We used to call it "The west coast trip". We looked forward to it every year and, I believe we departed right after Christmas on 14 of the 15 trips I went on.
Our Moose Jaw Warriors are on their annual trek to compete against the WHL teams out west. They'll stop for games in Edmonton and Medicine Hat on the way home. It'll be 7 games in 12 nights for our boys. That is a tough stretch.
There are 10 teams out west these days but there was a total of 6 when I took my first trip in '86-'87 with just three Canadian teams in Victoria, Kamloops and New Westminster. The only place with a modern arena was Portland. The rest were old school "barns". In fact, they called the Spokane Coliseum "The Boone Street Barn". It was awesome. The boards were wooden. They'd bend and rattle and shake every time a player ran into them. You could hear it on the radio.
The Seattle Centre Arena was built in 1927. The ice surface was almost rectangular with chicken wire fencing behind the nets where they have plexi-glass these days. The boys loved it. So did I.
Those days are long gone. I consider myself fortunate to have been there and done that.