ASU Hockey's Alaska trip featured a stuck bus and faulty zambonis

The Sun Devils had an eventful weekend in Fairbanks, including below freezing temperatures

The ASU hockey team may have split their series with Alaska Fairbanks last weekend, but some players considered it a victory just to have survived a trip to Alaska with its frigid climate.

For junior forward and Arizona native Johnny Walker, the plan was simple. 

“I try to stay inside, honestly,” Walker said. “It’s not exactly a fun place to go hang out at the park or anything, so I just try to stay inside and stay loose, hit the gym and not be outside.”

Walker’s description may be an understatement. When the Sun Devils arrived in Fairbanks last Thursday, the high for that day was 26 degrees Fahrenheit.

The low was a whopping 17 degrees.

So it figures the team bus would get stuck right behind the Carlson Center, requiring some Sun Devil manpower to get the tires back up.

“Honestly, it just made the experience better,” freshman forward Logan Jenuwine said. “You know, what are the chances you’re gonna go to Alaska and your bus is gonna get stuck? It’s honestly funny that that happened to us. Why wouldn’t it?”

Being from Michigan, Jenuwine isn’t a stranger to cold weather. He wasn’t bothered by the freezing temperatures as much as his teammates were. In fact, he was able to find enjoyment in their time in Alaska. He's happy to be back in Phoenix, but it wasn’t a big deal to him.

“It wasn’t too bad. I’m from Michigan, so it wasn’t a huge difference. It was a cool experience,” Jenuwine said. “It’s definitely good to see the snow for a few days and then get back here where it’s 80 degrees and you can hang out by the pool.”

The team did have issues with Alaska, though. Once they arrived at the Carlson Center, the team soon learned that zamboni problems had resulted in bad ice, making it basically impossible to practice. 

Playing an away game without practicing the day before is not an ideal situation, especially after taking a long trip to another state.

“It was unfortunate,” head coach Greg Powers said. “We went up early, and they had some Zamboni issues on Thursday. We got onto the surface and it was the worst ice any of us had ever been on. We weren’t really able to practice before playing on it.”

Despite the adjustment period, ASU’s play on the ice didn’t falter. On Friday, the Sun Devils were narrowly defeated 4-3 by the Nanooks. The Sun Devils got their revenge in a 4-0 shutout the next day.

READ MORE: ASU hockey splits series against Alaska Fairbanks, moves to 6-4 on season

Game results aside, Powers hopes this road trip was a humbling experience for the team. 

“We’re spoiled down here, and it’s good for our guys to understand how good they have it,” Powers said. “I have a ton of respect for the Fairbanks program and the community, but with the weather we get down here, it was definitely a change of pace (for us). We’re happy to be home.”

However, Jenuwine is a little suspicious of the Zamboni problem. The freshman joked about the convenient timing with the issues occurring the day the Sun Devils arrived.

“Of course they’re gonna give us crappy ice when we come in a day early to Alaska,” Jenuwine said. “The whole experience made me think, ‘Wow, thank god I don’t play here.’ We live in Tempe and sit by the pool while you guys are dealing with negative 20 degree weather.”


Reach the reporter at cvanligt@asu.edu and follow @Connor_VL on Twitter. 

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