Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tricks of the Trade: Finding teams

When it comes to hounding a visiting hockey team, the first rule of order is finding them. If you don't know where they are staying, you'll never get an autograph.

With that in mind, follow these tips:

~ When considering what hotels that a team might stay at, look for those that are within walking distance or a 15-minute ride of the home team's arena. There will be exceptions, but this should narrow down the field.

~ When calling a hotel, don't ask for the team's superstars. Instead, ask for third or fourth-liners, or the sixth or seventh defenseman. I've even found teams by asking for a team's equipment manager or trainer. Also, call around shift-change times -- 7 a.m., 3 p.m. or 11 p.m. Calling at these times of transition often catch a normally vigilant front-desk clerk or hotel operator off-guard.

~ If all else fails, park near the player's entrance at the home arena and wait for the visiting team's bus to leave. After that, simply follow the bus back to the hotel.

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