They’re the unsung heroes of the Memorial Cup, staying behind the wheel of the shuttles that keep the event running on time.
Dozens of volunteer drivers are getting a very different view of junior hockey’s biggest tournament as they shuttle CHL brass, team staff, players and parents around the Queen City.
For staff like Acadie-Bathurst Titan’s equipment manager Jean Huynh, it’s made the week go by smoother.
“I tend to stay after the game a bit more than the players do, just to clean up the room and get skates sharpened,” Huynh explained. “To have that service after the games and before the games is wonderful just for my own timing.”
Other calls have fallen on the unusual side.
“A fellow came out and needed to go see a dentist,” shuttle driver Terry Patryluk recalled. “He had a bad tooth and was lucky enough to get in very quickly.”
The drivers have also taken on the role of tour guide as many passengers are visiting the city for the first time. Some have driven as far as the Moose Jaw tunnels to give tourists a better picture of Saskatchewan.
“I took people to the Legislature this morning. It was their first time in Regina,” shuttle driver Jim Frolik said. “I’ve taken golfers to Regina Golf Course, then the RCMP training ground, and government house.”
With pace picking up ahead of Sunday’s championship game, 113 drivers have been tapped to cover 1000 shifts. They’ll transport as many as 400 people per day- including hockey legends like Guy Lafleur and junior hockey players searching for fast food.
Besides carrying future NHL stars, they’ve also been entrusted with some precious cargo.
“One of our drivers picked up the Stanley Cup and the guy from the Hockey Hall of Fame (Phil Pritchard), that comes along with the cup. One of the stops they made that night was actually to their house,” shuttle driver Ron Jones said. “She was ecstatic!”
The 40 shuttles will complete their assignment two days after the Memorial Cup wraps up, making for an unforgettable two weeks on and off the ice.