There’s no question the most valuable player any junior hockey team can have is their bus driver.
They all have nicknames, they all have their own nuances and vibrant personalities, but each and every one of them are just part of the team.
Behind the scenes, behind the wheel, they are the real MVP.
Driver’s commitment to detail and professionalism usually goes unnoticed, by those outside the hockey world, but for the players, coaches and their loved ones, they mean everything.
Long hours on bad roads. Long hours on good roads. Long hours behind the wheel.
Long hours driving in every thing unimaginable, that’s just their job and they do it with an unwavering commitment to safety at every turn.
Every bus driver is different. Every bus driver is the same.
Their impact goes well beyond just simply driving, they become a critical element to every team.
From the cheering squad on the road, to a non judgmental pillar of support, bus drivers across the entire Canadian Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League just do their job, hour after hour, night in, night out, road trip after road trip.
The fraternity of bus drivers across this country in the junior ranks are truly the unsung heroes of every organization.
Obviously, times and have drastically changed with travel rules and restrictions and many of today’s drivers certainly don’t take the risks that their predecessors did. Nevertheless, it’s winter in Canada and we all know how sketchy things can get.
In a blink of an eye everything can change.
You see every driver that I have had the privilege to meet in my time covering the QMJHL are truly extraordinary people, effective communicators and die hard supporters of each and every kid and coach on the team.
Each and every driver becomes a trusted alley and member of the group, a member of the family.
One can only imagine how many hockey games they have seen, what they have heard over the years and what they have seen on the road when everyone else is sound asleep behind them, depending on them.
They say the road less travelled is often the most rewarding; in this case the road well travelled is the most rewarding for each and every bus driver in the QMJHL.
From the outside looking in, the road becomes monotonous or a tedious endeavour.
Nothing is taken lightly; nothing is taken for granted on the road.
Each time out, the driver has to be sharp, they have to be on their game, in the zone. Expect the unexpected, consistent and safe, nothing is ever taken for granted on the road.
A quiet calming presence when things look grim.
A trusted ally behind the wheel, that’s what every team needs to feel.
They all have nicknames, they are all different, yet all the same, they are the true MVP’s they are the ones behind the wheel.