Loose Change: Camp out

The following is purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laugh while reading this, while framing this, or while burning this. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?

Theoretically, if you’ve been invited to an NHL training camp, you have a chance of making it on a team’s roster and gaining full-time employment with one of the 30-whatever-it-is clubs in the league. Realistically however, you might need to keep things in proper perspective.

Being drafted in the late rounds is like being a piece of parsley on an appetizer: it looks good on the plate but doesn’t add much to the meal. It’s likely a good idea to prepare yourself for that inevitable talk with the coach, that rickshaw ticket to Pawtucket, and those nice parting gifts.

NHL teams traditionally invite, like, two hundred players to camp (more, if it’s catered). They do this for a number of reasons, the main ones being atmosphere and hotel discounts. The more bodies you see around you, the more pragmatic it is for you to hang onto that Assistant Condiment Spreader’s job at Dairy Queen.

Trust me, it’s a lot easier to temper the family’s lofty expectations now than it is trying to explain to near-sighted Grandma Esther why she “can’t find little Joey on the TV box.”

But how do you know? What are the actual telltale signs your chances of making a team are slim? What makes you the proverbial snowball in Dante’s proverbial deep fryer?

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Well, for startersÂ…

– You’re wearing a three-digit number.
– The coach keeps referring to you as “meat”.
– Your skates have a timer.
– They don’t give you a stick.
– They keep asking about your next of kin.
– Your agent stocks shelves at Wal-Mart.
– Your linemates are paramedics.
– They suggest you keeping your car idling.
– You’re the only player staying in a tent.
– Your puck is chocolate.
– Your helmet’s made by Tonka
– You’re the only player dressing in a ‘fort’.
– You’re paid in bus tokens.
– People keep asking you for the wine list.
– Your college major involved making zebras out of balloons.
– Your contract is signed by Ed McMahon.
– You’re sidelined indefinitely with “Nintendo finger”.
– Mom packs you a lunch before every shift.
– You’re behind the janitor on the depth chart
– The scouting report says you have “nice penmanship”.
– Your home country has a camel on its flag.

If any of the above apply to you, you might seriously need to rethink your career aspirations. If you have any more than five from the list, you probably wrote this article.

Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN’s hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Tuesday and Thursday on

Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at