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One of the challenges during a Memorial Cup tournament away from home is keeping the players relaxed during off-days. The London Knights are doing their best to keep the players feeling comfortable in their 12-day home away from home....
Sunday marked the second straight day the Knights did not have a game at the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup after opening with a 3-2 win Friday against the host Saskatoon Blades. London is staying in Downtown Saskatoon, giving the players options to get away from hotel monotony. From malls to movies, there are choices beyond the usual XBox standby.
"We're just trying to relax - walk around a little bit too to keep the legs moving," said Knight forward Bo Horvat. "It's a different than being at home but it's kind of the same routines."
For any hockey team, it's usually up to the support staff to ensure the players are comfortable on the road - allowing the players to focus on winning. "They're not pros where they have their regiments down, so we try to get them out as much as possible," explained Knights Assistant Coach Dylan Hunter. "Walking around the mall or even going to a movie together. We have a couple ping pong tables down there (at the hotel) for them...we try to get them moving, get them out."
"(We had) a nice meal last night...relax and enjoy the atmosphere," added Coach Dale Hunter. "It's a great city here in Saskatoon and the kids are having fun."
There have been teams over the years that have virtually gone stir crazy during Memorial Cup off-days - especially with the two-day break after playing the opening game. From roaming around the downtown core, to outings involving the entire team, most agree it's important to remain active - but relaxed. After clinching their spot in the championship game last year, the Knights used one of the off-days to take the team to Quebec City. By all accounts it was a nice escape from the pressures of the quest for junior hockey's top prize.
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