After the Islanders flew commercial in the 1999-00 season, the NHL made it a rule that teams must fly charter. I heard the Zdeno Chara story of trying to switch into the emergency row seats to stretch his legs more then once. In fact, the Islanders were one of the tallest teams in NHL history that year. Not a good time to scrunch on Southwest.
Ontheforecheck.com put together some pretty interesting information on how many approximate miles each team in the NHL will travel this year, how many back-to-back sets of game they’ll have and compared both to 2008-09.
According to the website, the Islanders will travel approximately 31,550 miles this season, which will be about 3,424 additional miles from last year. It’s unclear whether they include the miles they’ll spend on the bus driving to New York City, Newark and Philadelphia or from Anaheim to LA in March. Those miles are always a little harder on the joints.
Chartered flights can get cozy, but when you’re spending that much time in the air and hardly ever getting home before 2 AM, it becomes more daunting.
But don’t get me wrong, some of the best memories I have from working with the Islanders was flying on that plane and I’ll miss the camaraderie that went along with it. On one of our many flights last season, broadcaster Howie Rose told me try a Pizza joint in the Great Neck (where he used to live and where I currently live). Coincidently, I did tonight and it was great.
Travel can be extremely tough in the NHL as the season goes on, but it’s also a lot of fun with the right people and the right attitude.