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Coyotes Game Day Customs, Routines, and Player Patterns

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

Game-day routines come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are ruled by habit, some, of course, by superstition. Some, many, it seems, are ruled by a menu.

Forward Conor Garland has been eating the same pregame meal for as long as he can remember-- salad, potatoes, and pasta with salmon.

"I don't even think about it, it's been the same for so long," he said, "It's pasta with salmon and then I'll have a second plate of sweet potatoes and veggies, a lot of broccoli."

For some, it's not so much what you eat, but with whom. Garland routinely dines with Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller.

And on the road, Garland always walks to a local coffee shop.

Christian Dvorak and Vinnie Hinostroza don't always eat together, but that's their only variable. They both dine on the same meal -- chicken parm from North Italia restaurant.

It seems that chicken parm is rather popular.

"I always eat my pregame meal at noon, and I've eaten the same pregame meal for as long as I can remember," said Christian Fischer . "I just do chicken parm, pasta with vodka sauce, some vegetables and a salad."

Napping can be a bit ritualistic, too.

Jakob Chychrun and Hinostroza stick to 90 minutes. Fischer's can be a bit more Rip Van Winkle at two and a half hours.

And so can the order and form in which the team leaves the locker room to take the ice.

"We all have our handshakes that we do going out for warm-ups and before periods," said Chychrun.

Of course, there's the equipment factor.

Garland puts on the left side of all his protective gear first. Oliver Ekman-Larsson always straps on his left skate before the right. Antti Raanta used to abide to the left-side first rule, until recently.

"I did six for seven years in a row where I put my left skate first, but with all of the injuries and all of the bad luck I've had, now I put on the right skate first," he said.

Preparation, for Raanta, can also include a game away from the game. "I think probably the weirdest thing I do, if we're on the road, when we get to the bus I always have that mindset that I want to get one more level in Candy Crush, which is a little bit stupid, but when you put your head there and concentrate on Candy Crush it kind of relaxes you, you're not thinking about the game too much."

Ekman-Larsson has more of a pre-game habit than a ritual, and it's one that benefits the fans.

"I give pucks away at every arena, it doesn't really matter if you're wearing a Coyotes jersey or any other team," he said. "If I grab a puck and feel like throwing it over, I'll do that. It's important too, the fans are there for a reason, they're there to support you, and I think it goes a long way if you just take two seconds to throw a puck over, smile at them."

There are, of course, those who don't really own any game-day habits. Take Alex Goligoski , for instance.

"Some days I nap, some days I won't," he said. "I don't really have any crazy routine or anything. Half the time I'm annoying other guys because they have their routines. I don't really have a set thing that I have to eat or whatever, it's whatever I'm feeling like."

Likewise, Michael Grabner just goes with the flow.

"There's nothing that I have to stick by, it just what I do, you know?"

"It's just how any person would go to work; they eat breakfast and then go to work and do their thing at work. It's not really superstitious."

Which does beg the question: Can not having a game-day routine be a game-day routine?

Player Entrance Photos Credit: Janelle Etzel - Arizona Coyotes // Player In-Uniform Photos Credit: Norm Hall - Getty Images

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