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

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

Just Posted

Surrey provincial court. (Black Press Media files)
Attempted Langley carjacking suspect headed back to court

His lawyer represented the suspect at his first hearing Monday

Langley Animal Protection Society will hold their annual gala Oct. 23, 2021. (Special to The Star)
Langley Animal Protection Society sets date for annual gala to help Aldergrove critters

Dreams Do Come True gala is being planned for Saturday, Oct. 23 with COVID-19 restrictions in place

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Street people at Langley motel should have to cook and clean for themselves

Housing the homeless a good thing, but they also need to help themselves, letter writer argues

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Massey Tunnel will be closed overnight May 28 and 29 to test the tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals. (Black Press Media file photo)
Overnight Massey Tunnel closures coming May 28, 29

Closure to allow safe testing of tunnel’s fire suppression system and overhead lane control signals

Dr. Euiseok Kim is the medical director of the new Abbotsford post-COVID-19 recovery clinic. (Submitted)
Post-COVID-19 recovery clinic opens in Abbotsford

New facility following model of first clinic which opened in Surrey

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

Two small dogs were also discovered by the officer, one had died, and the other was taken by animal control and sent for veterinary care with the BC SPCA. (File Photo)
Body discovered in parked van in Mission with 2 dogs, 1 dead

Remains in state of decomposure, surviving dog sent for veterinary care with BC SPCA

Most Read