We’re back and even a day early this time. Friday night games require pushing everything up a day… the blog, practices, and my weekly tradition of eating ice cream on Thursdays. Being a pro athlete requires #sacrifice and I will eat ice cream on Wednesday if the team needs it.
Saturday night was another eventful night at Dickies arena. On the floor, our team secured a difficult victory against the Colorado Mammoth and it was great to play once again in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. A trip to the Rockies greets the team this week. Getting there, on time, was a challenge though.
This week, while much of the northern US and Canada prepares for a snowstorm, our team had to make the arrangements necessary to get everyone to Denver on time. That required some of us to fly in early to Denver.
The biggest concentration of guys on our team come from Ontario with most guys flying out of Toronto, and a few out of Ottawa. As always, this league requires players to stay on their toes and ready for anything. Four of our Toronto players had their Friday flight cancelled last weekend, missed practice Friday night, and had to fly to DFW on Saturday morning.
We play Friday night in Denver for the second half of our back-to-back with the Mammoth. One of the unique parts about this league is that most players don’t live in the market they play in. Our team is a little different with six of us living in the metroplex, but our other players are scattered across the US and Canada.
Our Alberta contingent mostly flies out of Calgary, although many of them have to drive from Edmonton to catch their flights, a far enough drive before you factor in Alberta weather. Tyler Burton comes in from Lethbridge, which is south of Calgary. The Alberta contingent features one of our oldest players Tyler Burton and our youngest, Mathieu Gautier. What a crew.
Our other big contingent comes from British Columbia, where there is a mix of mainlanders and Island Boys. The BC crew flies out of Vancouver, while the Victoria lads have to take a ferry from Vancouver Island to the mainland, then get to the airport. The ferry seems like a fun voyage and a beautiful trip to the out of towners, but it gets to be a significant pain for the local guys. And then sometimes you forget to book a ferry ticket all-together. All Panther City fans should reach out to my good buddy Patrick Dodds and ask about his ferry trip (or lack thereof) this past weekend.
In the US, we have guys flying from Knoxville, Tennessee (Tony Malcom), Washington, D.C (Connor Sellars), Tulsa, Oklahoma (Callum Crawford) and Atlanta, Georgia (Liam Byrnes). Then there is our now large travel party coming from DFW. While we are on this subject, our Manager of Operations Amanda Miller does an outstanding job of keeping the operation running and coordinating travel for the whole team and staff. She is incredible at what she does.
This is all to say that travel in the NLL can often be a challenge, and that is before you factor in weather. Veterans of the league would rightfully roll their eyes at a rookie talking about the difficulties of travel, and I have had pretty good luck. But every older guy in the league has a hilarious, depressing, or scary travel story. Life in the big leagues, I suppose.
These rare occurrences aside, the travel is all together very fun and reconvening with the guys every weekend is always a highlight.
For me personally, it is also a special weekend as my girlfriend now calls Denver home. Luckily, I got my Valentine’s flowers in early this year, so I am in the good books, and I have more than 20 tickets reserved for a large contingent of friends and PCLC fans.
Like last week, this week is a huge game in the standings for us, as the Western Conference remains unrelenting. And, like last week, I am excited to tackle that challenge with this great group and put out an effort we can be proud of.
Wherever you watch from this weekend, don’t be afraid to tag our team socials @panthercitylax.
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