During our ride to practice Wednesday in Philadelphia, the Canucks team bus was filled with a certain smell. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t nauseating – on the way there, that is.
Post-practice, one whiff of this je ne sais quoi hockey odour would have been enough to offend a skunk. Having 23 players ride to and from practice in their equipment is quite an adventure.
The Philadelphia 76ers host the New York Knicks tonight at Wells Fargo Center in Philly, meaning the Canucks couldn’t practice at the home of the Flyers. Instead it was a dress and drive where the team met at Wells Fargo, got dressed in their gear (with the exception of skates) and rode to the University of Pennsylvania. They then practiced at Penn Ice Rink at the Class of 1923 Arena before returning to Wells Fargo to shower up.
“There’s nothing like a dress and drive,” laughed Sven Baertschi, stepping onto the bus and banging his wide shoulders against every seat as he made his way to the back.
“I’ve been taking part in dress and drives for a long time,” smiled assistant coach Doug Jarvis. “Back in the late ‘70s, when I played for the Montreal Canadiens, we’d sometimes have to bus out to Verdun, a borough near Montreal, for practice. But we rode the city bus!”
Jarvis said it was a funny experience seeing people’s reaction to the Habs, in full gear, commuting to practice like everyday blue-collar workers.
“City buses are actually better for it than this one is, with the wider aisles. It’s tough moving around with all your equipment on!”
It’s tough to imagine Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson and Ken Dryden lined up on the street, quarters in hand – glove actually – waiting for the bus.
It’s also tough to ensure you have all your equipment packed during a scrambly dress and drive, just as Jack Skille found out.
As the team put on skates and helmets at Penn Ice Rink, Skille went through his bag once, twice, three times before throwing his hands in the air. He couldn’t find his helmet.
He thought he’d forgotten it.
His teammates had hidden it.
Guys chuckled as Skille freaked, before giving up, running his hand through his hair and heading out to skate without a bucket.
Eventually the helmet was returned and Skille joined the Canucks, who chirped him as he stepped onto the ice.
Following a heartbreaking overtime loss Tuesday in Nashville, some shenanigans were definitely needed on this day.
Stay tuned for Canucks Pranks Volume 2: Skille’s Revenge!
Derek Jory – @NoJoryous