After a productive week of practices, last week concluded with preseason games on Saturday in Charleston, SC and on Sunday at home. It was great to get back into game action after a long week of camp and an even longer summer of training. It was also nice playing against opponents other than your buddies and playing with contact. I dressed for the first game in SC and even picked up a few souvenirs from the game, including a few stitches to my chin and a CCM tattoo after a stick was cross checked into two pieces over my arm. We won the first game against South Carolina 4-0 and lost to Greenville 5-4. I thought that we did a lot of things well in both games and it only made me more excited for the regular season to begin. We also practiced the new 3 on 3 overtime format at the conclusion of both games. I am a big fan of the new overtime rules, it really is exciting to watch and to play.
Back on the Bus
One question that I am often asked about the ECHL, is the travel. With 28 teams from Alaska to Allen, Texas and Brampton, Ontario to Florida, the ECHL is literally all over the map. This equates to a lot of time on the bus. Most teams in our league travel primarily via ‘sleeper buses’ because of the overnight and extended day trips. This past weekend was our first trip of many during the season. We left Atlanta in the morning to travel to Charleston to play there that night. The day trip usually takes around 5 hours of driving time and is the longest that we travel from Atlanta on the day of a game. We left last night (Wednesday) at 10pm for our trip to Florida and drive through the night to prepare to play the Everblades on Friday and Saturday. We are lucky to have an awesome bus driver, Tiny Simmons. He does a great job making sure that the bus runs smoothly, and is spotless.
|View of our bus from the outside|
Inside of the “Boneshaker”
Long bus trips are great for team bonding!
This week we moved out of the hotel and into our team apartments. In the ECHL, teams provide players with housing. We are very fortunate to stay in a tremendous apartment complex here. We are also extremely lucky to have a great booster club who go above and beyond to help us in many ways, including moving in. They supply us with apartment necessities and they even set up the furniture in our units. Their help definitely allows guys to be comfortable so that they can perform their best. The play a big part in making Atlanta, a great place to play and live for us.
Thank you for reading my second blog post of the 2015 season! Also, thank you to those who commented on my last post. Really appreciate the positive feedback. Please feel free to comment below and ask any questions or share ideas that you have for my next post.
Questions from last post:
Q: “Hey Tyler. What was it like playing for 3 separate teams over the course of last season? I’ve always wondered about any pros and cons of situations like that seeing as how playing for multiple ECHL teams in a given season can be quite frequent for a lot of players. Also, being from Johnstown, PA, which was recently winner of the first Hockeyville USA title, I was wondering, have you ever been to and/or played in the Cambria County War Memorial Arena? Best of luck in the upcoming season Tyler!”
A: It’s definitely a unique experience playing on multiple teams during a season. I think last season, it was a pretty easy transition because I played with a lot of the guys on previous teams so that made it easier. It’s crazy how small the hockey circle can feel at times. At this point of my career, I know at least a few guys on each team.
To answer your second question, I have played in Johnstown at the War Memorial! I played there during minor hockey when our team, the Pittsburgh Predators, would travel there to play against the Johnstown Warriors. After the Chiefs relocated, the Wheeling Nailers played a few home games at the War Memorial. I played in two ECHL games there during the 2010-2011 season, one game for the Reading Royals and one game for the Nailers. It was unreal to see Johnstown win the title of Kraft Hockeyville USA this year! It’s an amazing building with a ton of history and character. Slap Shot is also my favorite movie of all time!