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SOME “LUCKY” NCAA MEMBERS TAKE US TO IRELAND

By Nate Lapoint, HEM, University of Wisconsin, Jamaal Baribeau, HEM, Clarkson University
and Andrew Zagorianakos, HEM, Providence College

Nate Lapoint talks with Jamaal Baribeau and Andrew Zagorianakos who joined their teams in Ireland this past November.

NL: When did you start planning for your trip to Ireland?

JB: I started planning for our trip in late September/October. I had to plan for Ireland as well as the week before. We were on the road and were not coming back to Clarkson University to reload. So I had to prepare for 10 days on the road and 4 games.

NL: How many days was the road trip? Where did you play?

AZ: The trip was 7 days long. We left on Sunday, November 19th arriving on the 20th (with the 5-hour time difference), and re- turned on Sunday, November 26th. We spent all day Monday and Monday night in Dublin, before traveling north to Belfast. We prac- ticed and played at the SSE Arena, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, home to the Belfast Giants of the Elite Ice Hockey League.

NL: How did you prepare for your trip to Ireland?

AZ: After a couple of conference calls with the participating schools, tournament officials, and talking with other equipment managers that have made this trip previously, I was able to dial in what was going to be needed. Some items were going to be provided to us (tape, water bottles, etc.) but I didn’t want to alter what I normally travel with so I could keep things as normal as possible. We had a road game at Merrimack the night before we left, so things were repacked quickly before departing the follow- ing afternoon.

NL: What were the biggest challenges?

JB: I would say the biggest challenges were planning for 10 days on the road. Making sure you had enough of everything. The other worries were going to a country where hockey wasn’t the norm.

I worried about how I would get something if I ran out of an item or if something broke beyond my abilities to repair it. Another challenge was the laundry. We had 2 household machines to wash and 3 household machines to dry, and 4 teams. We all helped each other out by switching each other’s laundry so the other guys didn’t have to stay later than they should’ve to wait for the laundry to dry.

NL: What other things did you do while you were over in Ireland?

AZ: While in Dublin, we went on on a walking tour of Trinity Col- lege, St. Stephen’s Green, the Bank of Ireland (House of Lords – former Irish houses of Parliament), and the Temple Bar district.

Unfortunately in Belfast, due to most of the tours being scheduled either before, or after practices, there wasn’t much free time to get out and explore during the day. One event that I did really en- joy was their annual Christmas market at City Hall. Here they had hundreds of vendors from all around the world that sold anything from food, crafts, and other handmade goods. We were also able to have Thanksgiving dinner at the Titanic museum with Clarkson, Maine, & RPI, which was also pretty neat.

NL: What tips do you have for other teams heading to Ireland?

JB: If I had to give advice or suggestions to people traveling inter- nationally for hockey it would be to reach out to other equipment managers & trainers who have travelled internationally before and speak to them about what to pack and possibilities that may arise

Reach out to the host team if there is a host. Jason “Taff” Ellery (Equipment Manager) of the Belfast Giants was beyond helpful with everything. Make a checklist and go over them repeatedly, you’ll add items and subtract things as you get closer to the trip.

And last but not least ask a lot of questions. I felt by asking ques- tions I was mentally preparing myself for everything, nothing would be big surprise.

NL: What things would you have done differently if you had to go again?

JB: I wouldn’t change a thing. I believe we all went in with a plan for our respective teams and executed them flawlessly. We all were around to help each other if/when needed. Having a host team was very helpful as well. The Belfast Giants went out of their way to accommodate teams that had specific requests.AZ: I agree with Jamaal. With the help from the Giants, our team hosts/arena staff, along with being there for one another, it made the trip so much easier, and a successful one at that

For a closer look on the tournament visit friendshipfour.com

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