Welcome to Bob's Travel Log...or "blog"
if you will.
It's been a fun trip so far to St. John's although
it also came with a bit of a price in the form
of what a royal pain it is to get here.
It's been well-documented elsewhere but in case
you missed it, I'll run down the travel itinerary
from this week:
Tuesday 7:00pm - Depart Glens Falls via bus.
Tuesday 10:00pm - Arrive Montreal airport. Check
into hotel at airport. This also involved the
players unloading all the hockey bags and equipment
off the bus and into a storage room.
Wednesday 8:00am - Rise and shine and time to
get moving. Long travel day ahead.
Wednesday 11:00am - Fly from Montreal to Halifax,
Wednesday 2:00pm - Fly from Halifax to St. John's
Wednesday 4:30pm - Bus our way through traffic
and finally make it to the hotel.
All-in-all, I don't think it was as tiring as
it might have seemed. We knew what we had ahead
of us and I think all of us have done worse or
longer before (I'm looking at YOU 10-hour overnight
bus-rides back from Norfolk...among other long
journeys). You're always stopping and getting
a chance to stretch your legs or get a bite at
whatever airport. The Booster Juice (and smoothies)
location at the Halifax airport was quite the
popular stop for our guys. So was Tim Horton's
of course. Any of our Canadian players are naturally
going to miss Tim's and want to head over there.
See below for pic of Zack FitzGerald's endorsement
and strategic product-placement.
Good team dinner Thursday night at The Keg in
St. John's. That's a famous Canadian steakhouse
chain that probably most Americans have not heard
of. But all our guys are familiar. I followed
along with what Scott Munroe was ordering. He
sounded like he knew what he was doing. And he
didn't steer me wrong.
The Flyers pick up the tab for this type of event
at the beginning of the season on the Phantoms'
first long trip just to foster more team-bonding
and give everyone a chance to settle down and
unwind together like that. An incredibly classy
move from a classy organization that they have
been doing since before I was part of this team.
I know the players appreciated the gesture and
certainly enjoyed themselves and the food.
At one point towards the end of dinner when everybody
was nice and full, "somebody" was gotten
with a dollop of mashed potatoes on their shoe.
The villian sneaks in down low, places the potatoes
or ranch dressing or whatever, then when he gets
back to his seat everybody starts clinking their
glasses once they have confirmed their own shoes
are clean. I had no idea what was happening (I
thought somebody was going to give a toast...haha,
I'm dumb). So I was told to look down at my shoe
and, alas, I was the victim this time. I have
no idea who got me....a couple of suspects....but
they're just guesses and I'm fairly certain the
code involves a "don't blab" policy.
But I think I'm okay to spill the beans on my
first fall from grace as the helpless victim here.
The weather here could not be better. We were
told that it had been raining or dark and grey
here pretty much every day for the last two months.
Hardly the case for our arrival. Mild and temps
in the 50's. Absolutely perfect.
Whole area is excited for hockey season. They
are the home openers for the St. John's IceCaps
who went 1-1-0 last weekend on their road-trip
to Springfield (loss) and Connecticut (Win). St.
John's sold out EVERY game last year. 6,700 fans.
And these games against the Baby Flyers are the
toughest tickets of all. Quite a few fans of Brayden
Schenn and Sean Couturier up here. And they get
their chance to see them live way up here in the
I was talking to Bryan Rogers who is the long-time
voice of St. John's hockey and he was regaling
me with stories of the wild and exciting Game
7 that the Adirondack Red Wings and St. John's
Maple Leafs played in 1992 with Barry Melrose
guiding the team to their fourth Calder Cup. He's
seen a lot...including Eric Wellwood's older brother,
Kyle, scoring five goals in one game for the St.
John's Maple Leafs back in the day.
Now it's the first encounter for Adirondack against
St. John's since 1999. But it's not the Red Wings
vs. the Maple Leafs. Instead we have the Phantoms
against the IceCaps. But there is still quite
the feeling of nostalgia and old-school about
this weekend with two previous AHL cities both
getting their second-chance and new teams.
But this weekend is also about welcoming the
new. Lots of Flyers and Phantoms fans way up here
in St. John's. We're being told to look around
the arena and that we WILL see some orange. Think
we're kidding? Here's a small sampling of the
tweets that we have received.
Nine Finger ?@JodyWarren1
@PhantomsHockey Tell the guys 2 have a look around,
there will be some Flyers jerseys in stands, me
@PhantomsHockey I'm so excited to watch you guys
On the bright side, I get to see @RinaldoZac @Bschenn_10
and the @PhantomsHockey tomorrow in Newfoundland.
Rena Hutchings ?@Rena_44
@PhantomsHockey welcome to Newfoundland! See you
Friday! #phantomphan #Flyersfan!
Jason Power ?@JasonPower94
@PhantomsHockey can't wait to see ya sat night
in St johns #newfoundland #goflyers #gophantoms
Jessica Byrne ?@byrnejessica
This Flyers fan is pretty excited to see @Bschenn_10
and @PhantomsHockey on the rock this weekend pic.twitter.com/3BAIHVza
The journey in pictures:
First, to get this out of the way. Most common
question I've heard this week: "Where's that?"
Well, here it is. Way over at the tippy-tip-edge
of Canada on an island is St. John's, Newfoundland
right there with all the wind and current of the
North Atlantic. Look how much further east we
are than Maine. And how much more north we are
than Toronto and Quebec City, etc.
Newfoundland Time Zone is 1.5 hours difference
from New York. So their games at 7:30 pm in St.
John's time will begin at 6:00 pm New York time.
Boarding the bus in Glens Falls and getting ready
for the Tuesday evening deaprture to Montreal.
That's Cal Heeter and Andrew Johnston chattinng
on the right.
At the airport during our quick layover in Halifax,
Nova Scotia. Zack FitzGerald loves his Tim Horton's
coffee! And Tyler Brown looks snazzy in the specs.
After a loooong day of travel just to get here,
the team went through a stretching and exercise
routine in one fo the hotel's conference rooms.
They could not get ice availability on Wednesday
night, so stretching out the legs is the next-best
thing. After that, everyone pulled up a chair
for a video session too. I thought it was just
a travel day, but they actually had a little more
in store for the players and it wasn't quite over
when we finally arrived in St. John's.
The souvenir shop at the Delta hotel in St. John's
where we are staying proudly displays their IceCaps
Good morning from St. John's, Newfoundland! And
a very good morning and day it was. One of the
first sunny days they have had here in several
weeks. I guess Mother Nature was simply waiting
for the Phantoms to arrive. A great day on the
Mile One Centre is so named because of the beginning
of the Trans-Canada highway not far from here.
You can't go any further east of St. John's without
being in the water.
From high atop Mile One Centre as the Phantoms
take the ice for practice. This is from my broadcast
location of the game from the visitors' radio
booth. That is also where I shot the preview video.
Another pic of Phantoms practice...this one from
down on the bench.
Terry Murray diagrams the next practice-drill.
Then it's media-time. St. John's long-time broadcaster
Bryan Rogers meets Sean Couturier...who had been
here before along with Brayden Schenn when the
Team Canada Under-18 national squad held their
training-camp here for a month.
The evidence is clear...well, not quite...it's
actually really blury. But that is mashed potato
on my shoe, I promise. The villain will almost
certainly never reveal himself.