Being away from home...even though home is currently in a very different state given the tear down of the Centennial arena... means the Steinbach Pistons have had to prepare quite differently as they'll be on the road for over a week.
"It's been complete insanity," says Jeff Eidse, the Pistons Athletic Therapist/Equipment Manager. "This year is drastically different. With the whole tear down, it's made things really nuts. There's been a lot of organizing, a lot of thought about what we'll need for essentially a two week road trip. There's been moments of sitting and just staring at all the equipment."
Eidse details all that has been packed, loaded and brought to Portage. "Equipment wise, we have a second set of everything. Shin pads, elbow pads, shoulder pads, all the gear. Helmets of every size, pants of every size. The biggest addition that we don't usually do is the jersey's. We've brought both of our sets of jersey's, so that's a big add. We've got an entire extra bag of sticks. We've got our saws, skate sharpeners, riveters, sewing kit, massage guns, Gatorade sports drink and I'm sure there's other stuff."
From the medical side, Eidse says the space has been totally utilized. "Our medical bag is busting at the seams. We've got so much in there because we don't have cupboard space. We've packed the trunk to within an inch of it's life, too. With all the extras like tape, there's no extra room in there which I'd normally have for extra medical supplies. It's pushing tight, that's for sure."
You may think being closer to home, around a two-hour or so drive, would make it easier on Eidse knowing that if anything is needed, it can be brought. However, for the two time Turnbull Cup champion trainer/equipment manager, he doesn't want to even think about needing that option. "Sure, it's the case. Everybody has said that but I don't want to hear it, I want everything we need here, now. Having to deal with all that or organize all that would be just a headache I don't want, it be much more stress on me. It's far less stressful having everything we need here."
Steinbach is set to start their Centennial Cup tournament Thursday night against Collingwood and Eidse says from his point of view, the team is in the best position off the ice heading into that game. "We feel really good. Everything has gone really smoothly and guys are dialing back in. First practice is always a bit tough, there's some organizational pains with getting things set up with the space that we do have here. As soon as we get to game day, I'll get here early to make sure our stuff is set up perfectly so our guys don't have to think about anything other than the game."
Getting everything ready is one thing but getting it on the bus to travel is another. That's where Eidse leaves it up to the players. He says this year, they've done an above average job. "Packing the bus they've done really, really well." Eidse chuckles a little and adds "cleaning, laundry, waters, other duties, a little less but packing the bus, that's been spot on."