Road Trips Are Fun
While no other barn can match the excitement generated by fans at the Independence Events Center, every road trip is unique and provides memorable moments.
The morning after a loss to the Mallards at home the local hockey team boarded a bus for a journey to Moline, Illinois and an encounter with the Flock at the i Wireless Center.
Several fans gathered for a sendoff to the Quad Cities. Where else can athletes experience this kind of loyalty from their supporters?
After Frank Spevak’s air horn blast most of the players settled in for a three-hour nap which would end as the bus pulled into a shopping mall in Des Moines where the players went several directions for lunch.
Maverick players aren’t only tough, some have iron stomachs, as a few dined on spicy Mexican food just hours before taking the ice.
Others made their way to the food court where lunch was serenaded by a brass band performing Christmas songs.
It was quiet time on the bus again during drive from Des Moines to Moline.
Following the arrival at the i Wireless Center something that still amazes me took place……nineteen players, equipment manager Andrew Dvorak and trainer Wes Fillingame move equipment, jersey and stick bags, medical supplies, skate and stick maintenance equipment and several other items from the hull of the bus to the visiting dressing area and set them up within minutes.
After my climb to the visiting broadcast booth I was met by Mallards intern Sarah, then CHL president Rick Kozuback who had traveled to the QC for the game. On the spur of the moment Rick agreed to an interview and did an excellent job.
I was also greeted by Mavs fan Bob Klem who had driven (along with Robbie Lawson) to the QC for the game. I’ll have more on Klemmer when his Skate with Bob to benefit the fight against Pancreatic Cancer nears.
When I noticed my Ethernet cable was dead Sarah summoned the i Wireless tech guys who installed a new line and we were in business.
That is a great thing about the CHL…..everyone helps others no matter which side they are on.
Following the game (the Mavs won 3-1 on a three-point performance from Podge Turnbull, great goaltending from Michael Clemente and fantastic penalty killing) it was time to pack and head to the bus. Packing for the trip home amazes me too.
I was surprised to see Mavericks President/General Manager and his family outside the bus congratulating the players after the game. I did not know they had made the trip to the Mallards home.
After a quiet ride through heavy fog we pulled into the IEC lot to the sound of Frank Spevak’s air home. Another successful road trip.