Life in the NHL Bubble - Week 4

Bill Lineker, CPA | CA | Managing Director

I currently live in a unique environment where the population is declining, not growing, much like some of the prairie towns that I grew up in. Two groups that have remained constant are the number of COVID testers and security guards, the guardians of our domain.  The NHL is committed to ensuring the Bubble remains COVID free! 

It feels like I have been in the Bubble forever, but it’s only been about 48 games, and 25 days.  That means that more than half the possible games have already been played, but we still have over 40 days and nights to go. The time has gone by rather quickly due to working 2 or 3 games per day.  It will soon seem like we hit quicksand as the number of games slows down, with a maximum of one daily game…. most often in the evening.   

I am impressed by the fitness and strength of the players, as we see them working out before or after a game.  Most of the players are really not that big once they are off their skates, with a few exceptions like Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov, who appears like Andre the Giant next to his 165-pound teammate T.J Tynan. Long gone are the old days of a pre-game beer and smoke. With the extra non-working time we will have, there is no reason for me to not to be super fit by the time October rolls around. Maybe I will be inspired by the young guns working to keep themselves in tip top shape. 

I was at Chop having a meal after Tuesday’s Chicago vs Vegas game, and was a bit surprised to see a few or the Blackhawk players carrying their own hockey bag and sticks back to the Sutton, just like I have to do when I play in the winter. They, however, have 8 sticks wrapped in cellophane and I tote my one Sherwood PMP.  Another big difference is that a number of the players subscribe to a private service like NetJets or Wheels Up, so that they have a private jet waiting for them at the airport, destined for Helsinki, Kelowna, or wherever they call home, if they get eliminated. 

Our crew is now running like a well-oiled machine, as we seem to have all the “kinks” worked out. I think we have encountered almost every situation a hockey game might have, including some unusal penalties, but no old-fashioned bench clearing brawl yet. The crew is getting along very well, with each person finding their comfort zone.  The NHL opened a small social room in our hotel as we are not permitted in anyone’s room, which allows us to play crib or board games and hang out together when we have a chance. 

The ice at Rogers Place seems to be holding up very well, despite there being so many games played in a short period of time. I am glad that our igloo-like working conditions have contributed in a small way to optimal ice conditions and the viewing pleasure of all those watching on TV. The cost of playing a role in hockey history!  

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