On the Road - The
Silver Stick Finals
By Gary "Bear" Millsaps
Tuesday, January 25th, 2005
Traveling to various cities is obviously a part of travel hockey, but my
methods of getting around differ greatly from the norm. Whereas
the team generally flies to their destination, I have never once stepped
on an airplane in these five seasons of service. I know.
It's a foolish phobia, but this has not kept me from traveling to
tournaments or league weekends in places from Boston to San Jose and
from Toronto to Houston.
Shores, Michigan will be an easy sojourn as well an and enjoyable one.
I have my bags packed already and will make the trip in two phases.
First, I will be taking Amtrak to Chicago and then renting a car at
Union Station for the 290 mile drive to the hotel in eastern Michigan.
certainly not pass up the opportunity to take the train and I wish there
were more chances for me to do so and I have a few pictures from
Eagle will take me from Big D up to the Windy City and the route is
served by a '
trainset. Since I throw a few coins in the mix, I get the
first class treatment on the sleeper car in a
first thing you see when you step on board is that things are a little
tight, as you can see from this shot of the
The room itself isn't all that huge, but the
are more comfortable than the coach seats. Plus, there is an
that stores the bedding for when it's time to let down the lower two
facing seats into a bed. A
is situated between the seats which is perfect to set up the laptop for
movies, games, music, or even a bit of (GROAN) WORK!! A
is provided for the passenger's use, but for only about 10 inches wide,
it is surprisingly deep!
there are some of the comforts of home for ya, although on a smaller
scale. The TOILET has been made a bit 'homier' by the addition of
flowers. Doesn't make it any more comfortable, though! The
shower area isn't too bad. There is the
and then the
itself. A lot of fun while traveling about 70 miles per hour, but
then it is on the lower deck of the sleeper car so it's not that bad.
Lower center of gravity and all that!!
It's nice to
get out and mix and mingle a little in the lounge car. Here's some
pictures showing the
(unfortunately not used very much anymore, but I get free soft drinks in
the sleeper car, but anyways...), and just some
enjoying themselves. Meal times in the
can be very hectic and every seat is used. If I want to meet new
folks, I go there. Otherwise, the car attendant is more than glad
to bring your meal to you in your room.
Wednesday, January 26th, 2005
Well...... I think all is ready for the trip. First aid kit, tape,
tools, helmet repair kit, all kinds of ointments and creams from curing
athletes feet to making sure cuts heal. A lot sure goes into being
prepared. I hope the pucks don't cause my check-in bags to be
overweight!! A big overnighter, a backpack, a coaches bag and my
computer all seems in order.
tells us we are ranked #5 overall and #4 in our division going into the
tourney. That is either a blessing or a curse. Hopefully the
boys will see this as a challenge and overcome adversity in order to
prevail!! I know they have the talent. I just hope I can
rally the troops so we can be victorious!!
in a couple hours and I need to get to the station. Chicago has a
beautiful train station and I hope to get some pics on the way up and I
will be sharing them here.
3:30pm - I'm
at Dallas Union Station checking in. I am having an enjoyable
experience as I looked on the Amtrak Web Site and found that the sleeper
accommodations actually went down to $83 each way from the original $130
and they are actually re-ticketing me at the lower price!! As she
is going through all the processes involved, we chatted about how I will
be meeting the team up north, how I loved the train, and didn't fly.
She then said, "Well, ya never know. Did you hear about the train
wreck in California?? Guy wanted to end it all by parking his
truck on the tracks and he chickened out and ran, but the 1st passenger
train hit a parked locomotive and sent it hurling in the path of a
second passenger train."
Onboard the Texas Eagle in Superliner II sleeper car number 32085
(designated on this run as #2220), the "Kentucky" in room #9. In
the very end of the train!! Little trivia. In 1992, while 49
Superliner II's were being built, Amtrak named them for the lower 48
states and the District of Columbia. I'm pretty much settled and
dinner will be arriving soon via my super car attendant Mr. Johnson.
8:00pm - Had
excellent steak and wandered up to the lounge car and then settled down
for the night with a good movie. Ice Age with Ray Romano, etc!!
I get everything all just right and the train's swaying and the clackety
noises puts me to sleep!
Thursday, January 27th, 2005
7:30am - I wake up right on time! As I shake the sleep from my
eyes, I notice we're passing through Union, MO and I know the
Mississippi River will be coming along side of us in about 10 minutes.
And a beautiful sight it is!! Several tugs pushing barges each
way. Most excellent scenery.
The HUGE Union Station in Chicago.
This is certainly one of the
Grand Dames of railroad architecture.
Lots of space and the
overlooking the train patrons
is stunning, as well! Hardly
anyone is in the great hall, but I can imagine the old days in the
1920's where there would be hundreds of people coming and going all day
on some of the fabled trains like the Twentieth Century Limited and the
City of New Orleans with the old pullman cars.
3:30pm-10:00pm - Yawn!! Drive from Union Station to the hotel.
290 miles. Boring. But on the other hand, I passed by THREE
casinos and didn't even consider stopping!!
Friday, January 28th, 2005
10:00am - Today is going to be rather eventful. I just feel it!!
We get Pittsburgh up front. Good news is they are missing a few of
their better players for goonish behaviour. Bad news is.......
well..... they are missing a few of their better players for goonish
behaviour. The average Joe on the team is going to be out to
prove that they can take a team down on their own and I'm afraid it may
I was wrong,
of course and the boys put on a show to hold them scoreless for the 1st
40 minutes of the game. Our luck ran out when Pittsburgh popped
one in with 4:11 to go in the game. We had several opportunities
to score, but it just wasn't to be!!
FINAL SCORE - DALLAS 0 - PITTSBURGH HORNETS 1
5:00 pm - REST!! Not sure what the boys did, but I put it away for
a while cause tonight is the mother of ALL games
7:30pm - D
Day! Zero Hour!! This is it!! I am reminded of a
previous historical battle at a place called Jericho that this guy
Joshua was fretting. He needed a win badly. The big boss
told him to just march around the place 7 times and then blow his ram's
horns and the fun would begin!! Now being a logical person, Joshua
was like..... "ummmmm, we're gonna lose the element of suprise and after
marching around and getting tired, we're certainly gonna wake the rest
of the people with the darned horns!! But he did it anyways and
prevailed. Nothing fancy. Just doing as he was told and it
worked out great!!
thousand years later. Dallas Storm Minor Midget 88's vs Honeybaked.
The #1 team in the nation. There were no conferences, trick plays,
and grand strategy sessions. Just a bit of old fashioned hockey
with everyone getting in line with Coach Rick's plan. On the bench
was orderly. Players doing what needed to be done. And with
the help of a little hat trick by #12, Mr Chris Shakesby, and the superb
play of all concerned, we sure knocked down those walls and got us a
well deserved win!! A hat trick certainly is noteworthy and that
is why it is mentioned, but that is not to slight anyone else because
there were such fine efforts by all, it would be hard to mention them
individually. Although my pride in the boys is limitless, I
think I got way up on the pride scale here!! Good game!!
SCORE: DALLAS 4 - HONEYBAKED 2!!
But.............. tomorrow we have to do a 7:00am game. Ya!!
Did we lose a bet to someone as far as how the scheduling went??
Shutting it down for a 6:00am wakeup!!
Saturday, January 29th, 2005
6:00am - Already?? I just turned over and the phone rang with my
wakeup call!! Grrrrrrr!
7:30am - The
boys are all ready with the strength to do what needs to be done and I
didn't even give them any Powdermilk Biscuits, although I could probably
call only one or two of them shy!! (Give yourself 10 points if you
understood the reference!!)
and Mr Shakesby broke out of the pack and lit up the lamp with a goal
each with our defence giving up only one. There was a drive and
determination that makes one proud. For all of the naysayers out
there who said this team wouldn't amount to much at the beginning of the
season, this tourney has certainly proved them wrong. There is a
potential here that is almost limitless. But, if any of our local
rivals would still like to take us for granted in the post-season, I say be my
FINAL SCORE: DALLAS 2 - NJ ROCKETS 1
yet who we play in the semis tomorrow, but we have a LONG period of rest
before the morning game!! I'm going to Canada for some Tim Hortons
Well..... news came in. We ended up first in our division and have
a 7:30 against the Pittsburgh Selects. I'm nervous, but confident.
Sunday, January 30th, 2005
6:00am - Again?? I'm just not a morning person. Plus I'm
achy all over. I think I have had my fill of cold and snow for a
7:30am - The
Battle has begun! The penalties were not very kind to us.
Three Pittsburgh goals on three powerplays going into the third period.
But did the boys give up?? No way. Coach got the troops
rallied and young Miles started our scoring in the last frame with
Shakes putting in two of his own; the second being with only two seconds
to go! Kyle was in on all of them and earned a playmaker for his
periods were 5 minutes each and after three of them, the score remained
tied. Johnny Beck was spectacular keeping the biscuit out of the
basket. Then the rink had to resurface and the tension was so
thick you could cut it with a knife. One of the Mite teams from
Canada came out onto the bleachers and started cheering for us when play
resumed. But fortune did not smile upon us because with just a
little over a minute left in the fifth overtime period, we were scored
against and our Silverstick adventure was over.
DALLAS 3 - PITTSBURGH 4
Lots of dejected players. Not much to say in a situation like
this, but just to have been involved in the effort was well worth the
trouble. As someone who had the benefit of AA (no, not the
Automobile Club) I was always told that the best way to get out of your
troubles was to get involved with others in a positive way. Seems
like Mr. Shakesby knew that without being told. As I was getting
everything packed together, I saw the coach of our mite cheering section
introduce Chris to the little Wolves and he gave them a bit of a pep
talk going into their game. Passing it on. That's what
hockey is all about. And if there is any legacy whatsoever I can
leave to the Dallas Storm organization and it's many fine players, it is
simply that. Pass it on. Do what you can with whatever
skills or talents you have to develop your own game, but don't forget
those who will be coming up behind you and reach a hand back!!
1:00pm - I
have a long trip ahead of myself so I better get started. I'm
extremely proud to have been involved in this tournament and am looking
forward to post-season play with a renewed confidence. We're a
team now. I think we will do alright!!