Former St. Lawrence 100-point man and current Charlotte Checkers forward Mike McKenzie is keeping a journal of his life in American minor hockey. He has agreed to let me share his journals with you every Sunday.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcKenzie11
For more McKenzie journals, search "Minor Updates" in the blog archive.
Follow me on Twitter: @SLUHockey
Feb 20, 2011
Nice shootout win last in Glens Falls, and then a five-hour bus ride to Hershey, Penn. We are staying at the Hershey Lodge, which is a pretty cool hotel — all chocolate related. We play Hershey today at 5 p.m. and will head straight to Syracuse after the game. Not an easy road trip with a lot of travel, but so far not bad results for us.
Feb 21, 2011
We are in Syracuse on the last leg of our roadie. Today we had a day off which was really nice. We got to sleep in and then went to a team movie. It was a nice surprise when the team paid for our movie tickets. You don’t see that happening in the East Coast Hockey League. Haha. I went to the movie “Unknown” with Liam Neeson. It wasn’t too bad — not as good as “Taken” — but Neeson is so bad-ass in all his movies.
Another perk of being at the next level is the amount of per diem we receive while on the road. This is the money they give us everyday we are on the road to pay for food while we are away. In the Coast we only get around $35 per day but in the AHL they give us about $65. While at Hurricanes training camp I found out the NHL gets about $100 per day.
The system technically makes no sense really because if you are making millions of dollars you have way more money as it is to pay for your food. That is the way the world works though — the rich get richer. Haha. Speaking of food money, I am heading out to eat dinner with some of the boys. Catch ya later.
Feb 23, 2011
Just flew back to lovely Charlotte, NC. I could really get used to living in this city. It is awesome here; I really love the city.
We lost in a shootout last night. Ray Emery was in net for Syracuse so that was pretty cool to play him. We also played Michael Leighton in Glens Falls on Saturday, which is pretty crazy to think he was taking his team to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup last year and now I was playing him.
I had a great chance to snipe on Leighton, but hit the side of the net with on a backhand deke attempt. I was really hoping to score my first goal on either Leighton or Emery; it would be a hell of a story to tell the grandchildren some day.
I wasn’t star struck by playing these guys, however. I got over that feeling after skating in the summer with guys like Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez, ect… and then attending the Canes training camp and being on the ice with guys like Staal and Ward, but it is still always cool to play guys that are or were legitimate NHL veterans
I am just going to relax for the rest of the day. I’m spending the night at Nasher’s apartment I’m going to make him cook me dinner. I’ll let ya know how that works out.
Feb 24, 2011
Not much time to rest as we’re right back at it today welcoming the Connecticut Whale and another NHL vet Wade Redden to town. Nasher pulled through last night and cooked us some steaks. What a guy — not bad for a Cornell boy. Time for a nap before the tilt.
Not much of a game tonight. We won 5-1 and it was nice to get a win on home ice. Things got a little silly in the third period when the game was out of hand, but that’s hockey for ya — no one likes losing. I’m sure they will be bringing it hard for the rematch on Saturday.
Our ridiculous schedule continues as we boarded the bus right after the game and are now heading six hours to Norfolk to play them tomorrow night, and then get right back on the bus to head home for the rematch with the Whale on Saturday.
Feb 25, 2011
Got in at 4 a.m. this morning. I had a decent sleep, would have liked it to be longer, but what can ya do? Grabbed some breakfast at a nice little local place near the hotel, chilled for a bit ate pre-game and now I’m about to take a nap.
I was just thinking about how much hockey I have played lately. Tonight will be my 11th game in 17 days, which is pretty ridiculous. All are technically road games for me, too, since my home really isn’t Charlotte, and I stay in a hotel while I’m there. The last three weeks look like this: Started in Cinci OH, then to Charlotte NC, onto Binghamton NY, then Glens Falls NY, next to Hershey PA, then Syracuse NY, back to Charlotte, then Norfolk, VA, and finally back to Charlotte.
Tonight will be my 68th hockey game this year. I never played more than 40 while at college, not to mention the insane amount of travel all year in Florida and now Charlotte. Gotta keep grinding it out though.