The road trip.
It’s a rite of passage for junior hockey players around the country each year.
There are some rules or guidelines to these trips, mostly made up by the veteran players. For example, if you need to go to the bathroom on the bus there is a protocol.
“You try to get your pees in before the bus trips because if you don’t you’re in for a long haul trying to hold it in for the whole trip,” explained Rebels captain Turner Elson.
“Don’t wake the vets up to go to the bathroom,” echoed fellow veteran Brandon Underwood.
Of course the vets aren’t without some compassion for the bladder bursting rookies. You can make your way to sanctuary but there is a price to pay in the form of rock, paper and scissors versus the vets.
“If they lose one they go back one (seat), if they win one they go up one and they keep going back,” said Elson. “It can take a long time so it’s killer for them.”
Another golden rule for the rookies is once the game is over and the bus is headed to the hotel, stay in your seat once it arrives.
“Some of the rookies will start to unload their stuff and we’re in the back ready to go and we’ve got a log jam so that’s probably the biggest don’t,” said Underwood.
The vets of course claim the back seats as their own but why is that?
“I don’t know. I think it’s honestly because you’re so furthest away from the coaches so you probably have your freedom to talk about whatever you want to,” explained Underwood.
Both Underwood and Elson were rookies at one point each learning a lesson in road trip etiquette.
“My first road trip I had no idea what I was doing and I bought a huge, massive suitcase for the road trip and everyone made fun of me,” said Elson. “I had no room for it so I had to put it on my seat with me. It was just a bad time.”
“I brought like two shirts, I didn’t bring anything,” said Underwood. “I didn’t bring any nice clothes and we ended up going to a mall and everyone was all dressed up and I was wearing just the team track suit.”
But they are road trip veterans now and have the acquired skills to survive, especially this trip down to the States.
“I’m going to try and get my Christmas shopping done as quick and cheap as possible,” said Elson.