Going To California...
The last few days have been somewhat of a blur for me. From wrapping up a Marlies road game in
Here’s how it all happened.
We’d just lost a tough road game to Lake Erie
I didn’t know what was going on, but I met him out by the bus and he told me I needed to report to Lakeshore the following morning and to pack for a week.
I had no idea where we were going. I was just told to be there and that was it.
My stomach dropped I was so excited.
I had to sit there and think about it for a second and make sure it was really happening.
And then I couldn’t wait to tell my family. I’m very close with my brother and two sisters - they’ve been my motivation throughout so many years - so I was excited to finally make that call to them.
So after calling my family and my girlfriend, it was a five-hour bus ride home. I also called all my buddies and told them to look up the Leafs’ schedule so they could tell me where I was going and I could pack accordingly.
But I didn’t know what our schedule was going to be on our days off. It’s my first call-up of the regular season and didn’t really know how it worked at this level.
So I got home at 4 a.m., and started packing (I didn’t want to forget anything). I grabbed some jeans, some sneakers and I threw in a bathing suit. I figured, you’re in
I had charged my iPod for the plane, but I was so tired that morning I completely forgot it. It’s sitting on my kitchen counter right now still charging.
I managed to grab about three hours sleep and then went to the practice facility.
I met the team there and then it was off to
I’ve played about four pre-season games with the Leafs in the past three years. That’s not a ton of experience and the regular season is a totally different feeling.
I was pretty nervous, but in a good way.
My first skate with the Leafs was before the game in
I knew I wasn’t playing that night, but I always prepare for the pre-game skate like I was playing in the game and it was great just to be there.
Word has spread fast since the call-up. I’ve been getting flooded with messages from friends playing in
I also got a call from Mark Bell - one of my good buddies with the Marlies - congratulating me and telling me if I needed anything or had any questions to call him.
I’ve been trying to spend time with my teammates on the Leafs, who have been a welcoming bunch. I haven’t felt left out at any point of this trip.
Mike Van Ryn has been my roommate and he’s been a top-notch guy. He’s talked about his experiences as a rookie, his first call-up and his first NHL game.
Wednesday was an off-day so I walked to the mall across the street by myself, had a coffee and a bagel and just relaxed as I took it all in.
It really sunk in during that pre-game skate in
I haven’t heard any word about playing yet, but I’m just staying patient and praying I’ll get a shot.
This trip has been pretty unforgettable, but I’ve been keeping my hotel room keys as mementos to remember the trip.
I’ll pay for them. I don’t care, but I’ve got my room keys and I’m holding on to them pretty tight.
You only take your first NHL road trip once!
I’ll talk to you all soon,