This article was contributed by Kevin Jordan of Jackals Central
A small three-game Road Trip might be just what this Jackals team needs at this juncture of the season. Sure any player or coach will say that it’s great to play at home in your barn, on your ice, with your dressing room, and best of all, getting to play in front of your fans. Let’s not forget the luxury of home cooked meals with your family, and just the familiarity of your surroundings makes playing at home the popular choice.
However, as nice as playing at home is, it can become difficult at times for a player’s psyche. As much as they want to have fun out there on the white surface (unless you’re in Fort Wayne), it can become stressful when they fall into a slump or the team fails to win, for one reason or another, nothing seems to be going right. Nothing clicks. Players get down on themselves, fans get disappointed, and players get disappointed because they disappointed their fans, and so on and so on. The last thing the team wants to do is disappoint their fans. Trust me on that one.
So what’s the best medicine for that? Well, nine times out of ten getting away from your usual routine and heading out on a road trip with just the players and coaches can sometimes be just the ticket. The players get to know each other better, as in this case with so many new faces on this Jackals team. The furthest these boys have traveled so far this season was a game in Reading, Pennsylvania back on Saturday, October 24th.
They played a second away game again in Reading, on October 28th, but figuring that since the two teams reside only a stone’s throw in proximity, the team traveled back home in between the two games. Therefore, they have yet to endure a real getaway like the one that begins Friday night in South Carolina against the Stingrays.
One other difference is that there are those players that play better at home and not so well on the road, while with others things just seem to click away from home. Of course, there are those that neither scenario seems to faze them at all.
I am hoping our guys have fun on this trip and intuitively get to know each other and earn trust from each other. There is usually a card game going somewhere on the bus. There’s a shark on every team. There will be plenty of time for these guys to gather their thoughts and go back to how they got to the team, all the work they put into it and the pride they must feel because it was all worth it. Some may not think of that at all. They may just want to listen to their favorite tunes on their iPod and try to clear their head of hockey altogether for a while. Whatever works, a road trip is the time to do it.
The Jackals will play the South Carolina Stingrays Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7 p.m. Game two will be on Saturday at 7 p.m. They will then head North to Norfolk, Virginia for a war with the Admirals on Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m. So let’s tune in tonight and see or hear if the Jackals play a typical, but effective tight-checking simple road game. Go Jackals!!