On any team, there are always those who like to get to the game early, and those who like to get to the game late. The bane of many a minor hockey coach is the kid who you never knew was coming until they showed up and who didn’t normally show up until sometime after you’d made up your lineup.
Same is true for old-timer teams. There are guys in the W who get there nice and early, get the best spot in the dressing room (yes, there are such things), enjoy watching a bit of the game before and maximize the social aspect of the game. There are also the guys who show up after the Zamboni has already started the flood after the previous game. If you get to your room and see those guys have already arrived, you know you are good and late.
Then of course there is everybody else in the middle.
I’ve morphed over the years from being the kid who was always there early to one of the guys who generally gets there a little later. It’s the just-in-time inventory mindset of hockey I guess. This hasn’t affected my ability to be ready for game time because just getting to the rink early is no guarantee you’ll actually get dressed quickly. That’s because there’s a whole other category, the early-arrivers-who-talk-and-dawdle-and-are-the-last-to-make-it-out-for-the-warmup. These guys used to drive minor coaches really nutz as well. You’d pencil them in to start because they were a sure thing only to find them with only one skate on at the time your pep talk ended.
Of course, the pre-game ritual is completely different than the post-game show. Those that get there early aren’t necessarily the ones who leave first and vice versa. That’ll be the topic of a post of it’s own.