Last night the San Jose Sharks began the road portion of their 2013-14 season in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. It was brought to my attention recently that the Sharks will log a league-high 57,000+ miles this season.
The team will make 57 flights, 114 takeoffs and landings. All in all the Sharks will spend approximately 150 hours in the air. That would translate into four work weeks for the average 9 to 5 worker. Don’t feel too bad for them as they fly on a charter with meals, internet access and an overhead compartment filled with DVDs.
This season, San Jose will visit 29 cities. Including home games, the Sharks will play 47 games in the Pacific time zone, 11 games in the Mountain, eight in the Central and 16 in the Eastern zone.
Due to so much travel the Sharks get the fewest practice days in the league. This means the practices they do have are important and must be quality sessions. It is essential that the players have a good diet and maintain a high fitness level.
Such a schedule can have up sides. There is plenty of time for the team to bond over meals, movies, PlayStation and good natured teasing. In the past, all but veteran players had roommates on the road. But the new collective bargaining agreement means everyone gets their own room. There is sacrifice… time away from family and friends and the toll it can take on both body and mind. It’s little wonder that home teams enjoy a home ice advantage. Last and by no means least is the Sharks equipment staff. These dedicated gentlemen work insane hours and are often working while the players and coaches are sleeping.
Sometimes it feels like being part of a rock band. The players are the stars and everyone else are the roadies.”