|North Bay Battalion|
|Owen Sound Attack|
|Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds|
|Acadie-Bathurst Titan||Baie-Comeau Drakkar|
|Blainville-Boisbriand Armada||Cape Breton Screaming Eagles|
|Charlottetown Islanders||Chicoutimi Sagueneens|
|Drummondville Voltigeurs||Gatineau Olympiques|
|Halifax Mooseheads||Moncton Wildcats|
|Quebec Remparts||Rimouski Oceanic|
|Rouyn-Noranda Huskies||Saint John Sea Dogs|
|Shawinigan Cataractes||Sherbrooke Phoenix|
|Val-d'Or Foreurs||Victoriaville Tigres|
ROAD TIPS – Day Six
After a morning breakfast at the hotel, the Silvertips bused over to the Brandt Centre for an early practice that lasted around an hour and a half. The long skate gave me enough time to poke around the arena to get some good pics, while testing out what must be the most comfortable seats in the entire Western Hockey League. Every seat in the Brandt Centre is padded, and there are some terrific sight lines all around the arena. With a capacity of 7,000, it’s the second largest building in the East Division behind Saskatoon’s Credit Union Centre.
There were three goalies at the skate today, with Andy Desautels once again joining Kent Simpson and Luke Siemens. You can tell by his demeanor that Simmer is ready to get back out there again – he’s showing that same confident focus and intensity that we’ve come to recognize over his three years in the Dub.
It was a quiet afternoon getting work done in the hotel before we headed to White City, Saskatchewan for the highlight of the evening, and quite possibly the entire trip – dinner at Ryan Murray’s house.
White City is located less than 10 miles east of Regina, and was accessible by Ryan’s watchful navigation. Though he had a Hockey Canada conference call at 5 pm, he was still able to lead us through a thorough tour of the entire town, which included the golf course, the elementary school, several outdoor hockey rinks, and perhaps most importantly, the Okie Dokie Convenience Store & Deli. Taking the bus’ microphone and addressing the team confidently, he acted as the ambassador / tour guide to White City, which, with its wide, snow-swept fields glistening with gleaming powder, more than lived up to its name.
Z navigated the bus through the winding streets of White City, which must have raised a few eyebrows from the people poking out the windows and some of the cars passing by. By the time we arrived at the Murray residence, a pinkish / bluish Saskatchewan sunset was silhouetted by the (poplar and spruce?) trees that ranged up along the side of the street. There’s so much sky out here.
We were treated to a freshly prepared meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes and potatoes au gratin, veggies, cabbage rolls, jello salad and dinner rolls, followed by fresh apple pie and cheesecake, with fudge squares available for anyone who drifted by. Not that I will ever, ever complain about our eating arrangements on the road (in fact, I’m eternally grateful for the constant supply of chicken parm and meals at the Ellensburg Pasta Company and Boston’s Pizza), but to be able to eat a home cooked meal at our own pace with friendly, leisurely conversation was such a treat on such a long roadtrip, and was right up there with any dinner I’ve had with this hockey team, rivaling those dinners in years past at Medicine Hat’s Cypress Club. I walked around from table to table, chatting with Ryan’s mom and dad, the players, the coaching staff, Z, and everyone at the house was in agreement that this was a great night. The players were at their best behavior, and as far as I’m aware, no salty pockets were involved in the evening’s events.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“As you can see, it’s rush hour here in White City.”
-Ryan Murray, over the bus microphone clarifying that the momentary delay at a stop sign near his house was due to three cars traveling towards the Trans Canada Highway
BONUS! A quick chat with Rasmus Rissanen!
What was your impression of White City?
It was really nice – there were actually some really nice, big houses. Murray’s house was great, and it seemed safe and a good place to live.
How has Saskatchewan been for you so far?
Regina has been fine so far. The hotel and rinks have been great. I haven’t seen most of the other cities yet, and we’ve spent time at the hotel so far, so I’m having a good time.
How have the long bus rides been treating you?
They’ve been OK. I bought a new DVD player, so I’ve been watching some movies – Happy Gilmore, Gladiator. I can’t complain.
I understand you’ve studied English since you were much younger, but when did you really start to feel confident and speak it regularly?
When I got older, and scouts were asking me questions, I started to learn more English and use it much more.
Did you ever turn to movies, TV shows, or music to help you get a feel for English and some slang as well?
Not really any movies, but I would always read hockey websites, and they helped me. I also watch House and CSI Miami – I eventually was able to watch those shows and understand without having to read the text.
Is there any place in Finland Saskatchewan is similar to?
Ahhh, maybe. It’s pretty cold here, so maybe northern Finland. It’s very flat here. Back home, we don’t have that. There are more hills. But the weather is pretty much the same – cold, lots of snow.
The holidays are coming up. Any chance that World Juniors will be impacting your Christmas plans?
I think so. I first go to camp in Toronto – I think we play one exhibition game against Canada, and maybe Murray. My parents are coming – my best friend and girlfriend, too. It should be a nice Christmas. To have my friends, family, coaches, girlfriend and everyone so close should be special.
Thanks again for checking out Road ‘Tips! We’ll update you again after once we pull into Brandon early Thursday morning.
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