Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Something A Little Different.

Tonight I am going to switch it up a little bit. If you were listening to the game, you knew that the Stars fell 4-2 to the Weyburn Red Wings and now sit at 7-12-1-1 and fifth in the Bauer Conference. Overall not the best effort, and Weyburn deserved to win. Now that that's out of the way I want to share some thoughts with you that I have been meaning to for awhile, but have just never sat down and done. Given the poor weather and the long bus ride ahead, now is a perfect time.
Those of you who follow Junior hockey closely know that there us far more to this game then simply showing up and playing. There are so many 'behind the scenes' things that often go unappreciated and tonight I want to pay tribute to one of the hardest working individuals involved in this team. I am talking about our bus driver.

Let me preface this piece by first telling you that the current weather is brutal. The highway from Weyburn to Regina is slow moving and there was quite a bit of uncertainty as to whether we would even be leaving the city after the game. Obviously we did, and now for the next five or more hours, our safety is in the hands of our driver.

Our driver is a man named Larry who has fast become a welcomed addition to the North Star family. He compliments the boys, takes a vested interest in the games and the result and most importantly does his job very well. He's on time, reliable and seems to genuinely enjoy his line of work.

Me on the other hand? I could never do what he does. It takes a brave and diligent person to brave tough elements of weather, driving for extremely long periods of time to get a team from A to B.

A junior hockey team needs volunteers, a committed coach, staff and board of directors, and also a quality group of drivers.

Like goaltenders, bus drivers can be a zany bunch. Over my years of broadcasting I have had the great fortune of meeting some hilarious characters.

Some like to fall asleep on hotel floors, while others spend two hours talking to Ken and Blair about their other favorite SJHL teams and personalities.

Ken Pearson once had a (visiting) bus driver stop him in the tunnel between periods at the Civic Center and suggest a pizza place to him for the next road trip.

Last year down south we had a driver get stuck in the snow, tell hilarious jokes, and he liked his hip-hop music really loud. The boys loved him and he loved them back. After an OT win in Notre Dame he damn nearly fell down the railing as he was high-fiving the guys. I know I'm not alone when I say that our trip home after that game was loads of fun and our driver certainly contributed to the fun.

Larry likes his coffee and hair-metal with the occasional flip to the Cosmo channel on satellite radio. He likes to joke around with the boys and the coaches and is very easy going and patient.

I don't sleep much or well on a bus, but its due to the Larrys of our league that I can if need be.If you are a parent, fan, coach, or a broadcaster I urge you to say thank you to the drivers who transport these teams. The hours are long, and the stress is high. Not everyone is wired to drive a bus through snow and ice, but I'm sure glad some are.

To all of the bus drivers in the SJHL:

A sincere thank you from a tired broadcaster.


Anonymous said...

Deserving article Dan. I am sure families and fans are appreciative of the responsible and professional job Larry does as do all the other drivers.
Gerry Gover
Torbay, NL

Anonymous said...

Very well put Dan. I can see the tremendous love you have for every faucet of the game. I speak for a lot of people when I say this.

Anonymous said...

Nice deflection Dan.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.