The journey begins now for the Colorado Avalanche
On Sunday, the Colorado Avalanche and its entourage leave Colorado for Edmonton. The players, trainers, coaches, and associated staff, including the social media team, of course, begin life in the bubble.
The NHL posted details of what Phase 4 looks like on July 23. Chris Johnston a Senior Hockey Writer with Sportsnet gave us some insight into what the ‘bubble’ will look like for the Avalanche.
This bubble that the Avs will be in for the immediate future looks like it has lots of facilities; coffee shops (not sure how much coffee the players drink), theatres, restaurants, bars, and of course fitness facilities. Reading the information from the NHL and seeing how the team will be in lockdown sounds like being on one of the reality TV shows.
Not sure yet whether this same fencing will be put around the facilities in Edmonton, I’m guessing so. Definitely looks like a secure space. And it has to be when players getting sick with the coronavirus is the outcome.
How will the Avalanche cope with life in the bubble?
Coach Bednar and Gabriel Landeskog spoke about how they think the team will cope with being in such close proximity during this period. Interestingly they both spoke about how well the team gets along. Coach Bednar spoke about the ten-day road trips that the team took earlier in the season and how everyone spends a lot of time together, even when they are not on the ice.
Landeskog also commented about the closeness of the team and how well they all get along. This will certainly be tested, one way or another, over the coming weeks.
Living with your opposition
One of the interesting comments made with regards to being in the bubble is the fact that the teams won’t want to interact with each other. Whilst under normal circumstances I’m sure they socialize away from the rink, this is Covid-19 Play-Off Hockey we are talking about.
The team usually does their own thing back on home ice. From Sunday that won’t be the case. They will be in an environment where the teams they are competing against are using the same facilities and trying their best to solidify their teams’ emotional stability to make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Landeskog commented that it was just like being away at a mini-tournament except they won’t be using mini sticks and playing in the hallway. When he made that comment I pictured a bunch of children doing just that; playing hockey in a hotel hallway with mini sticks.
The same picture of the Avalanche players doing that just doesn’t seem right. I’m guessing that what Gabe meant was that a team of juniors goes away on one of those trips seeing it as a fun adventure. If the Avalanche players can see their time in the bubble that way it will help them stay mentally ready for their time on the ice. Nothing like having fun to make you sharper and more focused when it comes to game time.
Fun, fun and more fun
Knowing the Colorado Avalanche players as we do I’m sure they will find lots of different ways to entertain themselves during life in the bubble. With the social media team present, we might see lots of different fun stunts too, like the mouthguard challenge, for example. I’m sure they will find ways to keep the team from going stir crazy living this way.
Somehow beginning life in the bubble feels like a right of passage. The team did what it took to finish second in the Division. They all worked to get themselves healthy and come back to training camp focused and ready to do the job. Win the Stanley Cup for this 2019-20 season.
Jumping on that plane on Sunday truly begins that journey. And one game at a time gets them the result.