Home sweet home. The words ring true for the Toronto Marlies who have been road warriors this season. Aside from enjoying a stellar home record (18-6-3-1) the players who make up the Marlies are likely just grateful to have some time in their own bed. As Toronto finishes their season high ten game home stand, here’s a look back to some of the places they have been and the km’s the bus tires have burned up on the AHL highway thus far.
Toronto to Panama and back. Over twelve thousand four hundred kilometres. The same distance (roughly) the Marlies have travelled on the bus so far this season. It began with exhibition in Syracuse, New York and finished with a trip home from the same city to kick off the season high streak of games at Ricoh Coliseum.
Think way back to September and picture the big, blue Marlie bus rolling out for their first road trip of the season, visiting the crunch for exhibition action. From there Toronto would expand training camp to the confines of the Herb Brooks arena in Lake Placid, New York. In this 32nd anniversary year of the miracle on ice, the Marlies would skate their to prepare for game one of the regular season in Binghamton.
A quick stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan followed by Cleveland, Ohio brought the Marlies to an eighteen day trip while the Royal Winter Fair took over their Ricoh home. The club flew into Houston, commuted to Austin Texas and spent time preparing for the Stars. Then it was out of Austin and into San Antonio for a date with the Rampage, followed by a return trip to Houston to tangle with the Aeros. The Iron lung then took us into Dallas in preparation to commute to Oklahoma city. After facing the Barons, it was back to Dallas and a flight to Hartford to set us up for the trek to Glens Falls, New York. The phantoms were the first of three straight New York based teams. Next on the list was Albany. From the capital city of that state, the club would head back to Toronto, completing eighteen straight days on the road and then prepare hit the highway once more later in the week. It was off to Rochester to complete and eight teams visited in twenty three days, twenty one of them spent on the road.
A standard twelve hour round trip, destination, Grand Rapids would be the next journey, and then it was the quickest stop this season: Hamilton. Just weeks before Christmas there would be time for one more lengthy trip thanks to the Toronto Boat Show taking over Marlies ice, so it would be a flight to Illinois and then the bus to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Admirals would give way to a bus ride to Peoria and after the Rivermen the Wolves of Chicago would come calling. The final stop heading into the Christmas break was Rockford.
Post Christmas the driver’s log book was littered with more routine trips to Cleveland, Rochester, and Hamilton. The last game prior to the ten game home stand was in Syracuse where the Marlies earned their revenge for an exhibition loss and completed what would be a jammed pack road schedule heading into their longest tenure at Ricoh.
Over 12 thousand kilometres in the books. Fast forwarding to what the Marlies hope is a long playoff run, Kenny Chesney perhaps puts it best “still got some miles to go.”
Thanks for checking out my Marlies Blog and stay logged in for future posts, including a few words with our famous bus driver, Casey.