Overview of trip and Jeff

February 15th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Do you like to travel?

Jeff did, and the road was his mode of choice.  Between June 20, 2011 and December 20, 2011, he logged 31,000 miles on a journey to visit every American state and every Canadian province — and play hockey in each of them.  As a goalie.

The 29-year-old Minnesotan was a software engineer by profession, with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman and an MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford.  Much to his mother’s chagrin, he ended a profitable consulting engagement in the medical device industry in order to become a travel bum for a while.

Glove save!

Had Jeff played his whole life?  He wishes he had.  No, his childhood in Minnesota was spent being a nerd.  The closest he got to playing hockey was playing the sousaphone in pep band at his high school’s hockey games.

After finishing undergrad in Indiana, Jeff returned to Minnesota to work on designing neurostimulation systems.  At the same time, he decided that it was his birthright — nay, his duty! — as a Minnesotan to play hockey.  And so, he signed up for a “learn to play hockey” class. That was in 2004 when he was 22. His only regret is not starting sooner.

So how did the trip come to be?  Blame literature.  A bunch of books planted an idea in his head: he should combine his loves of travel and hockey into an epic adventure of his own.  Hockey in every state and every province? It would be glorious!  It had never before been done.

After a year and a half of planning, Jeff set out to explore North America by hockey.  This blog chronicles his surprises with grizzly bears in Alaska, his moments of reflection alone with his car “Sam”, and his numerous encounters with interesting people on and off the ice from all walks of life.  It’s the experience that many people wish they would do or have done, and here, perhaps, they can live it vicariously.

On the beach in Florida

The route maps and the hockey info might be interesting to see the actual route Jeff took and where he played hockey in each state and province.

More background about the trip can be found in the newspaper, television, and radio pieces done along the way. See the links on the right side of the page under the category “As seen on”.

(One clarification: different sources have put Jeff’s hometown as Maple Grove or Fridley.  Neither is wrong.  Maple Grove was where Jeff grew up, and Fridley was where Jeff lived for the year prior to embarking on the trip.)

Contact Jeff at jeff.keacher@gmail.com

  1. Warren and Bill
    September 25th, 2011 at 23:08 | #1

    Jeff it was great having you in Charleston WV tonight. Thanks so much for stopping by. As it turned out you were really needed in goal. Good luck on your trip and we’ll keep watching your posts.

    Have a safe and wonderful trip.

    Warren and Bill

  2. Jeff
    September 26th, 2011 at 15:55 | #2

    @Warren and Bill It was a lot of fun skating with you guys. Thanks!

  3. September 30th, 2011 at 19:31 | #3

    Hi Jef,

    Pretty cool what you are doing! Have you tried http://www.hockey-community.com? It is a great tool to find pick-up games All over the world. All US rinks are listed, so you can easly track where the pick-up games are.

    Christian Pierre, Belgian ice hockey player & HC Ambassador

  4. Lorenzo
    October 1st, 2011 at 15:09 | #4

    Hey Jeff, just noticed your story on your travels. I was wondering if you are planning to go back to Alaska sometime in the winter? The Big Dipper Ice Arena have three rinks outdoors. Although not a hockey player in any league, I decided to slap the puck around on all three…all in -15 below weather. Its surreal.

  5. Jeff
    October 1st, 2011 at 17:43 | #5

    @Christian Pierre Thanks to that neat commercial, I gave it a look, but I haven’t used it to find a game. Perhaps for one of the upcoming provinces or states?

  6. Jeff
    October 1st, 2011 at 17:45 | #6

    @Lorenzo Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be making it back to Alaska this winter. That said, I can agree that being on outdoor ice in the numbing cold is an amazing experience. If only there were a way for it to be both dark enough for the northern lights and bright enough for hockey…

  7. Stuart
    October 17th, 2011 at 20:10 | #7

    Hi Jeff

    I was poking along on the net tonight and somehow ran into your blog (s) … Very interesting …. more interesting of note it was my son who you saw in Nets against the Cap Breton Screaming Eagles on Thursday night…. That is Cool….! We watched from back in Home in Aylmer, Quebec… Best if luck in your Journeys.. Maybe see you in Ottawa…

  8. Jeff
    October 18th, 2011 at 06:31 | #8

    @Stuart Thanks for visiting the blog, but just to clarify, I was watching the Eagles and the Volts, not playing in the game. I’m too old for junior hockey, and not skilled enough. :)

  9. October 18th, 2011 at 22:58 | #9

    Hey nice blog as well……

  10. Jeff
    October 19th, 2011 at 23:34 | #10

    @PJ Fernandez Thanks! Good talking with you in Corner Brook.

  11. John
    November 7th, 2011 at 13:40 | #11

    Jeff, good meeting you at open hockey in Philly the other night. Sorry about the top of the circle slapshot to the chest. Good luck on the rest of your tip. John Schwartz

  12. Jeff
    November 7th, 2011 at 13:46 | #12

    @John Haha, don’t worry about that one. My chest is well padded. :) Thanks for the fun skate!

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