BG hockey to use sleeper bus (06-25-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor   
Tuesday, 25 June 2013 09:47
An exterior look of the sleeper bus and an equipment trailer that follows behind. (Photos courtesy Dream Catcher Coaches)
Bowling Green's hockey team is changing its mode of transportation this season.
Instead of traveling via traditional charter bus, the Falcons will be traveling late at night in a sleeper bus.
The sleeper buses have bunk beds instead of the traditional seats on a bus.
Falcon coach Chris Bergeron expects the team to leave BG around 11 Wednesday night and arrive at their destination the next morning in advance of their Friday-Saturday series.
NCAA rules prohibit teams from leaving more than 48 hours before a game starts.
The Falcons start play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this season. They have nine-hour trips to Northern Michigan and Alabama-Huntsville, a 10-hour trip to Michigan Tech and an 11-hour trip to Minnesota State-Mankato.
BG also will use the sleeper bus to make a nine-hour trip to Union in Schenectady, N.Y. for a nonleague series.
No decision has been made on if the sleeper bus will be used for the trip to Lake Superior.
The sleeper buses have been used by minor professional, junior and midget hockey teams for many years.
Bergeron, and BG assistant coaches Ty Eigner and Barry Schutte, and director of hockey operations Shane Connelly have all traveled via sleeper bus during their minor pro and junior careers.
In the past, the Falcons have left Thursday morning for their destination when using a charter bus.
"We think, ultimately, our players can be better rested because it's a legitimate rest when they're on a bus with sleeping arrangements," Bergeron said, adding the players also will be able to sleep better on their way home on Saturday nights.
A look at one of the lounge areas in the sleeper bus. The BG hockey team will be traveling late at night in the sleeper bus instead of traveling via traditional charter bus.
The Falcons also will reduce their travel costs by using the sleeper bus, instead of flying.
This season, the Falcons will fly to Anchorage, Alaska, although Anchorage will pay for part of BG's travel.
BG normally would fly to Mankato. Bemidji State also is a WCHA member and BG will use the sleeper bus for that next season.
Trips to Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior traditionally have been made via charter bus.
"We're saving a decent amount, enough to make it a very viable option," Bergeron said. "If it was a very minor savings, I don't think we'd do it. We're saving enough where it's worth seeing if this mode of travel works for us"
BG started considering the sleeper bus once it joined the WCHA almost two years ago.
"There was never a mandate you can't fly," Bergeron said. "The athletic department has been very supportive in this transition. We felt like 'let's try it because a lot of other leagues uses this mode of transportation and it works well for them', so we thought let's try it .Flying with 30 guys is not easy. It presents a lot of challenges with the extra bags and keeping everybody together, never mind the cost."
The buses are leased on an as needed basis from Dream Catcher Coaches in Yellow Springs, located between Dayton and Columbus. The vehicles also have TVs, wireless internet and couches.
"We'll get there first thing Thursday morning, eat together, we'll probably practice mid-day once we get there and guys will have plenty of time to rest and get acclimated for Friday night," Bergeron said. "Guys wake up and they're there."
BG usually has a travel party of 30, and the buses typically sleep 22-25 comfortably.  The bus also has several couches, a sink and a bathroom.
The team travels home immediately after Saturday's game.
"It's still within reason," Bergeron said. "We can work it out where everybody should be very comfortable, sleeping through the night on the way there and on the way back. It'll definitely be more comfortable on the way home. The ride home is the one that's difficult and every team that travels faces that."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 10:34

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