By Nathan Barnett / Special to LAKings.com
Getting paid to play sports is not all glitz and glamour, especially in the minor leagues.
Ontario Reign play-by-play broadcaster Nathan Barnett took the time to help document his club’s recent ECHL road trip up to San Francisco for LAKings.com as part of this latest installment of Minor Developments.
Here is a closer, behind-the-scenes look courtesy Barnett and the Reign:
Thursday, December 21
1:15 pm – Load the bus with equipment, bodies, snacks, and drinks (and movies!)
2:01 pm – Wheels rollin’ – 425 miles to go
2:05 pm – The Dark Knight Rises flickers on the 10-inch screens—epic start to the trip
4:45 pm – Sun nearly set over the western mountains in the Central Valley as Savages opens with a charming monologue (“Just because I'm telling you this story...doesn't mean I'm alive at the end of it.”)
5:38 pm – Arrival at Harris Ranch in Coalinga. Fill up with good steak (five different kinds of beef eaten at our table)
7:10 pm – Bus back to work in the dark of the night
9:00 pm – After 20 minutes of Zoolander, which then froze right at the Orange–Mocha–Frappuccino scene, Jackass 3D commences
10:02 pm – Arrival at the Cow Palace arena for equipment load–in
10:16 pm – Leave Cow Palace for hotel
10:33 pm – Arrive at La Quinta Inn and Suites and hit the hay for the night
Friday, December 21
9:05 am – Continental breakfast at the hotel (forward Kyle Kraemer always goes for the mini-Belgian waffle maker)
9:28 am – Bus heads to the Cow Palace for the club’s morning skate
9:42 am – Arrive in the rain at the Cow Palace (behind the squeakiest windshield wipers ever)
10–11 am – Team changes, stretches and enjoys locker room country music
10:50 am – San Francisco Bulls come off the ice, Zambonis go on to the ice, prepping for Reign skate
10:57 am – First Reign player comes out of the locker room and arrives on the ice; Chris Carrozzi is ready to go, on the playing surface before the Zambonis are even finished
11:10 am – Reign practice begins
11:50 am – Practice ends
12:30 pm – Food arrives (a little late). Buca di Beppo is widely regarded as the best pre-game meal on the road so far this season.
12:58 pm – Team leaves from Cow Palace
1:10 pm – Arrival back at hotel
1:15 pm – Zzzzzzzz. Nap time begins— forward C.J. Stretch notoriously sleeps for quite a while.
4:47 pm – Load bus, check out, and leave for the game
5:00 pm – Arrival at the Cow Palace via a quiet and focused bus
5:30 pm – Team meeting and final preparations
5:40 pm – Players get ready suiting up and stretching
6:41 pm – Players on the ice for warm-ups
7:28 pm – 8:44 into the first period, Colton Yellow Horn scores the first Reign short-handed goal of the season (last ECHL team to do so): 1-0 Ontario.
9:40 pm – Final seconds tick off in a 3-1 Reign win (19th of the season, 39 points)
10:26 pm – Leave Cow Palace after most everyone sat on the bus for 30 minutes waiting for Yellow Horn to get stitched up
Saturday, Saturday 22
4:05 am – Pullover on the side of the highway. Finally the constant beeping we have all heard and the reason for the bus’ sub-60 degree temperature is revealed: the heater is broken
4:20 am – Back on the road after filling water bottles with water from melted ice inside the coolers to help flush out the broken unit (beeping still going)
5:50 am – Weary crew arrives back at Citizens Business Bank Arena
6:00 am – Unload gear – time to head home, “Back here at 4:00 pm, commands Head Coach Jason Christie...17 hours later, Magic Happened on home ice, courtesy Yellow Horn (watch video here -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ46fyGf89Y)
Nathan Barnett is the Play-By-Play voice and an Account Executive for the Reign. The Dallas native has spent the last six years in Southern California, including a four-year stay at Pomona College in Claremont where he received his B.A. in Politics. Follow Nathan on Twitter (@nathansbarnett) for behind-the-scenes insights on the Reign.