BRANDON, Man-- Before giving his team the day off on Wednesday, Windsor Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner gave specific instructions to his team: No waterslide.
With almost every hotel in Brandon featuring what amounts to an indoor Wet ‘N’ Wild, the coach wanted to make sure there were no pool-related mishaps before their MasterCard Memorial Cup championship final on Sunday.
But as the former NHLer knows, boys will be boys.
“I’m not going to lie, I went down the waterslide,” said Spitfires forward Justin Shugg before the morning practice.
“I was also a part of that waterslide gang,” said defenceman Cam Fowler. “I’m not going to throw any other teammates under the bus, but I’m just going to say that it wasn’t just me and Shugg only.
“It was a lot of fun.”
Actually it turns out it was most of the team who participated in what Taylor Hall referred to as the “16-man luge” going down the big, twisted, heavy-duty fiberglass track. They put “the horse,” forward Zack Kassian – all 6-foot-3, 210-pounds of him – at the front of their newly-formed luge squad to help quench their need for speed.
“Oh yeah, we really got a lot of speed going,” said Fowler, one of the top-ranked defensive prospects for the NHL draft.
“Kass was at the front because he’s the biggest. We had some fun,” said Hall, whose father Steve was a bobsledder in Calgary. “I think at one point the slide was bending a little bit… it was good.”
There were two lifeguards on duty at the pool, and Fowler say no one was injured, through they were a little worried about Boughner finding out since the coach’s wife, Jennifer, was watching most of the splashy shenanigans take place. Of course the coach found out, but says that probably would have happened anyway with all the ruckus the teen team made in the hotel pool.
“I think they woke up a few people who had pool-side rooms,” said Boughner, who admits his own kids were on the slide with the team.
Boughner said he had planned on having a team dinner with the kids on Wednesday night, but some of the veterans came to him asking for time with their families, since they had already spent so much time together as team during the week in Brandon.
“They said, ‘no offence, but we’re sick of each other,’” said Boughner.
“I’m glad they had some fun and had some laughs and got to spend some time with their families. That was a mature thing on their part.”