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Dillon Giancola: Flat tires and locked cars

Sometimes, in sports and in life, the best laid plans are sabotaged by the unexpected, and we have to accept it, adapt, and move forward.
Flat Tire
The shredded tire on the Huskies' bus on March 20.

Sometimes, in sports and in life, the best laid plans are sabotaged by the unexpected, and we have to accept it, adapt, and move forward.

Don’t worry, I’m not writing a serious column about how to deal with the loss of a loved one or suddenly being unemployed.

No, I’m talking about car troubles and random chance. The kind of stories that frustrate you endlessly in the moment and that bring a smile to your face the next day.

The Fort St. John Huskies were travelling to Peace River on March 20 to play the North Peace Navigators and potentially win the Senator’s Cup.

However, 30 minutes down the road, their bus blew a cooling hose. A mechanic happened to stop and help the team, and an hour later the hose was fixed. With the team back on the road, and the game set to start an hour later, things were back on track.

The Huskies were an hour outside of Peace River when the bus blew a tire. I was on the bus and it was loud and woke me from my nap.

The game was cancelled, and the Huskies went back to Peace River the next day where they won the NWJHL championship. It’s hard to say what effect the frustrations of the bus troubles had on the next day’s game, but I like to think it was a whole lot.

Those that know me well would have been right to blame my being on the bus for the hose and the flat tire. After all, I did write in 2017 about the time I had two flat tires in the span of an hour.

Although the Huskies vehicle troubles were behind them, mine were just getting started. The next day, March 21, the team and I were now in Peace River and the game was set to start in an hour.

I borrowed someone’s truck to go up town for a quick errand. To make a long story very short, I locked myself out of the truck; the key I had would not open the door. A series of frantic phone calls and expensive cab rides ensued, but it all ended up fine and I was able to take in the Huskies’ historic win.

In a sense, you could say I also overcame car troubles to win my championship. But I prefer you don’t because that sounds a bit pathetic.

In case you were wondering, a cab ride from one end of Peace River to the other costs $17. That’s $15, plus two more for using debit. In case you needed any more reason to cheer against the Navigators at this week’s Hockey Alberta provincials, there it is.

These unfortunate but funny stories occur all the time in sports and can make the subsequent win that much sweeter. But if a sports team decides to uninvite me from an important road trip, I’ll understand.

Dillon Giancola covers Peace Region sports for the Alaska Highway News. Email him at sports@ahnfsj.ca