MY FIRST ROAD TRIP

By Lee Samuels

All of the Las Vegas players and coaches have stories about their first hockey road trip. This was initally written a few years sprinkled again with brand new stories including ones from former UNLV goalie Terry Martin and GM/Head coach Adam Stio of the Las Vegas Cavalry who play in the Mountain West Hockey League.

ARTURO CASTRO, UNLV REBELS

“I remember a real fun trip to Southern California in my first year in bantams. It was the first year I played ice hockey and Pokey Reddick was our coach. I was just starting to get to know the players on the Las Vegas Outlaws and we took Connor Haney with us since I had known him for such a long time. We had a blast trash can tipping on doors and we also played a lot of mini hockey in the hallways.”

RICHIE CROSSLEY, LAS VEGAS CAVALRY

“Probably the funniest thing which happened on one of my first hockey road trips when I was with my Dad, Ryan Rivera and his dad. I think we were mites. We were going to Boise and there was a real bad snowstorm. Me and Ryan had to go to the restroom but there wasn’t anything around. So they stopped the car at the side of the road and Ryan and I got out. It was snowing real bad. Couldn’t see anything. Then we were making our way back to the car we didn’t see our car. They had driven away without us. It was real scary for a few minutes because of the bad snow. At last they came back. Both were laughing real hard.”

GOALIE LUKE FUNDATOR – (from his hockey dad Doug)

“Luke’s first road tournament would have been in 2010 with the Outlaws (Mite) at Channel Island Ice Center (Oxnard CA) for a Labor Day Tournament. Rink was an old converted grocery store and was cold as a walk in freezer. Team was filled with 02-03 players. Coaches were Bo Lackas, Dom Beaudouin, Steve Mensch, and Doug Fundator Manager.”

Roster:
Luke Fundator

AJ Lackas

Chase McCrossan

John Purdy

Deric Prier

Ian Williams

Connor Brazil

JoJo Heinzelman

Ethan  Sodoma

Blade Taylor

Joey Hallett

“I think we finished 3rd and my only memory was that the kids thought the rink smelled like old milk (like I said, old grocery store).”

TERRY MARTIN, FORMER UNLV GOALIE

“My first road trip was in Canada with our county roller hockey team called the Stratcona Crush. We were about 10 years old and went to Vancouver. It was a national tournament and we ended up winning the whole thing. I was the goalie. Nothing real funny happened but we ended up having a ton of fun playing floor hockey in the halls of the hotel rooms.”

ZACH POCHIRO, LAS VEGAS

Hockey dad Steve said “…Dennis Nolan and I coached Zach when he played for the Las Vegas Icemen at the old Sahara rink. I doubt that Zach remembers this road trip but when he was five years old there was a mixup in the schedule and we wound up playing against eight year olds. And when we got back to our hotel room there a problem. The toilet had overflowed and stuff was running into our room.” 

EDDIE SAMUELS, LAS VEGAS – “RED LINE” AA LAS VEGAS MUSTANGS

“I will never forget my first hockey road trip. Still think about it. I was 9 or 10 and playing roller hockey for the Las Vegas Rolling Thunder at Crystal Palace. Never had been away from home because we used to play roller hockey with Travis Hackney in our driveway.

“Larry Sanford was our hockey coach and he drove Eddie Lewis and myself to our first tournament in Thousands Oaks, California. Eddie’s dad was with us too.

“My folks had my hockey equipment in their big red Amigo. My Dad drives real slow. He and my Mom got to the hotel late at night, but had to change rooms because something was wrong with their first room

“The next morning early we were heading to the roller rink. Except I didn’t have my equipment yet. Eddie Lewis’ Dad went to the front desk and asked for my parents hotel room number. For some reason the hotel manager wouldn’t give it up. Back then there were no cellular phones or blackberries, nothing. So Eddie’s Dad got in a big fuss at the front desk. It got pretty heated. Like, real bad. But we got the room number, found my parents and then we all went to the rink. It’s funny what happens when you are far away from home.”

ADAM STIO, GM/HEAD COACH LAS VEGAS CAVALRY

“My first road trip was with a team called the New Jersey Devils when I was 11 or 12 years old – ice hockey, a peewee year and we were playing on Long Island. The rink was really old school even for the the early 1990s looking like it was put together in the 1950s and retro fitted. They had glass on the backboards but some fencing by the benches that was metal and plastic coated. I got checked by the bench and the bottom of the fencing was kind of bowed out and some of the points at the bottom tore my gloves and cut my hand pretty good. 

“Fast forward 6 to 7 years later and I am playing in a roller hockey tournament which didn’t have referees. I ended up as a referee for 10, 11 games in a row and on the floor we were talking about the other rink where I got hurt with the fencing. This roller place had the same kind of fencing almost all the way around – the back part behind the nets were completely bowed from all of the abuse from all of the shots over the years. So when you skated down there to call calls you didn’t want to go near it. I got stuck once and was trying to feel for the boards to get out of a players way and the bottom part of the fence poked through one of my fingers. Like a champ I finished the tournament – taped everything up and kept going.”

MIKE TRIMBOLI, DEFENSEMAN, LAS VEGAS

“John McNicholas was our coach when I played in squirts in Las Vegas. In our first road trip we went to play at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. We really had one of our coolest experiences playing ‘shinny hockey’ in the hotel hallways whenever we were not at the rink.”

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Send your First Road Trip story to leesamuels07@aol.com