As you know, the Milwaukee Admirals are celebrating 35 years of professional hockey. I wrote a couple weeks ago that I would share some “behind the scenes”-type memories.
Since I’ve been with the team we’ve been on the road for Thanksgiving. On more than one occasion we’ve been in Houston.
In 2009, the Admirals played Friday, Nov. 20 against the Aeros. We had a day off the next day before a Sunday rematch. On Saturday, the team had a practice.
For those who do not know, most (if not all) AHL teams have a separate practice facility. Houston’s is about 30 minutes away in a town called Sugarland. However, on this day, the rink at Sugarland was being used for another purpose. So, the Admirals found some ice near the NASA space station at a rink called “Space City Ice Station”.
It was November in Houston…warm if you’re from Milwaukee but chilly for Houston residents. Many of the players packed jeans and t-shirts. We were staying, as we often did, at a hotel about 10 blocks from the rink. That area has several homeless people. There’s a shelter nearby but, unfortunately, there’s still a lot of people in need.
I was on the bus early. I would be the last one the team would wait for so I make sure I get there early. There was a man covered in a ratty blanket huddled up on the sidewalk. As I looked back, Triston Grant was walking out of the Macy’s located across the street. He was carrying a new, heavier blanket. Grant walked up to the man and laid it upon him. I still get choked up when I think about it.
Triston wasn’t looking for glory or publicity. He was trying to make things better for a guy who needed help. I’m not sure Triston knows I saw what happened and the only person I told on the trip was head coach Lane Lambert.
I’m blessed to be part of a team that has always had such a great drive to help others.
New Admirals forward Brad Winchester was drafted 35th overall in the 2000 draft. Which player, briefly an Admiral, was selected after Winchester? The answer appears at the end of the blog.
Winchester has joined a team that is struggling lately. Milwaukee has just 22 goals in its last 11 games. It has allowed 30, which is not an exorbitant number.
The power play in the last 11 games is 3-43. The team is 0 for its last 28 on the power play.
We often talk about getting good starts, but Milwaukee has the second worst record in the AHL when scoring first, only ahead of Peoria. The team needs to manage the game better. Turnovers at the blue line can’t happen. Some of that is experience in managing highs and lows. You can’t get too high when you score because there’s another shift. Last night against Houston, Milwaukee saw the momentum from goals evaporate in 100 seconds and 52 seconds, respectively.
The systems are there. This team needs to get healthy. This team needs to get physical. This team needs to get to the net. This team needs to quit passing up shots in an effort to make a cute play.
It’s time for a run of wins. If not now, when?
The answer to the trivia question is Daniel Widing. He played three games for the Admirals in 2006.