Two suits, three shirts, three pairs of pants, six ties and one pair of shoes is what I typically needed to pack for a 10-day road trip in the NHL. I’d be preparing for multiple climates and time zones along with a gauntlet of potential problems ranging from wardrobe malfunctions to illness.
The NHL stands for multiple things. Some call it the Never Hungry League because of the seemingly limitless team dinners, pre- and postgame meals, and travel per diem. Others refer to it as the Never Home League, because, depending on the location of your practice facility relative to your home, in conjunction with the entertainment schedule of your arena, you might spend 14-21 days of any given month on the road. When you’re home, breakfast, lunch and dinner can be counted on and quality hours of sleep will be had. On the road, not all non-fat ranch dressings are created equal. Not all convenience stores are open 24 hours. And not all toilet paper is double-ply.
Above all else, I was scanning our travel itinerary well in advance of our arrival and departure times to plan my naps. Resting was a delicacy I could not put a price on — and I was just a staff member! Being an NHL player is more than just hockey. It’s brains.