Today's a big day for U.S. women's hockey defenseman Megan Bozek and her family, who are soaking up the Olympic experience as the team takes on rival Canada in Sochi.
Megan's parents, Tom and Patti Bozek of Buffalo Grove, are in Russia to cheer on their daughter, a 22-year-old Stevenson High School graduate who played college hockey at the University of Minnesota. They arrived in time to see her march in Friday's opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium and were there when Megan had an assist in the team's 3-1 win over Finland on Saturday.
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The team beat Switzerland 9-0 on Monday, leaving them pumped for today's match.
The Bozeks have had plenty to keep them busy when they're not watching hockey, from the four-hour opening ceremony -- which Patti Bozek said was more spectacular than could be seen on TV -- to the traveling entailed in getting around the Olympic complex.
"Thank goodness the weather had been beautiful, so far," Patti Bozek said. "On our first attempt to go to the Olympic Park, we all decided to walk. After walking about 45 minutes and finding out we had at least another 30 to (go), we decided to get a cab."
Trains turned out to be a good option, with Tom praising the Sochi trains as "world-class, clean, sleek, and modern."
Tom Bozek said that one overriding impression at the Sochi games is: "security (is) everywhere."
Both had praise for their Russian hosts.
"Everything is clean and there is just a sea of volunteers, (though they are) not always very helpful because of the language barrier or they just don't know," Patti said.
Still, she added that the locals are "very cute and very bubbly."
But the family's focus is hockey, from cheering at games to toasting American athletes in the Proctor & Gamble-sponsored hospitality house in Sochi, where athletes' families sipped champagne and all sang the national anthem together.
"That was pretty cool," Patti said.