On Wednesday, Braden Holtby spoke to the media for the last time this season at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The next day he went to his DC-area home, packed up his things, and got in his car and drove. And drove. And then drove some more.
Three days later, after making a couple of pit stops along the way (including one in St. Cloud, Minnesota where Matt Hendricks played college hockey), Holtby arrived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Google estimates the Holtbeast had to travel 31 hours and 2,006 miles in his car to make it back home. Here’s what it looks like on a map.
Holtby was in a hurry to get back home because he wanted to cheer on his former junior team, the Saskatoon Blades, who are hosting the 2013 Memorial Cup. On Sunday night, the Blades played the Halifax Mooseheads, and Holtby’s presence proved to be good luck as Saskatoon won 5-2. Earlier in the tournament, the Blades lost to Dale Hunter’s London Knights, 3-2.
During the first period, Holtby — wearing a leather jacket and sporting a ponytail and beard — gave a televised interview. Here’s what was said.
Welcome back. So we’re joined by Braden Holtby. This guy’s used to being down there [points to the ice] during his three full seasons with the Saskatoon Blades and now he’s up here watching junior hockey. What do you remember about your time in the Western Hockey League.
It’s the best time of your life. I think every player says that. Juniors — just the camaraderie with your teammates and what not — we had an outstanding coaching staff and training staff. It was an absolutely perfect three years.
So the best part of an NHL player’s life is the playoffs and I know Washington got there and looked good. What do you make of losing to New York in the opening round?
Yeah. [Audibly sighs] I mean obviously we would have liked a different outcome, but nowadays every NHL team is so close. We got beat by a very good team, but we’ll learn from it and bounce back next year.
What can you tell us about your drive? You drove here. You know there are flights to Saskatoon? How’d you get here?
Yeah. I just wanted some of my stuff and my vehicle back here so I hurried up and knew there was a chance to come here and watch a game and made sure to make the drive as quick as I could to get here.
Braden, thanks for the visit.
Took him three days by the way guys, if you’re counting at home.
Braden also walked around the arena, checking out the CCM booth.
Photo credit: @toddduffin
Holtby also posed to take pictures with fans.
Photo credit: @mikepaziuk
It’s nice to see Braden — just like Matt Hendricks and Karl Alzner — having some fun after a tough first round loss against New York. Getting some love from his hometown fans had to help.
— Saskatoon Blades (@bladeshockey) May 19, 2013