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Life on the road - Manitoba Moose

Moose Tracks Blog

Life on the road

By: CK Nakhwal | Published: November 25th 2015

By the time you read this the Manitoba Moose will be up-up-and-away; off on their second longest road trip of the season.

It starts with a flight to Toronto (before a connection to Cleveland) the morning of November 24th and wraps up late on December 6th with a flight home from Toronto.

Adding up to 13 days, the trek in includes six games in four cities with stops on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border; and let’s not forget plenty of airport/flying and bus time.

Here’s a brief outline of the plan;

  • Fly to Cleveland (via Toronto) November 24th
  • Play the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland November 25th and 27th
  • Bus to Milwaukee November 29th
  • Play the Admirals in Milwaukee December 1st
  • Bus to Chicago immediately after game in Milwaukee
  • Play the Wolves in Chicago December 2nd
  • Fly to Toronto December 3rd
  • Play the Marlies in Toronto December 5 and December 6th
  • Fly back to Winnipeg immediately after the second game against the Marlies

Now, you might look at that and think there are days off in there but I didn’t bother to enter all of the practices scheduled for Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Toronto because it makes me tired and I’m just writing about it.

Pulling off a mission like this takes a lot of work; from the equipment staff (Robert Cook and Graham Watt), to the athletic therapy staff (Scott MacLeod and Jake Wolff), to the coaches (Keith McCambridge, Mark Morrison, and Will Craig), to the players (oh, and a broadcaster) - it’s a team effort.

And there’s one other person, the person behind all of the details; Director of Hockey Operations Brad Andrews.

Andrews started putting the pieces in place for this trip (and all of the Moose travel) back in August when the American Hockey League schedule was released. He looks after everything from booking hotels, to setting up flights and buses, to pre-and-post-game meals at rinks and hotels along the trail, and also reserves ice times for practices.

Even though all the parts of the journey are in place well before the team leaves, Andrews rarely takes a break during the actual trip. Instead, he’s usually pacing a hallway with his phone glued to his ear sorting out details so things are the way they need to be for the team to be in position to perform.

Interestingly, as crazy as all of this sounds, Andrews says he’s used to it and adds many of the players are too.

Turns out their experience with the St. John’s IceCaps prepared them for this kind of life. The IceCaps had seven road trips all of last season, but other than one brief outing they ranged from ten days to two weeks apiece.

“This would be fairly similar to what we encountered in St. John’s” he said during a quick chat after practice a few days before the trip started.

Brad added there is a notable difference between life on the eastern seaboard and being based in the middle of the continent.

“Generally in the Northeast, branching out to Upstate New York and part of Pennsylvania, you’re dealing with teams that are close together.”

A fact that reduces the travel between cities and games once you’ve made that initial jaunt away from your home base.

But thanks to Andrews, and the tireless work of the entire Moose organization, the trip somehow shifts from daunting to manageable – even comfortable in its own way - a critical factor for the guys in uniform chasing their NHL dreams.

The Manitoba Moose play the first of six straight on-the-road Wednesday, November 25th in Cleveland against the Lake Erie Monsters.

Go to moosehockey.com to listen to the game starting with the pre-game show at 5:45 pm.