Just prior to Thursday’s charter flight carrying the St. John’s IceCaps and Norfolk Admirals taking off from St. John’s International Airport, the Ameristar aircraft had to spend 10 or 15 minutes getting de-iced.
She landed in Norfolk some three hours later, to 30 degree C temperatures.
It’s been hot and sunny in Virginia these past couple of days, hardly the ‘hockey weather’ St. John’s has been experiencing.
Which begs the question: how in the world do you get your head wrapped around hockey in this weather?
“Yeah, it could be easy to let your mind wander a bit, thinking about going to the beach when you’re supposed to be playing hockey,” grinned IceCaps defenceman Ben Chiarot.
“But this time of year, when the games are so important, you’ve got to be focusing on hockey first and foremost.”
The IceCaps, whose parent club is Winnipeg, itself hardly a travel destination for many, are getting a first-hand view of what it must be like to play hockey in Florida or California.
But as Chiarot points out, it’s important to keep the eye on the prize, as it were.
“Your season could be over in four days if you’re not sharp and not focusing on what you’re supposed to be doing,” he said.
“This is why you play 76 games… you play for these games at the end of the year. You expect everyone else to be ramped up so you need to raise your level too.
“It’s just a bonus having nice weather down here.”