Six games over 12 days, almost 40 hours on a bus and over 3,600 kilometres is what is in front of the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Two of the busiest members of the Warriors’ organization over the next two weeks as the Warriors embark on their biennial U.S. Division road trip in Washington and Oregon will be athletic therapist Brooke Kosolofski and equipment trainer Matt Dyck.
“I always like coming down to the States, it just seems like it’s a different beast and a different atmosphere down here, so it’s a lot of fun,” Kosolofski said.
Kosolofski and Dyck will need to be prepared for any situation that may come up for the players during the six-game trek.
Dyck says a lot of preparing before the road trip is needed to make sure they cover all their bases.
“We make a list and are checking it twice,” Dyck said.
He will start going over what will be needed for the journey about two weeks before they hit the road.
“It’s more than just what you see on the ice, you’ve got to have five times the amount of that, so these long trips, there’s a lot of preparation,” he said.
“Every day’s different, you don’t come into the rink and think today’s going to be the exact same as yesterday.”
Anything can happen from an injury standpoint while the team is on the road and Kosolofski has to make sure the team can deal with whatever challenge is in front of them.
“It’s always a lot of work, but that’s why you do the job, you enjoy it, you like being around the guys,” he said.
“I look at it as just a normal game anywhere that we’re going on the road, obviously we pack a little bit more, just want to make sure that we have more than not enough.”
The Warriors currently have six players listed on the injury report from players out multiple weeks to just day-to-day injuries, giving the players the right equipment to work their way back into the lineup is key.
“We are banged up right now, but the guys are doing what they can do to make sure they’re giving themselves the best chance and possibility to get back in the lineup, so that’s all you can really ask for,” Kosolofski said.
“Everything stays the same, you do treatments in the morning at the rink and getting guys ready for the game, so it doesn’t change too much for me.”
This will be Dyck’s first trip to the U.S. Division after travelling with the team to B.C. last season during his rookie year.
“This trip’s going to be really special, I’ve actually never taken a hockey trip to the States, so all these places are actually brand new to me,” said Dyck.
“I’m excited to be around the staff, the players and make memories.”
Kosolofski says he remembers his first trip with the team to the States, which was an eventful one, to say the least.
“That was my real welcome to the Western Hockey League, that trip,” he said. “That game in Portland was an eye-opener for sure, there was a lot of stuff going on and a lot of guys getting banged up.”
Kosolofski says Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena is his favourite to visit over the course of the trip.
“The atmosphere down here is different, there’s a lot of energy in the buildings, there are lots of chants and horns, it’s kind of fun,” he said.
“You only get down here every two years, so you look forward to it and it’s just a good thing to look forward to and have a lot of fun with.”
The Warriors open their six-game road trip on Wednesday night when they head into Spokane to take on the Chiefs.
Following that, the Warriors make their way to Kennewick, Wash. to face-off with the Tri-City Americans at the Toyota Center on Friday. The Warriors meet up with Moose Jaw product Reece Newkirk and the Portland Winterhawks at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.
They battle the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday, the Silvertips in Everett next Wednesday and the road trip wraps up against the Hurricanes in Lethbridge on Friday, February 21st.