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Because of their schedule, travel, ECHL all-star break and state of emergency in St. John’s, they haven’t had a full workout in two weeks
There may be no rest for the wicked, but apparently there is for those on wicked win streaks.
The Newfoundland Growlers are set to fly from St. John’s today after a long, and mostly unplanned stretch of days without practices.
The Growlers, winners of 11 straight contests — the longest such streak in the ECHL this season — take on the Reading Royals in northeastern Pennsylvania Friday night. It will be the Growlers’ first game in more than a week; Newfoundland hasn’t played since beating the Kansas City Mavericks at Mile One Centre last Wednesday.
That was also the last time the Growlers hit the ice.
The ECHL is currently on its all-star break, when there is a three-day prohibition on practices (from Tuesday through today), but because Newfoundland’s schedule created such a big gap between games, the players had the option to have their mandated no-practice days earlier, and that’s what they voted to do.
That might have been expected, given that the Wednesday win over the Mavericks completed a stretch that saw the Growlers play five games — three on the road and two at Mile One — in six days. In other words, they badly needed the time off.
It’s just that ended getting more time off than expected.
Before the three-day break was over, a record winter snowstorm hit St. John’s last weekend, leading to a state of emergency, bringing the metro area to a standstill and meaning no practices were possible.
Instead of sticks, the Growlers — like most people in the area — found themselves wielding shovels in an effort to dig out themselves .. and their neighbours.
No practices has become very much the status quo for the team. Given Newfoundland’s busy playing schedule earlier this month and taking to account the all-star break, state of emergency and travel days, it’s been two weeks since the team held a full workout; the Growlers only managed game-day skates in the interim.
And they won’t practising this weekend, either. After playing Friday, the North Division-leading Growlers (29-10-0) have a rematch with the Royals on Saturday, before travelling to Brampton, Ont., for a Sunday-evening game against the Beast. They travel back to St. John’s on Monday and then get ready for a couple of games (Jan. 31, Feb. 1) against the Beast at Mile One, where they will look to extend their 16-game home-ice winning streak.