high-energy analyst and his play-by-play partner Gord Miller in a different direction, they couldn't possibly refuse.

McGuire and Miller are off to Europe this weekend where they will spend seven weeks chasing hockey players around the continent.

The work begins Sunday at the women's world hockey championship in Linkoping, Sweden. Team Canada begins its quest for a ninth straight championship against Kazakhstan (noon, Ch. 21) and TSN will be there.

Once the women wrap up next Saturday, McGuire and Miller will jet over to Vienna, site of the men's world hockey championships.

The pair will rent a car and drive to Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, for the world under-18 hockey championships, starting April 14.

Once that final wraps up April 24, McGuire and Miller will drive back to Vienna for the biggest tournament, which runs from April 30-May 15.

Whether you love or hate his style, McGuire is meticulous in his preparation and offers insight second to none.

But he'll only have a couple of days between each event to get ready and will have hundreds of names in his head once the professionals hit the ice in Austria.

"But I'm more comfortable about them than I am about the other two," McGuire said with a chuckle.

"I've never done any women's games. But I've worked a lot of women's hockey schools when I was a younger coach.

"I really admire the vision of both Hockey Canada and TSN for wanting to do the under-18 tournament.

"The women's tournament is great and I think everybody knows that product is out there. Nobody's had a chance to watch the under-18s live and in colour back in Canada.

"What we're talking about is a dress rehearsal for the draft, whenever we have one, and also for the world junior hockey championships."

The under-18 tournament is just one more hockey event that wouldn't get the exposure if the NHL hadn't cancelled its season and subsequent playoff run, which captivates fans from coast-to-coast.

For Miller and McGuire, who both have young children at home, this trip to Europe will be much easier on the body than the usual Stanley Cup run.

The broadcasters would be flying back and forth between two consecutive playoff series in the first two rounds of the playoffs. During these three international tournaments, the TSN travel schedule won't change at all for the 31 games.

"The playoffs are a lot of mileage on your body and your brain," McGuire said.

"That's only halfway through. You still have the semifinal and the final.

"You're a wiped-out hombre by the time it's done.

"We won't be travelling much this time. We won't have to leave our respective cities for eight to 10 days."


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