That’s Not Canada…

Trip planning in March is always a challenge and I was shocked that we somehow squeezed in a visit to Lake Placid in between four blockbuster storms last year. This go-around, I made plans for a few more OHL games with trips to Kitchener and Saginaw, while picking up my brother along the way. From Jersey, that would be four separate days on the road and each of them faced the risk and likelihood of snow. Breaking down each event, I specifically didn’t want to chance dealing with lake effect snow in Michigan/Ontario that could easily accumulate given very cold temps forthcoming, plus I likely needed to be into work Monday for a storm as we’re entering an extra busy work stretch. So the brakes were halted on that trip and a long night of researching resulted as I still wanted to go somewhere…

Springfield and Hartford ended up being the final result as a nice set-up of schedules will allow for a couple of new stadiums to be seen. First, I’ll wait out the local morning snow before making the three-hour trip to the Pioneer Valley. I’ve been to the Basketball Hall of Fame a few times, but never visited anywhere else in Springfield, so I’m hoping to have the afternoon to explore a little within the Metro Center (downtown) section of the city. At night, we’ll check out our 11th AHL venue at the MassMutual Center with a game between the Thunderbirds and nearby Hartford Wolfpack. Then, to fulfill my odd beginning desire to see college hockey games, American International College (AIC) fills that need as they have a 1 PM game in the same building. Amazingly, that’s the third Atlantic Hockey game I’ll see this year. Over the state border, but short in distance is Hartford and their University plays out of Chase Arena in the America East Conference. It’s a 5 PM game for them against Albany, which works perfectly for this schedule. I’m still debating the plan after the game, whether I want to drive 3 hours home in a bit of wintry weather or just stay another night in the nearby hotel and have a nice meal post-game. Hedging towards the latter. I did even consider another game on Sunday as UConn plays an hour away in Storrs at Noon. In the end, I decided against it because I don’t want to get caught in another approaching winter storm that might begin as I start heading home. Plus, UConn is building an on-campus hockey arena in a few years and I’ll check out both those venues at the same time.

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