The Ephs departed from in front of Lansing Chapman Rink under cloudless skies Wednesday at 3:00 PM. Posing for a group photo in front of the bus everyone was all smiles.
Wanting to get the best possible photo Assistant SID Kris Dufour said, “1, 2, 3 National Champions,” and there was a sort of a murmur that may have sounded like national champions, but it was not emphatic. Eph head coach Mike Maker said, “Doesn’t anyone think we can win?” To which several players repeated the team mantra, “First things first.”
As the final players were boarding the bus a discussion arose about having the shorts that go with the white uniform top that was sent ahead to Salem for publicity purposes so it could serve as the “blood uniform” if needed.
The first year players were asked if any one had picked up the shorts to go with the jersey and when the answer came back negative Blake Schultz said he would go get the shorts. Coach Maker said, “You can send one of the freshmen.” Schultz replied, “It’s no big deal,” and he was off with a jog to the equipment room.
A few minutes later on the bus as the players had settled into their seats coach Maker said, “Shaun [assistant coach Morris] will be here in a few minutes. He had to make a run to Desperados to get the coaches some burritos and chimichangas.”
Maker then went on to say, “we never told you, but since our first trip to Virginia the staff has been eating at Desperados on Wednesday nights and we’ve been winning, so Shaun went to get some food.”
Coaches are notoriously superstitious.
Moments later Shaun Morris showed up with the food from Desperados and the team was on its way to Albany Airport. No one was quite sure why the bus driver took Rt. 43, but it was an uneventful journey to Albany Airport.
Some teams number their plays, but this year’s Ephs have actual names for their plays. You can be sure that the following words mean something different to you than they do to the 29-1 Ephs:
Moose, lobster, NY package (they also have other packages based on regional names for each of the players), as well as Disney Characters, and a, of course, a jungle package.
The Eph contingent was split into two groups for the trip to Roanoke with a group of 16 departing Albany around 6:00PM and one at 7:26 PM.
Thursday will be a busy day as the Ephs will participate in a community service project at a local elementary school and then head to the Salem Rotary Club Luncheon where senior forward Blake Schultz will recieve the Jostens Trophy. After an afternoon practice at the Salem Civic Center the Ephs will go back to their hotel to shower and get ready for the Tournament Banquet at 7:00 PM at the Civic Center.