Vancouver Canucks crawl on the ice after losing a split-squad scrimmage during the NHL hockey team’s training camp in Vancouver, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The 24 teams playing for the Stanley Cup arrived Sunday in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver Canucks crawl on the ice after losing a split-squad scrimmage during the NHL hockey team’s training camp in Vancouver, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The 24 teams playing for the Stanley Cup arrived Sunday in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

NHL players take assortment of creature comforts with them to hub cities

Players armed themselves for a potentially lengthy stay with a few of their favourite things

Coffee, pillows, musical instruments, golf clubs, family photos and a lot of video game gear accompany NHL players as they head into relative isolation.

The 24 teams playing for the Stanley Cup arrived Sunday in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton.

Players armed themselves for a potentially lengthy stay with a few of their favourite things.

Exhibition games starting Tuesday in both cities are warmups to the qualifying round starting Aug. 1.

Unless the COVID-19 pandemic derails completion of the 2019-20 NHL season, teams that win will continue towards a Stanley Cup final that could go as late as Oct. 4 in Edmonton.

When they’re not on the ice, the players will spend a lot of time in their hotels. In order to prevent contagion, they’re under NHL orders not to mix with the public.

“There’s going to be a lot of card playing and hanging out around the two levels, or two floors that we have,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins predicted.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin intended to bring some golf clubs.

“You’ll find me putting in the hallway,” he said.

READ MORE: Release the Kraken: Seattle unveils name for NHL franchise

Flames centre Mikael Backlund can’t live without his favourite coffee and the machine to brew it.

“It’s important to me to have my Swedish coffee,” he said.

“I’ll bring my pillow because you never know what the pillows are in the hotels,” Backlund continued. “I need to make sure my pillow is good because that’s one thing I’m picky about.

“Bring a lot of books and my iPad and maybe some treatment things that will help my body recover.”

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is bringing his trusty, travel guitar, to entertain teammates.

“I don’t think it’s about me playing, it’s whether they like listening or not,” the goalie said.

Leafs defenceman Justin Holl already regrets leaving his keyboard behind.

“I actually didn’t bring it back because it was too unwieldy,” Holl lamented. “But it was a bad plan on my part. Now I wish I had have brought it because I’m going to want it.”

Nugent-Hopkins would bring his golden retriever if he could.

“I wish I could bring Sophie in, but I don’t think that’s allowed,” the Oiler said.

Toronto winger Kyle Clifford insists on bringing a fan because he needs white noise to sleep.

For Leafs captain John Tavares, it’s books and a photo of his family.

Oilers head coach Dave Tippett and Leafs counterpart Sheldon Keefe expect to be consumed by the demands of their jobs, so no particular creature comforts required.

“I’m going to treat it just like a road trip,” Tippett declared. “You go in there with a change of clothes.

“Coaches end up watching a lot of video anyways, so you’ll be preoccupied with that I’m sure with so many games going on. That’ll be entertainment enough, getting your team ready.”

Running parallel to the hockey playoffs will essentially be an e-sports convention given the number of players taking their consoles to the hub cities.

“I think just my gaming station, that’s pretty much it for me,” Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine said.

“And a toothbrush.”

— With files from Joshua Clipperton in Toronto.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusNHL

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Jada Benwell and Connor Larkey are the valedictorians of the 2021 graduating class at Parkland Secondary School. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Pandemic taught lessons in perseverance for North Saanich high schoolers

Parkland Secondary School to release 2021 grad ceremony video on June 25

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read