Aeros director of communications Ryan Stanzel and equipment manager Rick Bronwell were huddled at an airport most of last Sunday.
Aeros equipment manager and resident comedian Rick Bronwell continues his Aeros.com blog.
Welcome back to Blog Central. It’s great. We’re even getting them out before Beaumont can. We can't wait to see everyone at Toyota Center for the next three home games. Friday is Mullet Night. I'll be modeling the Mullets for much of Friday afternoon. Watch next week's blog for pictures. Call 1.866.GO.AEROS or click here for tickets.
I’m glad we’re back home even though it’s only for a week. It was good to go back out on the road again. This past trip was fun times. I wish I had time to do a blog for every day of the trip. Each special day really needed its own blog. Ask director of communications/part time broadcaster Ryan Stanzel about it, and he’ll probably agree. That guy makes one road trip a year, and it always ends up fun like this one.
Last week, we told you what we were GOING to do. Now I can tell you what we did do, and the two stories aren’t real similar.
We left on Thursday to go to Des Moines. It was pretty uneventful, other than the sight of 6-foot-8 John Scott on a Continental regional jet. They couldn’t fit all our gear on the first flight, so we had the rest come in at 10 p.m. The best part about Thursday was that off the plane, we went straight to the hotel, had dinner and did nothing. The governor was getting inaugurated on Friday at Wells Fargo Arena, so we couldn’t skate Friday morning. We unloaded the gear into the rink at 1:30 p.m. Friday. It was no problem, we got the skates done, played and won.
We loaded up the gear, the guys packed their bags, and we worked on getting the bus loaded. However, at Wells Fargo we aren’t lucky like we are at Toyota Center, where we get to park in the loading dock. In Des Moines, we park out back, outside, right outside a garage door. I’m not lying to you, I’m from Kansas City, but that was the coldest I have ever felt. I’m totally Texafied. I got in the cold and couldn’t feel my hands. I wear shorts on the bench, people look at me like I’m crazy. I yell back, like “I’m more of a man than you are”, but most times I’m talking to women so it makes no sense. We got the bus loaded, which was a feat in itself. There are smaller bins on it, and with 51 pieces of luggage, you have to take up a bunch of room. We crammed as many bags as we could get under there. Thanks to Danny Irmen and some of the other rookies for getting me and Jerry Meins food from the post-game team meal to eat on the bus.
We took the two-plus hour drive to Omaha, on a bus that was smoking heavily when we pulled out of Des Moines. We unloaded the guys at the hotel, because we had a game the next night, and about 1 a.m. Jerry and I got to the game rink to unload the gear. Their assistant Matt met us there. Thanks to all those who e-mailed Sieger (Omaha equipment manager Greg Sieg) after our blog last time, because they had heaters for us. We got back to the hotel and got some sleep, and got back to the arena at 8:30. We pre-game skated at 11:15.
That’s when the real fun began.
Saturday afternoon, we found out that our flight Sunday through Dallas was cancelled. We were supposed to fly from Omaha to Dallas to San Antonio, and get in at 10:30. That’s perfect, with time to do skates, get the gear more dry because remember it doesn’t dry too well in Omaha. The guys could have eaten and napped at the hotel for the 5 p.m. game. That’s when the whole bomb dropped on us.
Sunday, we ended up going through Chicago, on a flight 55 minutes later than the first flight. Sounds simple, right? Well, when we got to the airport in Omaha in the morning, we found out the plane is a regional jet. It was 70 passenger, not too bad, but the bins aren’t big enough to fit all the gear on the plane. So they took 40 pieces and put them on the flight we were on.
We got to Chicago, and it was a nice sight seeing all that snow and sleet coming down. Our flight to San Antonio got delayed 2 ½ hours (in like 15 minute increments). So meanwhile, the rest of the gear got on another flight through Dallas, because they opened the airport up. It was supposed to land at 2:30, and we were originally supposed to land at 1:30. Long story short...and this is already a long story…What ended up happening was our gear got in with us on the flight at 4, and the other gear that left after our first flight, got there 45 minutes ahead of us. Donny drove over to San Antonio (with our home jerseys, just in case the jersey bag didn’t make it), and with the help of Jonathan the San Antonio stickboy, they loaded the gear off the belt and onto the truck.
Then we arrived, and we got the gear on the truck. It’s like 4:30, warm up is in like 10 minutes, and we put the key in the truck, and it doesn’t start. It was just a combination of 150 different things. We got the truck jumped. American pulled a tugger out from the tarmac. And there was a wreck at the 35/37 split. It was a hectic unload at AT&T center. Assistant coach Matt Shaw was pulling the cart with the gear on it. We got some pre-game meal food for the team out of the media room. The guys honestly put on their gear and were on the ice for warm-ups in 10-15 minutes. I’m surprised everyone had the right jersey on and the right gloves. Then we lost 6-0 and finally got back to Sugar Land about 1 a.m. Oh, one last thing about this last part of the trip. Curtis Murphy and Peter Ratchuk got upgraded to first class, thanks to Murph for giving me his first class seat to stretch out!
We asked for questions, and got so many that we can’t even print them all. Thanks so much to everyone who gave feedback. Give more feedback!
Q: What hollow does Curtis Murphy use on his skates and how often does he get them sharpened? Why did he switch to RBK Pumps? Thanks, Jim
A: First, for those that don’t know, let me explain what a hollow is. If you look at a skate blade it’s a half circle and it gets sharpened on a wheel that is made of sand. You use a diamond to dress it. You change the curvature of the wheel which digs into the blade of the skate, and it causes it to give a hollow impression of a semicircle. The less of a hollow you put on it, the duller the blade, and the more hollow, the sharper the blade. Curtis Murphy has a 5/8 hollow. Most players get a 1/2 inch hollow. Murphy sharpens his a bit duller than that. Why did he change into Rbk pumps? CCM wants to get that new skate out there. Truthfully his are pumps that even don’t pump.
Q: I don't have a question about equipment right now. I have been going to Aeros games since they played in the coliseum here when Gordie and his sons played. I can't remember when or why this started, but do all the AHL teams shout: Hey goalie, you suck! when we score a goal, or are we the only classless bunch that does it. Thanks, just wondering Nancy
A: There are cities that yell things, other cities that do what our fans do. But I haven’t heard the “He shoots, He scores” part of it. But they razz the goalie in every city. In a lot of cities, they say “Who Cares” when they announce our starting lineups. That’s pretty much throughout the whole league. Rinks that are bad...Des Moines has this old guy that just screams the whole time from a section over from the bench. Sometimes he has good stuff, sometimes he does not. He gets under your skin. They’ll throw things, chuck a pucks once in awhile, especially when you’re beating them. Most arenas do the “Thank You” when the announcer says there’s one minute left in a period. But we aren’t the only bunch of cutthroats.
To Matt, whose e-mail was really too long to print, thank you for the kind words. Oh and for the offer for free food and liquor in Luverne, Minn. You know the way to my heart.
Q: I was wondering how the numbers are assigned to the players. I have noticed a lot of lower numbers. Do the players get to pick their numbers, or are they assigned? Thanks, from August
A: Another good question. What I do, is before the season, I’ll usually call the guys and ask them what they want for a number. If they can’t have the number they want, I give them the available numbers. For the most part, they choose their own numbers. We look at ourselves as an AHL team, that’s why we don’t assign numbers higher than 39. A lot of teams do higher numbers. Foysee wants 83, but he’ll wear 34 here, and 83 when he plays in Minnesota. Minny has so many guys come in and out they have to give out a lot of numbers. If I don’t get ahold of them before the season, we’ll work it out later. And of course we can’t use No. 9 here in Houston, because it’s retired.
Q: I only have one question. When are you going to get a massage from me?? From Lynn
A: Any time would be good for me. Don’t tell the wife, she’s not reading this one I don’t think.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
I also got some feedback from former Aero Seamus Kotyk, who is playing overseas. He gave some band names for our band. I like the names a lot. One is called “Hold the Mayo.” The reason is if you ask someone “Have you ever had a sandwich without mayo?” They say “Yes” and you say “Did you like it?” They say “No, it’s awful.” Exactly, we’re awful. Hold the Mayo. I appreciate Shamo throwing in a little bit of juice to the magic that’s happening in Houston.
We’re going to wear our Third Jerseys, the Charities Jerseys, on Friday. Be on the lookout for them, I heard they look pretty sharp.
I’ve got to put a couple of shoutouts in there. Jody Green, who used to be the assistant equipment manager in Louisiana, and then the head guy in Mississippi. He was backup goalie one time for Peoria here last year. Both Stanzel and Sieger, the equipment guy in Omaha, know Jody well. I’m putting a shoutout to him because he has best hair I’ve ever seen on any man ever. I’m saying that in a masculine way. If you ever see him, buy him some more gel. He’s going through so much gel he’ll take Wal-mart out of business. LA Looks – watch out. Check out the picture to the left. The Peoria equipment guy said it took an hour to get all the gel off the inside of the mask. Also go to The Galleria and buy him some shoes and tea. He’ll dump $80, $90 on tea and shoes. He told me one time he wishes he was a millipede because he has so many pair of shoes he never wears. He’s a freak show.
My sister, also if you’re ever in Kansas City, look her up. She’s at Sport Clips and she’ll cut your hair. As you can see mine is fantastic. She’s the best hairstylist in north KC, on the street she lives on anyways. I love you sister.
Also I have to say my dog made the trip with us on Christmas. We got a plant from my mom. Boogenvillia (I think). I’m going to try to spell that as well as I can. It has little thorns on it. I told Heather that we don’t want this plant. Get rid of it. We find room in the back of the truck, where the dog sits. We’re still picking thorns out of its behind. Every bump I hit, the plant would hit him. We now use it as a whipstick for the kids. I’m kidding, kidding.
I like this weather. Nice and chilly. It makes you feel like Hockey Town of the south. I love how people are just freaking out. I was in Wal-Mart the other day, I had to buy more body wash for the visitors locker room, and they sold out of heaters. The temp gets below 50, and everyone runs out and buys heaters. I’ve never seen it before in my life.
Well I've got to go sharpen some skates and get ready to pack the gear for Toyota Center. Talk to you next week!