Long trip a challenge for equipment crew

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

A seven-game road trip comes down to simple math for the Calgary Flames.

At least, that's the case for the equipment crew.

"Whatever you take for two games, you've got to quadruple," said equipment manager Gus Thorson.

With seven road games over nearly two weeks, Thorson and assistant Mark DePasquale had a massive amount of items to pack.

Especially sticks. Each player who headed out yesterday packed more than a dozen of them. The general rule is two per game. Some, of course, need more than others.

"Dion (Phaneuf) goes through a lot of sticks, but he shoots the puck a ton," Thorson explained.

Is captain Jarome Iginla in that same boat?

"Jarome doesn't go through a lot of sticks," Thorson said. "Most of the times Jarome runs out of sticks, it's because guys have asked him for autographs. He's good, though. He asks if he can give them away. He knows these sticks have a cost."

All those sticks come into the category of 'consumables,' and the equipment crew had a checklist of other items they expect to use in large quantities. Other items to keep in heavy supply include all the varieties of tape and energy drinks and bars.

"Fortunately, most of the teams will help us out. If we can grab a few cans of Red Bull from teams, that means we don't have to carry 28-dozen cans," Thorson pointed out.

The pending trade deadline adds a wrinkle. With the potential for roster changes, more than the usual amount of extra sweaters, socks, gloves and pant covers had to be brought.

That's on top of bringing each player's sweater, a few back-ups for those who regularly get into a scrap, plus about 15 belonging to players in the system in case they're summoned.

"It's routine and preparation," said Thorson, who spent 10 years with Hockey Canada travelling the world on much longer road swings.

"You do the same things to make sure things are stocked up. I go through the same routine for every trip. It's just an extra stick bag and extra supplies."


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