On the road with the Greyhounds (13 photos)Wednesday, February 06, 2013 by: Brad Coccimiglio
When the Soo Greyhounds departed for their weekend road trip to Plymouth and Saginaw over the weekend, shortly after the team left, another bus was being packed in the Essar Centre parking lot.
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, that bus departed the Essar Centre as well. On board were roughly 50 Greyhounds fans also making the trip south into Michigan.
After a short stop going through U.S. customs and a quick stop in Sault, Mich. the bus was on its way down I-75 en route to Plymouth.
New to the trip?
One thing you learn early on is that the trips are kind of like taking a trip to Las Vegas. What happens on the bus, stays on the bus.
Not that the trips are exactly like a Las Vegas trip, but they can be entertaining nonetheless.
The bus pulls into Saginaw shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday, giving fans some time to relax in the hotel prior to a 90-minute drive to Plymouth for the opening game of the trip.
Shortly after 4:30, the bus is back on the road, traveling to Plymouth where Greyhounds fans will be treated to a 6-5 Greyhounds win over division-rival Plymouth. A mix of cheers and chatter fills the bus on the way back to Saginaw as the group celebrates the weekend-opening victory. What they didn’t know at the time was that they would have another victory to celebrate 24 hours later.
The following day, many of the fans take advantage of their time off prior to the game to go shopping in the area before the anticipated 6 p.m. departure for the Dow Events Center in Saginaw and game two of the weekend.
Due to a charity game at the Saginaw arena, game time gets pushed back to 7:30 p.m., which also adjusts the bus departure time as well from 6 p.m. to 6:30. Many of the fans gather in the lobby early. Many chat about Friday’s win and thoughts on what to expect from Saturday’s game against the Spirit while other watch a college hockey game being televised between Michigan and Michigan State from Joe Louis Arena.
Filling up nearly a full section in the Saginaw arena, the Greyhounds contingent are treated to another Greyhounds victory thanks to a Jared McCann shootout goal, giving the Greyhounds, and their fans, a pair of wins to celebrate over the weekend.
With a Sunday departure from Saginaw, the fan bus returns to their hotel but it doesn’t mark the end of the night as the group generally gathers for at least one night as a group at the hotel to further enjoy the weekend, which was made easier on the trip thanks to a pair of Greyhounds victories.
The group, which features many familiar faces as well as new ones on every trip, travels up to twice per season, more depending on the Greyhounds making the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.
Longtime Greyhounds fan Val Trainor, a fixture at home games in her seat behind the visitors bench at the Essar Centre, has been involved in the organization of fan bus trips for over 20 years.
Though no bus trips are currently scheduled, a playoff appearance by the Greyhounds could change that.
To follow the Greyhound games and other sports news, please click here