Vancouver Canucks crawl on the ice after losing a split-squad scrimmage during the NHL hockey team’s training camp in Vancouver, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The 24 teams playing for the Stanley Cup arrived Sunday in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

NHL players take assortment of creature comforts with them to hub cities

Players armed themselves for a potentially lengthy stay with a few of their favourite things

Coffee, pillows, musical instruments, golf clubs, family photos and a lot of video game gear accompany NHL players as they head into relative isolation.

The 24 teams playing for the Stanley Cup arrived Sunday in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton.

Players armed themselves for a potentially lengthy stay with a few of their favourite things.

Exhibition games starting Tuesday in both cities are warmups to the qualifying round starting Aug. 1.

Unless the COVID-19 pandemic derails completion of the 2019-20 NHL season, teams that win will continue towards a Stanley Cup final that could go as late as Oct. 4 in Edmonton.

When they’re not on the ice, the players will spend a lot of time in their hotels. In order to prevent contagion, they’re under NHL orders not to mix with the public.

“There’s going to be a lot of card playing and hanging out around the two levels, or two floors that we have,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins predicted.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin intended to bring some golf clubs.

“You’ll find me putting in the hallway,” he said.

READ MORE: Release the Kraken: Seattle unveils name for NHL franchise

Flames centre Mikael Backlund can’t live without his favourite coffee and the machine to brew it.

“It’s important to me to have my Swedish coffee,” he said.

“I’ll bring my pillow because you never know what the pillows are in the hotels,” Backlund continued. “I need to make sure my pillow is good because that’s one thing I’m picky about.

“Bring a lot of books and my iPad and maybe some treatment things that will help my body recover.”

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is bringing his trusty, travel guitar, to entertain teammates.

“I don’t think it’s about me playing, it’s whether they like listening or not,” the goalie said.

Leafs defenceman Justin Holl already regrets leaving his keyboard behind.

“I actually didn’t bring it back because it was too unwieldy,” Holl lamented. “But it was a bad plan on my part. Now I wish I had have brought it because I’m going to want it.”

Nugent-Hopkins would bring his golden retriever if he could.

“I wish I could bring Sophie in, but I don’t think that’s allowed,” the Oiler said.

Toronto winger Kyle Clifford insists on bringing a fan because he needs white noise to sleep.

For Leafs captain John Tavares, it’s books and a photo of his family.

Oilers head coach Dave Tippett and Leafs counterpart Sheldon Keefe expect to be consumed by the demands of their jobs, so no particular creature comforts required.

“I’m going to treat it just like a road trip,” Tippett declared. “You go in there with a change of clothes.

“Coaches end up watching a lot of video anyways, so you’ll be preoccupied with that I’m sure with so many games going on. That’ll be entertainment enough, getting your team ready.”

Running parallel to the hockey playoffs will essentially be an e-sports convention given the number of players taking their consoles to the hub cities.

“I think just my gaming station, that’s pretty much it for me,” Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine said.

“And a toothbrush.”

— With files from Joshua Clipperton in Toronto.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusNHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson’s SMRT1 Technologies to provide vending tech to Vancouver company

UpMeals will launch 22 machines across Canada using SMRT1’s personalized machines

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Valley of the Springs Winery grand opening event a smashing success

Three of four time slots available during the two-day event completely sold out

New 4.9 hectare fire burning east of Trout Lake

Another out-of-control fire in the Lake Creek area has also grown to 6.6 hectares

UPDATE: Search effort underway for Slocan River drowning victim

The man was swimming near Winlaw on Wednesday.

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Most Read