Prince George, B.C. – It’s a stretch during a hockey season that’s always labelled as ‘good bonding time’ for players, and the Kootenay ICE find themselves at the beginning of that stretch.
The ICE kicked off a season long five-game road trip Saturday night against the Kelowna Rockets. Since then the ICE have traveled to Kamloops and have dates with Prince George, Victoria and Vancouver upcoming.
ICE Head Coach James Patrick believes the experience of being on the road for over a week will be a ‘fun time’ for players and staff.
“I think real big for the whole team, just bonding, being on the bus, being in the hotel, the meals and I think it’s a fun time,” explained Patrick.
Patrick added, “Besides the hockey part, it’s fun to go on this journey with their teammates, so as coaches we’re excited for them and excited to be around them.”
ICE Associate Coach Jon Klemm agrees, adding a lengthy road trip can benefit a hockey team.
“We haven’t spent a ton of time on the road yet this year as far as overnighters and stuff like that,” said Klemm. “So when you spend that much time together you almost have to get to know each other and it’s always a good thing to know something about your teammate that you might normally not.”
The ICE are three days into the trip and defenceman Sam Huston said it’s been good so far.
“You get to see some new country and play teams that you don’t play a whole lot so it’s really fun,” Huston explained.
Defenceman Jonathan Smart said he’s been looking forward to the trip adding “you really get to know all the guys and you really bond.”
When it comes to expectations, the head coach has one thing in mind.
“Probably the only thing is I want us to be better and learn from our past games,” stated Patrick. “That’s what you’ve kind of challenged or asked them all year long.”
The ICE have the Prince George Cougars up next on the road trip – that’s taking place on Tuesday, December 5 with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. PST. It will be the 14th road game of the season for the ICE. The ICE are 1-1 on the trip so far.
As of Tuesday, the ICE have a road record of 5-8-0-0. The ICE currently find themselves third in the Central Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 13-15-1-0.