(John McCarthy, 31, grew up in Andover and played hockey at St. John's Prep and Boston University. McCarthy, who has played 88 games in the NHL and is currently on the San Jose Barricudas roster and is playing for the USA men's hockey team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeonChang, South Korea. He will be detailing his time at Olympics by writing a daily diary for The Eagle-Tribune.)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- We're here and, like I expected, it's awesome.

This has been a dream of mine since I started playing youth hockey. It has finally hit me, here in South Korea, that I'm going to be playing in the Olympics.

I was dreading the 12 1/2 hour flight from San Francisco to Seoul because I can't sleep on planes. But it wasn't as bad as I anticipated.

I ended up watching a couple of movies and read a little bit. And all of sudden we're in Seoul.

My arrival went surprisingly smooth. We had to go to a counter to get our credentials validated, which I thought would be packed with athletes. But I walked right up and went through. Customs was a breeze, so it was a nice surprise to get through so easily.

At the airport, I met up with other guys on the team and we took the bus up to PyeongChang and then to the Olympic Village.

I have a few guys I know pretty well on the team. My college roommate at Boston University, Matt Gilroy, is on the team. I know Bobby Butler pretty well. And Chris Bourque and I trained together in the off-season.

We are staying in the Olympic Village in the coastal cluster. Most of the ice sports are staying here, while the snow sports are all located at the mountain cluster, about a 40-minute drive away, which is where the Opening Ceremonies were.

Our rooms are pretty cool, sort of a suite layout, with five of us in three bedrooms and two bathrooms. I am sharing a bedroom with Chris Bourque.

What's great is that the dining facility it right next to our building. We're very happy about that. It's pretty cool seeing all of the athletes, from all sports, wearing their countries' colors and sitting at different tables.

As for hockey, we had our first practice on Thursday. 

The hallway with the locker rooms is pretty cool to walk down. As you come in the door, each country has their locker room so as you move along the hallway it changes from country to country.

It was great to get on the ice with all of the guys. It was a great practice. It wasn't easy, being we had traveled all that way, but I think everybody had a little jump in their step. I know I did. It was also nice getting to know my teammates.

For me, it was special sitting in the locker room, putting on the sweater, with "USA" on it. It's something I'll never forget.  


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