`

Captain’s log: Jonathan Phillips on a long travel day to Belarus with Sheffield Steelers

Dinner with the Steelers - at the back end of a very long day
Dinner with the Steelers - at the back end of a very long day

Jonathan Phillips diary of events

Steelers play Nomad Astana (Kazakhstan; Friday) host team Yunosk Minsk (Belarus, Saturday) and Ritton (Italy; Sunday) in a four team tournament in the Continental Cup Finals.

It’s sort of the ice hockey equivalent of football’s Europa League.

If Steelers win we will achieve automatic qualification to the Champions Hockey League next season.

That’s the aim.

But it is going to be a hell of a hard task to achieve that.

Jonathan Phillips on the bus

Jonathan Phillips on the bus

This is my blog of events.....

1.30am (Wednesday)

Just sat on the bus. Normally the boys are bouncing when we arrive for a road trip. Doesn’t feel to bouncy right now.

Boys are tired. I’m guessing some have had some sleep and some, like me haven’t been able to sleep.

On the plane

On the plane

Trip to Gatwick ahead of us, hopefully we will get a few hours on route.

Whilst the boys are quiet we are in good spirit, we are looking forward to these games, looking forward to having another crack at that Minsk team. They caught us early in Denmark, we had only just touched down and bang they hit us hard. This time we will have had a full day in Minsk and don’t play the hosts until Saturday.

Danny has arranged omelettes, that’s nice. He does look after us. Food is going to be an issue in the next 24 hours and I know the club have tried to make sure we keep fed and hydrated throughout the travel time.

Night all, Captain’s Log signing off.

Chatting with Ervins Mustukovs

Chatting with Ervins Mustukovs

5.55am.

Bus running early so pulled into Cobham services. I think Thommo doesn’t want us at the airport too early.

Doors are open but I think only one guy has stepped off. Funny things these bus trips. Some guys sleep and some guys just can’t.

It’s been a quiet ride down. A few of the guys played cards. Some watched a movie on their Ipads and some just got their heads down.

Danny has served most of the guys omelettes. Protein he says. They were nice.

Just heard the driver say once back in the toad about 30 minutes to Gatwick.

Sheffield Steelers v Yunost Minsk.'Continental Cup, November 17, 2017. Rungsted, Denmark.'Picture: Dean Woolley

Sheffield Steelers v Yunost Minsk.'Continental Cup, November 17, 2017. Rungsted, Denmark.'Picture: Dean Woolley

A little more sleep for me.

Capital’s log signing out.

9.15am

A moment to sit down and have some breakfast. Another breakfast. We’ve checked in our bags.

The check-in lady looked like the blood had drained from her when she saw 32 of us walk to her queue with hockey bags, sticks, goalie equipment.

She did a great job and got us through quickly enough.

We even made it through security without a drama. When Hewey (Jason Hewitt) used to be with us he would slide a bottle of water in someone’s bag. So they would get pulled over. I don’t miss him especially at this time of the morning.

Some of the boys eating and some sleeping. Moose (Ervins Mustukovs) wandering around the shops. For a man that boy likes to shop.

The flights at 10.20. I’m not a great flyer. Don’t enjoy it. Will be glad when we touch down. I’ll check in with you all then.

2pm.

I’m sat with Davey Phillips on the plane. We’ve done many flights together with Steelers and GB.

Just after take as our plane rises it descends fairly quickly. Strange I think.

Then just ahead of us another plane flies over us. It was probably a mile away but it felt a lot closer.

We try and sleep but not a lot going on there. Mathieu Roy goes straight asleep next us.

The immigration forms come out. We don’t understand a lot of what’s on them. Nice lady a few rows down comes and helps.

We all look to Kieran Brown.

Please someone help him with his form or we could be all heading home sooner than we thought.

8pm here 5 back home

Busy day. Once we arrived our bus was waiting for us. It was the team bus of the host team here.

We headed to the rink to unload the equipment. Wow what a building. The fans coming over will love it. High and steep. About five years old.

Our dressing room is huge. There is a lounge off it for us to relax, coach’s Office, Physio room, Doctor’s room and a stretch area. You couldn’t fault it.

Back on the bus and to the hotel. Minsk looks a lovely modern city not what I expected.

The hotel is 5 star. Can’t knock it at all. Keys ready when we arrived. Dropped the bags off and down for food. A great meal. Pasta, chicken, vegetables, potatoes just what we want and need. Lots of juices too.

We’ve all come back to bed. We haven’t really slept all day other than a doze on the bus and plane .

We have a skate tomorrow. I can’t wait to get on the ice. It looks good Ice. Cold and hard.

Hope you’ve enjoyed day one with us. Tomorrow the real work starts.

Love to the wife and kids back home. More tomorrow I’m sure.

Jonno.

Steelers at the airport

Steelers at the airport

Andreas Valdix with JP

Andreas Valdix with JP

At last.. in the dressing room

At last.. in the dressing room

Jason Hewitt - one prankster I am not missing on this trip

Jason Hewitt - one prankster I am not missing on this trip