The National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs are coming to an end and players who have lived in the Toronto and Edmonton bubbles for the last few weeks have been treated to very different realities, some of them not regretting let everything be behind them.
The ESPN network broadcast on its site Tuesday a file summarizing the thoughts of nine anonymous hockey players – five from the Western Association and four from the East – who agreed to open up more about their rather special lives during their participation in post-season matches. However, it is already possible to conclude that it was not all fun, on the contrary. A few, particularly in Alberta, were disappointed with the amenities, recreation and activities, and restaurants on offer. ESPN has also mentioned a prison yard to make the analogy with some hotels where players were staying.
Also, surveillance was omnipresent on the premises. Everyone agrees that they felt safe, perhaps too much.
“It was very tight,” admitted one of the respondents from the West. The place was among the safest. They were constantly checking your credentials, your Clear App. It was everywhere. On this point, they did a very good job. ”
On the eastern side, one of the skaters underlined the clearly visible “mask culture”.
“When you're on the ice, they take pictures of you walking. If you're driving around without your mask on, it doesn't send the right message, he said. Yes, it was boring, but we still represent the young people watching us. All a kid has to say is, “Auston Matthews doesn't wear a mask on the ice, so I don't have to either.”
A few believe the framing was way too tight, which made the place rather awkward.
“With the fence that locked us inside, it made us feel like some kind of prison or kind of like animals [in a cage],” said one player. It was the feeling I had. There is no other way to safely separate yourself from the outside world, but it was striking when the guys headed to the hotel. ”
“I almost felt too safe,” admitted a hockey player from the East. When the fences were in place, no one could go in or out. ”
As for the activities promised to the players, it will be necessary to review according to most of them. The magnificent golf courses, the mountain walks, the luxurious restaurants and other privileges, it was all a pipe dream and a false promise in their eyes.
“Once you get into the routine of playing pretty much every next day, the amenities are less important,” said one skater from the West. However, they greatly amplified what was delivered. ”
“In Toronto, we were offered a proposal contained in a brochure that was circulated to my teammates. I thought it was going to be excellent. There would be food trucks, restaurants, shops in the middle of the street. Then when we got there the guys were like, “Where are the stores? Where are the outside crews amenities?” There was none of that, ”added one of his colleagues from the East.
In Edmonton, a hockey player believes he feels cheated, specifying that according to many players, the league offered promises only to see them in action, without really wanting to keep them. The dismay of some was also synonymous with envy towards others. For example, a veteran from the East mentioned that there were jealous people who did not accept to see – according to their statements – a few teams having access to the roofs of hotels or receiving more complete and tasty meals.
“Clubs like Florida couldn't afford this or that in the bubble. Montreal, in its training area, had wraps and smoothies, and everything. […] It is an organization with deep pockets, ”said one respondent.