A Look Inside Two Very Different Pre-Seasons
Los Angeles Kings in Australia
By Jeff Andrews MS, ATC
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Los Angeles Kings
I had the opportunity to go to Melbourne Australia with the LA Kings as part of this year’s NHL Global Series. This was my second international trip working with hockey. Planning for an international trip takes a lot of time and work. Chris Kingsley Head Athletic Trainer made sure we were well prepared. Planning for everything from physician coverage to electrical transformers for our medical equipment.
Melbourne is a beautiful city with a population of 6.5 million. Not only was it a seventeen-hour time difference, but the seasons were different. Australia is just coming out of Winter into Spring. A little stat on the trip is that we never experienced September 17 as we were flying the 15.5-hour flight, but experienced September 25 twice, leaving at 11:45am AST and arriving in Los Angeles at 9:45am September 25.
While we were in Australia, we had the opportunity to go to an Australian Football Preliminary Grand Final Match (Semi-final). The event took place at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG) which holds up to 100k fans. It was the biggest sporting event I have attended. The team was able to get on the field (pitch) before the game and take in the massive stadium. The game ended with the home team Collingwood winning by a point. If you haven’t had the chance to check out or watch an Australian football game, I would highly recommend.
I also had the chance to walk around the city and visit some of Melbourne’s alleyways which are filled with shops and cafes, and the Victoria Market. I had to try some of the local favorites Vegemite, Tim Tams, and Kangaroo jerky.
I really enjoyed the experience in Melbourne with our staff. I would love to visit Australia again to check out more.
Photos courtesy of Jeff Andrews
Florida Panthers in Disney
By Dakota King
Assistant Equipment Manager
Let’s look back at the Florida Panthers’ 2023-2024 training camp! The team played in eight preseason games, which is the maximum allotted. Each season, the Panthers play in a doubleheader against the Nashville Predators. This year, it was the Panthers’ turn to host the games. Preparing for these events involves a lot of work, with many moving parts, including swapping locker rooms during warm-ups. It’s always a pleasure to work these games with the Predators’ staff, all ensuring that things go smoothly.
The next two games were relatively easy, with a home-and-road split against the Carolina Hurricanes. Following that, the team headed to Sydney, Nova Scotia, to take on the Ottawa Senators in the make-up Kraft Hockeyville Game from 2022. These games provide a special opportunity to utilize the facilities of minor and junior leagues and explore cities we might not visit otherwise.
To conclude the preseason games, the Panthers traveled to Orlando, Florida, to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. On the day off between a neutral site game in Orlando and a game at Amalie Arena against the Lightning, the Florida Panthers’ players and staff enjoyed a day at Universal Studios. In addition to riding roller coasters all day, the team spent the night at Halloween Horror Nights. Taking a break from the rink to have some fun was a welcomed treat. I personally relished the high-speed adventure of VelociCoaster, reaching speeds of 70mph, while Teddy and Train found their excitement in the chilling atmosphere of the YETI: Campground Kills haunted house.
Looking back at these preseason experiences, it’s clear that the Panthers team are not only dedicated to their performance on the ice but also to strengthening their bonds and enjoying some memorable moments together. The Panthers look forward to another bonding trip later this season in Vail, Colorado.
Photos courtesy of Dakota King