A Look Inside Hockey Operations

Last week in Bowling Green, OH. I had a chance to catch up with Paul Prucha the Equipment Manager for the Lake Superior State Lakers Ice Hockey team. I’ve often wondered how an equipment manager goes about his duties during the season and in the off-season, so it was great that Paul was able to fill me in on a few things.

What are your duties as equipment manager?

“The majority of the duties are daily sharpening skates, fixing whatever equipment needs to be fixed, doing laundry, keeping the locker room clean in general.

Ordering equipment in the summertime is probably the most time-consuming part of the job. Dealing with the various vendors that we have to order from can become very complicated! Especially when ordering jerseys, making sure the names are spelled right, because we have so many players from different countries. A lot of our equipment comes from overseas, if there’s an issue, it takes a long time to fix it.”

What is a daily routine for you during the season?

“Usually arrive about nine in the morning, sometimes we have a meeting in the morning, then check the skateboard to see if any skates need to be sharpened or if there’s any equipment that needs to be fixed, that’s always done first. On weekends it’s a different story, sometimes I️ may sharpen the entire teams skates, which is the most time consuming. Also, depends if we have a practice, some guys want them sharpened before and some want them done after practice, once I️ while they want it done for both!”

Is it a one man operation for you?

“It’s partially a one man operation, throughout the season. Although I do have a assistant who has been with me for 6 years, the first five he was a student. He often, especially on game days does a lot of the work. I will come in early in the morning and get things up and going and he comes in later in the morning and stays late after the game, to do laundry.”

What is the weirdest thing that’s happened to you as equipment manager? Forgetting a jersey, a fan hiding in the laundry basket, that type of thing?

“The weirdest thing is mostly requests for different items, such as broken sticks, pins, pucks, I’ve sent pins and pucks, literally all over the world. I’ve donated some equipment to a team in Africa and sent used gloves to a female who graduated from LSSU.”

Are you aware of each player’s superstitions?

“They like to wear the same clothes daily or at least for every game sometimes not getting washed.

I have one player that walks on his hands pryer to the game and another who sets his stick upside down and doesn’t want anyone to touch it prior to the game.”

Do you spend more time with a group of players over the others? I have it in my mind that the goalies would be the answer to that, and that they have the craziest superstition too.

“I️ spend the most time with probably the older guys, just because I️ know them the best. Although I️ like to joke around a lot, so I️ usually hang around with the guys that are probably weird or think I’m funny.”

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