On the road

The U.S. women’s ice hockey team squared off against three-time Olympic champion Canada on Thursday, in one of six matchups this winter as the squads prepare for the Sochi Olympics in February. Hilary Knight, a 2010 Olympian, shows us how many pickles and pieces of luggage were required for the trip.

We packed lightly for our December travel schedule (or not!). Here, we’ve just arrived at the airport, and are waiting to check in for our first flight. The next stop is in Calgary for an exhibition game against Team Canada. I’m excited to get my bags checked and get through security.

A group of us "seasoned" veterans taking advantage of the moving walkway. We get enough exercise in the weight room or on the ice so the moving walkway, elevators and escalators are all very important routes for us when traveling!

(In the back, left to right: Julie Chu, Lisa Chesson, Molly Schaus; I'm in front)

Bon voyage! In the jetway waiting to board our plane from Minneapolis to Calgary. Notice our team loves coffee! Everyone is trying to send their last text messages before our phones are turned off while traveling abroad.

(Front to back: Brianna Decker, Kacey Bellamy, Molly Schaus, Annie Pankowski, Josephine Pucci, Meghan Duggan, Sarah Cahill)

My lovely seat companion, the engaged Jocelyne Lamorouex, crocheting. Annie (left) and I share the same feelings of crocheting: We’re scared that Bri has a rather large needle and looks like Vince Vaughn's overbearing girlfriend from the movie “Wedding Crashers.” Yes, our team is obsessed with crocheting. My excuse is that I keep forgetting to get yarn.

(Front to back: Jocelyne Lamoureux, Annie Pankowski, Bri McLaughlin)

Snapped a picture from the plane before landing. All I could think was, "Man, does it look cold." You’d think we'd be accustomed to the cold, playing a winter sport and all, but the cold never gets warmer. Upon arrival, the captain of the plane announced, "Remember, there's heat in the terminal. Keep moving. If a family member falls in front of you, still keep moving."

Oh hey Shelly. She swears it’s not her first time traveling, but this picture might show otherwise. We are on our way to the bus to the hotel here. I decided to get a luggage cart because I could not pull off this suitcase carry/sling by Shelly Picard.

Bags on bags on bags. I did a rough estimate, and came up with a bag count of 70, and that count doesn't include the supplies that we pre-shipped to Calgary. Each player checks two bags, the staff members each check one, and then miscellaneous equipment is packed in a number of other bags. In this picture, one of the three airport representatives has wheeled a cart into the elevator. Would this be a bad time to mention that I am claustrophobic? Hah, just kidding.

Lounging around in the hotel lobby before our morning practice. Schlep and I grabbed coffees while Monique and Schausy are in a deep book-reading session. Riveting.

(Left to right: Molly Schaus, Anne Schleper, me, Monique Lamoureux)

So I am on this pickle spear kick. After we’d all eaten quite a few, I took the rest back to our hotel room and put them in the fridge. A few hours later I reach in to grab a snack, and the plate of pickles is frozen...whooops. My road roommate, Anne Schleper, and I had a great laugh because we posted a picture on Twitter with the caption "Unthawing our frozen pickles. That's about as exciting as our life gets on the road on a Saturday night."

Photo-bombing a pregame skate picture. We like to have a lot of fun. Our pregame skates are always exciting and packed with drills that we like. It allows us to get moving, feel the puck and get accustomed to the environment. Get in a quick skate, stretch, shower up, go back to the hotel and relax, then return to the rink a few hours before puck drop later that evening. Just living the dream one stride at a time!

This is the view of our teams on the blue line during a short ceremony before the game, honoring Canada's Caroline Ouellette. For ceremonial puck drops and national anthems, we stand across this line in numerical order. Team USA is a sharp-looking team. It’s also the calm before the storm!

Row 9 on our flight back to the US after a 5-1 win over Canada last night. The flight attendant put the most attentive and capable people in charge of the emergency exit. The responsibility and legroom were greatly appreciated!

(From left to right: Jessie Vetter, me)