Last Friday night, I played hockey with my regular pickup group. I had a stellar night. It was tremendous fun. Even better, I learned that my plan to drive long distances for the sake of the greatest sport on Earth may not be crazy. In fact, there exists something of an existence proof.
Before the game, we were all engaging in the usual dressing-room banter. It came to light that one of the players, a 20-something guy named Ian, had driven up from Iowa for the game. Yes, Iowa. Three hours each way between there and Minneapolis. It wasn’t like he happened to be in town for some other reason; in fact, he planned to head back to Iowa immediately following the game.
This group rents 90 minutes of ice for each of its pickup games. People commit in advance, so there are always about 20 skaters and 2 goalies. Thus, each skater gets about 45 minutes of ice time.
Imagine driving 180 minutes to get to the rink, spending 25 minutes getting ready to play, spending 15 minutes changing after the game, and driving another 180 minutes to get home. Roughly 400 minutes of overhead. All for 45 minutes of fun.
The situation reminded me of the beginning of a certain Molson commercial, which explains that if you’re a Canadian, you’ve probably driven an hour for 19 minutes of ice time. The commercial never clarifies if that means an hour round-trip or an hour each way, but in either case it’s less extreme than Ian’s drive.
Ian’s drive might even be more extreme than my own planned adventure. Depending on my exact mileage and number of games played, I could easily average less than six hours of driving time per game. For example, if I play 70 times and drive 23,000 miles at an average of 60 mph — not unreasonable numbers — then I will average just 5.5 driving hours per game.
All of these estimates are very rough. Perhaps I should measure some quantities during the trip:
- Total driving distance (Prediction: 24,250 miles)
- Total driving time (Prediction: 440 hours)
- Total sleeping time (Prediction: 1200 hours)
- Total time spent on the ice (Prediction: 82 hours)
- Total time spent in arenas (Prediction: 170 hours)
- Total pucks stopped (Prediction: 2100 shots)
- Total hiking distance (Prediction: 100 miles)
Epic, in many ways.