Travel is a part of a hockey.
Days on the road are the norm and spending weeks away from home throughout the course of the season is ordinary.
But making the 14-hour trek to Shenzhen on Tuesday was something none of the players or staff had ever experienced in their professional lives.
Sure, many of the group participating in the O.R.G. NHL China Games have put in some heavy miles on their own time but from a work standpoint? This is trip is in a league of its own.
The direct flight departed Calgary on Tuesday afternoon and landed in Shenzhen at 7:00 p.m. CST … on Wednesday. In addition to the 14-hour commute, there is a 14-hour time difference between Calgary and Shenzhen to factor in.
Working with the medical and training staff, players and coaches were given a sleep plan to help them acclimatize to the time change, keeping their bodies on track ahead of their game against the Boston Bruins on Sept. 15 (12:30 a.m. MT on Sportsnet). Every seat on the plane chartered to Shenzhen fully reclined into a bed, allowing players to fully stretch out for a more comfortable rest.
The Flames staff also strategically planned out meal service to add to the acclimation process, making sure nutritious meals were served at the appropriate times.
After landing, going through customs in Shenzhen and busing to their downtown hotel, the boys got in a quick, light workout after supper to work out any kinks from the marathon flight.
Tomorrow will see the Flames hit the ice for the first time in Shenzhen, officially kicking off main training camp. CalgaryFlames.com will be bringing you all sorts of coverage from China over the next week and a half so keep your eyes peeled for videos, photos and stories!