Life in the NHL Bubble - Week 3
The play-ins and round robin seeding games are complete, and the true NHL playoffs are here. The intensity of the games seems to have ramped up even though the seats remain empty!
Our Off Ice Official crew was re-located Monday from the Matrix Hotel on ‘Bubble Island’, to the Delta by Marriott, so now we are truly within the confines of the fenced Bubble. It is great not having to wait for shuttles! I counted the steps this morning while out getting some exercise, and we are a short 450 steps from Rogers Place!
Speaking of exercise, we have restricted access to the fitness room in the Delta, so a few of us have taken to walking the Bubble. There are an amazing number of security personnel along the trail, all of which I seem to greet with some form of “Hello, how are you?” They must get tired of hearing that same question all day! These folks are working around the clock, in good weather and bad, and it’s pretty chilly in the morning. Not a job I want any time soon, but I respect these individuals for working and avoiding the CERB lineup.
We were treated to a few hours outside the Bubble Monday afternoon, as the driving range at Victoria Golf Club was made available to NHL staff. It was so refreshing to have a bit of freedom, hitting a few balls on the range and having a relaxing beer and burger. It may not seem like much, but you soon learn to appreciate the feeling of ‘freedom’ from the fences and guards. We have chosen to do this and it is difficult, so I can’t imagine what being incarcerated must do to the spirit of inmates.
The Toronto crew was part of NHL playoff history with Tuesday’s Lightning vs Blue Jackets game going into eight periods. Records set include Korpisalo’s 85 saves, Seth Jones’ over 65 minutes of ice time, and a total of 151 shots on goal and 116 minutes of overtime – making it the longest game since 1936. The stats boys were back at it for 3 games the following day, including a double overtime game. They are certainly earning their pay!
Three of our NHL brethren leave the Bubble Monday, as there will no longer be three scheduled games on any day. We will now consist of seven Edmonton crew and two fellas from Vancouver. One person per game will be able to relax with some down time.
The temperature inside Rogers Place remains cold. I still feel like a reptile most days, conserving my heat while I am in the arena, and heading to the plaza between games to have the sun remind me that my hands are still a part of my body as the heat helps the blood start flowing again. A couple of the older fellas had body temperatures so low that it did not register on the CLEAR app so they are required a wrist band from a nurse in order to enter the hotel!
I am reminded how fortunate I am as I look out my inner hotel window onto the shopping centre below, where virtually every business is closed. I can’t wait until this pandemic is over so that our economy hits reset and folks return to work and normal life, or at least whatever the new normal looks like.
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