As we started the trip, one of the first movies to hit the small screens on the bus was “Hot Tub Time Machine” and the song above was featured in the movie…it seems appropriate now that we are back home.
In the end, the Portland Winterhawks finished the trip at 5-1-0-0 and 10 points…both are the best in team history for the trip. Along the way, I got to meet some great people in each city and to see some families of the players and to call games from some of the most historic buildings in the WHL, including the final game ever at the Crushed Can in Moose Jaw.
When we were in Brandon, there was a film crew on hand from Switzerland following Nino Niederreiter around during pre-game and post-game and doing interviews with him. Evidently, Nino is up for some “Newcomer of the Year Award” in Switzerland and they were filming some stuff for the awards show. Who knows, maybe I’ll wind up in the background on the show as they were filming around the bus area after the game.
The trip home was about 26 hours, including meal stops, driver changes and refuels. I had many ask me how you spend 26 hours on a bus…well, all told, we slept, watched five movies, had a study session (can’t overlook the schoolwork), played cards and I burned through about 100 songs on the Ipod. But the trip seemed easier at 5-1-0-0 then it would have at 1-5-0-0…perspective is everything.
Along the way, we had some icy and snowy roads as well as a construction zone in the middle of nowhere Montana that had the road down to the equivalent of a goat track…but I want to thank Kevin Snell, our primary driver from Getaway Charters, for his great driving on the trip. He was with us all the way through the first leg of the trip home and he handled everything well. Kev is our normal driver for every trip, so he is definitely part of the team.
The trip by numbers:
Miles traveled: Approximately 3,371.
Goals For: 30 on 218 shots — 13.8%
Goals Against: 17 on 236 shots — 7.2%
Power Play: 6 for 19 – 31.6%
Penalty Kill: 27 of 35 – 77.1% (3 shorthanded goals scored)
Leading Scorer: Ty Rattie – 3-6-9
For the Hawks, every player who played, with the the exception of Josh Hanson and Keith Hamilton, recorded a point on the trip and the balance was evident in the six games. It was also great to see Tayler Jordan, Derrick Pouliot and Brendan Leipsic (the three players on the roster from Saskatchewan and Manitoba) all score goals on the swing.
Some final photos:
Warm ups in the Wheat City...
Third Period Face Off...
The Hawks bench during the media time-out...
The final team meeting of the trip...
Bozeman, MT...Breakfast Stop
The Rockies...aptly named...
And that’s it…Hawks back in action on home ice on Saturday night at the Coliseum…hope to see you all there!