Merrimack College hockey coach Mark Dennehy and his team left early Thursday for their trip to Orono for this weekend’s Hockey East series against the University of Maine because they wanted to beat the snowstorm.
But it turned out to be an adventure.
The team bus broke down on a bridge just south of Portland, and it took two and a half hours for another bus to reach them and bail them out.
“Everybody chilled. A couple of the guys got a lot of schoolwork done. We had Wi-Fi and heat. There’s no such thing as roughing it these days,” said Dennehy. “It was one of those times you wondered what the human species did before computers.”
The tow truck showed up first, but it had to wait for the new bus because equipment had to be transferred from the team bus.
“In the process, one of our players lost his cellphone. So we formed a search party. We found it,” Dennehy said.
He quipped that they were cautious looking for the cellphone while still on the bridge.
“Nobody was put in harm’s way. No children or animals were abused in the making of this movie,” quipped Dennehy.
The trip, which usually takes a little under four hours, started at 12:30 p.m., and they pulled into the hotel at 6:45 p.m. before going to a local restaurant for a meal at 7 p.m.
That meant they wound up driving through the snow after all.
Dennehy said it was just the second time he can recall being on a bus that broke down on a trip during his coaching career.
“When I was at UMass [as an assistant], our bus broke down on the way back from a trip to Maine,” recalled Dennehy.