Friday, March 5, 2010

Legends Week (Part 2)

After returning home from Fayetteville at about 6am, we had a practice on Wednesday at noon. We skated for a little over an hour, then I really went to work. Several of the Legends' jerseys came with their names misspelled, so I've got some sewing to do. I have to remove the misspelled nameplates and sew the new, properly spelled names onto the jerseys. In addition, I had to take a blank jersey and sew numbers on it to make a #5, then peel the numbers off a #6 jersey to turn it into a #7 for Brent Clarke (who came to us after we had ordered the Legends jerseys), then peel the numbers off a #37 so I could make a #19 jersey for Mike Martens (who was a late addition to the Legends roster). It means I've got a lot on my plate over the next couple of days, in addition to my regular duties. I've spent too much time at the rink and on the bus already this week, and it's only going to get worse.
I've also been working the phones and e-mail to try and track down socks to match the Legends jerseys (3 different versions of the 1980 Team USA "Miracle on Ice" jerseys; the home white, road blue, and an alternate red version). We had initially decided to use our regular home and road (white and blue) game socks with the white and blue jerseys, then find a set of red socks for the red jerseys. We figured we could find somebody who had a set of red/white/blue socks (or something close to it) that we could borrow for one game, rather than paying $14/pair for socks we're going to use once (I have boxes of those in the equipment room already from 12 years of specialty jerseys). I tried the Washington Capitals, thinking their socks would most closely match the jerseys. One of their equipment guys said he'd put me in touch with people he knows with the Team USA junior program, which would have been perfect. Unfortunately, that didn't work out. We finally tracked down some acceptable (though not ideal) socks to wear for the weekend (thanks to the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs of the Central Hockey League and our league's Knoxville Ice Bears).

Thursday we faced off against our old nemesis, the Fayetteville Fireantz. We played a much better game this time, and got the result we were looking for, winning 4-3. We still need to learn how to play with a lead, having given up 2-0 and 3-1 leads, but we got the win in regulation and right now we'll take all of those we can get. Tonight was special for our guys...many former Snakes were at the game, having arrived for Legends Weekend. It's good motivation for the current players to see the old guys who won it all with the Snakes. It's not hard to find motivation to play your best when you've got "Dangerous" Dougie Mann and Tom "The Bomb" Wilson watching. Nobody wants to upset either one of those guys by performing poorly. One look from them could make your heart turn cold. I certainly wouldn't want either one of them mad at me. It was cool to see the old guys hanging out with the current players after the game.

Friday morning we practiced at our usual time. After practice we had the Legends on the ice for "practice". It wasn't really much of a practice, more like a chance for some of these guys to knock the rust off their skates. While it was hectic having a bunch of guys come in to get geared up, it was nice to have the extra day so it was a little more spread out. Instead of 30 guys coming in on the same day, we had a few come in on Thursday, a bunch on Friday, and then a few on Saturday. It made it quite a bit less frantic, which was good because my day was frantic enough as it was. I was still working on pulling off namebars, sewing on namebars, and switching numbers. I was waiting for a set of numbers to arrive for Mike Martens, but they didn't show up. I ended up having to take a jersey to Team Sports Supply to make a number 19 for Martens. The only problem was that their sewing lady wasn't going to be in, so they would only be able to heat-press the numbers onto the jersey. I would still have to stitch the numbers down, but I couldn't pick up the jersey until Team Sports opened at 9am on Saturday. It would be a scramble to get the jersey, stitch the numbers down and sew on the namebar before the Legends took the ice for their morning skate at 11am.

My day began especially early on Saturday...Huntsville had played in Pensacola the night before and headed North to Columbus immediately after. This meant they would arrive in Columbus somewhere around 3:30-4am. Since there is no 24-hour security in the Civic Center, I had to be there to let them in. It meant going to bed earlier than I have since I had a bedtime (MANY years ago), but actually turned out to be a good thing. It gave me time to work on the jerseys when there was nobody around to bother me...and I do mean nobody. Even the cats were asleep. I got some good work done while waiting for the Havoc to arrive, and more while I was waiting for their laundry. It made for a long day, but a productive one. We took our morning skate, immediately followed by the Legends. Things progressed fairly smoothly, and the game went off without a hitch.

We took an early lead in the game on a goal by Levi Lind midway through the first period. After a bad second period (which saw the Havoc take a 2-1 lead), we battled back in the third and tied it on a goal by Sam Bowles late in the period. After Justin Rohr drew a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, the Snakes began a rare overtime power play. It took Bowles just 28 seconds to find the back of the net for the game-winner, giving us a very rare overtime win (only our second of the season). It capped off a very long, but very productive, weekend. I was so glad to see it end.

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