Monday, August 23, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2003), Part Deux

Here's the second part of my Coyotes Training Camp diary. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 4, 2003:

Today was mass confusion. The new gear came in with the new team colors, and all the guys who had already been suited up were exchanging their black pants and helmets and black, green and red gloves for the new red stuff. It was weird to see the Coyotes in all red gear. To add to the chaos, a few more guys showed up. Luckily, one of Stan's assistants returned from L.A. Jason Rudee had gone to help set up the rookie camp, then came back to help Stan. That left two guys to do the change-over while I set up the bench and helped out with the laundry. To make matters worse, all the players who were involved in the fashion show needed to have their skates sharpened after walking around on the stage in them. It reminded me of the team picture we took last season outside Blades. The picture came out great, but it was a huge pain to resharpen that many pairs of skates right before practice.

I met Tyson Nash today...I knew he was small, but I had no idea just how small. Like a lot of players, he looks bigger on TV with his equipment on. He had just arrived in Phoenix and was adjusting to the heat by walking around shirtless. This kid is built. He looks like a miniature Shaun Peet...that is, if Shaun Peet had Stephen Margeson's hair.

Monday, September 8, 2003:

After a weekend off, it was time to get back to work today. The Players haven't skated since Thursday, but they've kept busy with a slew of promotions all over the valley to promote the new look of the Coyotes.

I met one of the Ferraro brothers today...I think it was Peter (or was it Chris?). Oh, well...what's the difference? They're twins. The only apparent way to tell them apart is that Peter has a mole on his face (or was it Chris?). It's funny to watch these two in action. They look, sound, and act virtually alike (as one might expect twins to do). It's like somebody tried to clone the perfect hockey player twice...but 1/8 his size (just kidding). Anytime one of them gets something done with his equipment he shows it to his brother, who immediately has to do the exact same thing. They're ganging up on poor Stan, and I can tell they're driving him crazy. It reminds me of the movie "Multiplicity", in which Michael Keaton clones himself.

I haven't had much contact with Gord...his training room is on the other side of the facility (a pretty good hike in this place) and he's usually pretty busy over there. I have seen enough to know that he's very funny...he's always kidding around. I think he's made me laugh every time I've seen him. He walked into the equipment room with the new Trainer/Equipment Manager Directory, open to the CHL section. He said, "Who the hell are the New Mexico Scorpions?" loud enough for me to hear, knowing full well that I work for them. Later, he walked into the room carrying a couple of boxes he brought over from Receiving. He said, "It's okay, equipment guys, I've got it. Don't worry about anything, I can handle it." There's a sort of friendly, joking rivalry between Trainers and Equipment Managers. Members of each profession like to kid the other about who works harder, etc. I've seen it before, but Gord is a master at it.

I met Pat Conacher today. I should say I met him again today. We were introduced, but I had met him once before when he was playing for the Kings and I was working for the Phoenix Roadrunners, the Kings' IHL Affiliate. He was a great player. He played the game the way it should be played. He worked hard every shift and played smart. He's also a great guy. He's a Coach in the Coyotes' minor-league system now (He's coaching the team's AHL affiliate, the Utah Grizzlies).


  1. Good stuff here Smoke... It's a shame this didn't happen a few years later for you to get to be around Gretz. Enjoyed reading your stuff.

  2. Gretz was with the franchise at this point, but he wasn't the Head Coach yet. I did carry my Gretzky stick with me to the rink every day in case he showed up so I could get an autograph. Never happened.

    When I worked with the Phoenix Roadrunners a couple years later, we would cross paths now and again at the practice rink. I was embarrassed the first time he showed up for their practice (on the other rink) and all of our guys went up and asked him for autographs...just like a bunch of little kids.

  3. I got ya... Forgot he did the ownership group stuff first.