Tuesday marked the last day of the Colorado Avalanche 2018 Dad/Mentor Trip, and it was set up to be a busy one for the players and staffs' guests.
The fathers got an inside look at what the players go through during a road game day, beginning with a team breakfast at the Avs' downtown Nashville hotel. On the morning of every road contest, the players get together to grab a morning meal, chat with one another and talk about that evening's upcoming game. This time, they brought their parents along for breakfast.
After eating, most of the players and their guests took the second bus to Bridgestone Arena for morning skate. While the players meticulously got ready for their pre-game practice by warming up and getting their equipment ready, the fathers headed to the stands to watch the Nashville Predators' optional skate at 10:30 a.m.
Colorado then took the ice at 11:30 a.m. with a full team session. The Avs' morning skate lasted for nearly half an hour before players started tricking back to the locker room and the fathers/mentors followed suit from the arena seats.
Bridgestone Arena is only a five-minute bus ride to the team's hotel and it takes nearly the same amount of time walking as it does driving, so many of the players and their parents decided to hit the street and take in a little fresh air in the trip back. For those that didn't want to brave the chillier-than-normal conditions in Nashville, a bus was waiting for them.
Upon their arrival back at the hotel, the players and their dads went straight to one of the ballrooms for a pregame meal. It was the usual setup of protein and carbs, with salmon, chicken, vegetables, pasta and a variety of potatoes available for the choosing.
The fathers and mentors then had the remainder of the afternoon to relax or check out Nashville one last time before heading back to the arena. While the dads explored, the players took their customary nap and had one more pre-game snack before getting ready for the contest against the league-leading Predators.
Some of the dads went with the Avs players on one of the first two team buses or walked over to the rink, but the majority took a third, dads-only bus at 5:15 p.m. With their custom Avalanche jerseys and jackets on upon arrival, the group was escorted to one of the arena's restaurants for a pregame reception that featured sliders and other appetizers.
The majority of the group then went to a private suite to watch warmup at 6:28 p.m., while the others trickled in afterward.
The Avalanche's guests were featured several times during the team's television broadcast on Altitude and ended the night with plenty of smiles on their faces as Colorado beat Nashville 3-2 to win its fifth game in a row.
After the final horn sounded, the dads and mentors went down to the locker room to celebrate with the team before everyone loaded up on to three buses and headed to the airport for the trip back home.
It took a bit longer than usual to load the Avs' charter aircraft due to twice the amount of people, and the cold, blistering wind of the Nashville night didn't make the process any more enjoyable for those waiting on the tarmac. However, once on board, everyone was treated with warmer conditions and a variety of appetizers before takeoff.
It was about a two-and-a-half hour flight after the plane took off at 11:20 p.m., and the guests of the players witnessed what post-game travel is like. Each father or mentor sat next to their son and enjoyed a post-game meal, some good camaraderie and a little sleep as well.
Colorado's charter flight landed back in Denver at around 1 a.m. MT, ending a fun four days for players and fathers alike. Many of the dads will head back to their respective homes on Wednesday, but some will stay in Colorado for a few days with the Avalanche hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins that night in the beginning of a two-game homestand.