The Check Life: A Sneak Peek At The Charlotte Checkers

I had the pleasure of getting an inside look in the Charlotte Checkers locker room. No, I didn’t pay the cleaning clean to wire the place with cameras (they declined my offer). During my Checkers trips with my Raleigh Road Trippers gals, I had the privilege of meeting Assistant Equipment Manager Mr. David Paul. Dave and I became fast friends, we even have the BFF bracelets to prove it. He allowed me to take advantage of this blossoming relationship for Cardiac Cane readers.

Ol'Faithful (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

OK, that’s a lie. I had a ton of neurotic questions bubbling up inside me like freak’in Old Faithful. Despite the interview being done for selfish reasons, Mr. Dave did provide excellent insight to imperative questions like, “How big of a load can you handle?” We’re talking washing machines here people, gosh.

Now, I rarely get to do interviews and Dave rarely gives them (he declined Dateline’s offer), so we started off nice and easy…

KP: Hi Dave.

DP: Hi Gorgeous.(Ok, he really didn’t say that, but this is my interview and I’m loosely translating.)

KP: {blushes} Oh no, my hair is a mess and I haven’t been to the gym in weeks…

DP & KP all pimped out.

Clearly, this type of interview transcription is bad news bears for my imagination. Let me just give you the highlights…

  • Dave started a in a pro shop, made his way into the Southern Professional League, picked up a wealth of knowledge in a gig with the Hurricanes, and recently spent the 2010-11 season with the Charlotte Checkers.
  • Dave is a Libra who enjoys walks on the beach, but not sand in his shorts.
  • He uses Tide and Downy for the team’s laundry to my dismay. He promised to use cruelty-free products in the future.
  • The Checkers’ washing machines can hold 45 pounds of laundry! My inner Monica got so excited. If I had access to that washer I could wash comforters, area rugs, dog beds…
  • The man has scores of sticks. On a three game road trip he’ll pack 3-4 extra sticks per player. That’s a lot of wood (Ok, I know they’re not really made of wood…but I’ll sacrifice knowledge for a joke).
  • A typical game day starts at 7am for the equipment crew. They get everything out and prepared for the usual 10am pre-game skate. His day is consumed with sharpening skates, laundry, sewing, cleaning visors, and hanging gear.
  • Another Monica moment…sweaters are washed on cold and hung dry while everything else (towels, socks, and such) are warm/hot and thrown in the dryer. Fascinating.
  • They also do the visiting teams laundry; however, it is a give and take. Visitors pay for the service and the Checkers do the same while they are on the road.
  • Speaking of road, the team buses it to Norfolk but it requires 55 pieces of ‘luggage’ when they fly. My husband can no longer complain about my one extra shoe bag.
  • All players use Reebok pants, gloves, and helmets. However, three players get stick exemption. For the Checkers is was Matsumoto, Boychuk, and Samson (Faulk took Samson’s exemption).
  • On game day, the equipment crew does about 11 loads of laundry. That’s a lot of loads to manage. I don’t know if I could handle that large of a load. Anyway…
  • Dave’s favorite city to play in would be Hershey or Wilkes-Barre as he claims, “The equipment staff is amazing. They always take really good care of us.” They handle your loads well, do they Dave?

What have I realized by talking with my friend David?

The word “load” makes me giggle.

More importantly, I am as distracted by a moving puck as an infant is by a rattle. So many little details I never thought to ask in the fifteen years I’ve been following hockey. Shiny ice and soft wings are apparently all I need to know.

Thanks to my BFF for the downLOAD. Be sure to follow Mr. Paul on Twitter @DiamondDave1013

Topics: Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Checkers, David Paul, Jerome Samson, Jon Matsumoto, Justin Faulk, Zach Boychuk

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