Former St. Lawrence 100-point man and current Florida Everblades forward Mike McKenzie is keeping a journal of his life in American minor hockey. He has agreed to let me share his journals with you every Sunday.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcKenzie11
For more McKenzie journals, search "Minor Updates" in the blog archive.
Jan 10-15, 2011
This week was a bit of a gong show in terms of having much time to do any daily updates so I will make one big update for the whole week.
The main reason for the craziness this week is what I call “the road trip from hell.” It is never easy to travel a long way, play a chunk of games in a short period of time, and then head right back home. This trip was especially difficult. A combination of a bad schedule and ridiculous travel created this hellish trip.
It all started late Sunday night when we boarded the bus for Gwinnett, GA (9-hour trip). It ended up taking a little longer than that since Mother Nature decided to have a nation-wide blizzard. We arrived in Gwinnett and everything was closed, including the rink, so practicing was out of the question. Restaurants weren't even open, so we pretty much begged the hotel to open their restaurant so we could eat lunch and dinner. I know the south is not used to getting much snow but the whole city shutting down seemed a bit ridiculous.
The next day we got to the rink and there had been a concert two nights ago and none of the workers could get in to remove the floor boards over the ice. We made the most of the situation and played a sick game of European hand ball instead to get a bit of a sweat. My team won and I had the game-winning goal, no big deal. After this heated battle, we found out the game had been moved up from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. because of the storm. The time change and weather proved to be a brutal combination. There could not have been more than 100 people in attendance for our loss that night. Right after the game, we packed up, got on the bus and headed for Greenville, SC (couple-hour ride). The next day in Greenville was an off-day, which was nice.
On Thursday, we lost to Greenville, 4-1, and right after the game we packed up again and boarded the bus for Charleston, SC (3-hour ride). We got in after 1 a.m., but still got a great road win on Friday. Right after the game Friday, we packed up again and headed back to Gwinnett (weird, eh?). That was a 5-hour trip, and we ended up getting in at around 3 a.m.
We played our fourth game in five nights on Saturday and gave up a lead with 15 seconds left in regulation, but showed some resiliency and won it in OT. So after playing in four different rinks in 5 nights and logging 20-plus hours of travel on the bus, we escaped the road trip from hell with a 2-2 record. Not too shabby, I'd say.
Jan 16, 2011
Ok, I just woke up from a five-hour nap. At what point does a nap become a sleep? I should be forgiven for my laziness today after that long trip, though. I also didn't sleep one minute on the bus ride home. For whatever reason, I couldn't get to sleep, so when we pulled into the rink at 8 a.m. this morning I was running low on fuel. I had just enough to make it to Starbucks and back before I crashed.
It is good to be back home this week for three home games before the all-star break. I'm looking forward to the all-star break; it will be nice to get a few days away from the rink, even for a hockey junkie like me.
At this point, I am not too sure what I will be doing with my three days off. A lot of the guys with girlfriends have them coming down to visit at this time of the year because of the free time. I ride solo, though, so thankfully I have all my free time to myself, just the way I like it, ha.
I often joke to people that I am married and a slave to the game of hockey, and that is just fine by me for now. A couple of the other bachelors on the team have talked about maybe making a trip to Miami for a night or two, but at this point nothing is for sure. In the end I will most likely stay around here, relax and maybe hit up the beach. Not a bad plan if you ask me.
Jan 18, 2011
Really big day for me today. Yesterday I cleaned my room big time and it is lookin' real nice, but I happened to notice there was that little something missing, so today I went to Best Buy and took care of that something.
Our captain Mike Egener and I went there after practice and I found a nice little deal on a 40-inch Sony Bravia TV. This was my first big purchase ever since I actually started making money playing hockey, so it felt pretty good. Captain Egener unfortunately could not pull the trigger on a purchase because he was a little worried about how the ol' ball-and-chain would react to his spending. That's just another classic example of why riding solo is the way to go — I walked out of there with a sick new TV, and he walked out with long, serious conversation awaiting him at home.
While I was on my spending spree, I also decided to buy the cable to hook my laptop up to my TV, so now I can use NHL Game Center and watch it on the big screen. Brilliant, sometimes I really surprise myself with these great ideas. It was a great little Tuesday afternoon.
Jan 20, 2011
Waking up this morning I got out of bed and had a little extra weight off my shoulders. I finally busted my little scoring slump last night and did it ever feel good. We also won the game, which was great as well. It was a total run-and-gun game and needless to say our coach was not pleased with that kind of play, considering he is a defense-first type of coach.
If he wasn't happy with us last night, then he sure as hell wasn't this morning either. Practice today was just one of those days where it looked like everyone decided they were going to be an awful hockey player for the day. Passes were way off the whole practice and guys were falling all over the place. I'm not sure why it happens, but every so often a practice like this goes down and it is not pretty, that's for sure. It is much too nice out to be inside on my computer, though, so I'm heading out to the pool to try and get some sun and enjoy this Florida weather.
Be jealous everyone.