DETROIT – Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer was on hand at the team’s youth camp this week, sharpening skates and speaking to campers and parents alike about the importance of taking care of their hockey equipment. When he did get a break, Boyer was kind enough to answer a few questions from some of our Twitter followers.
@Chris_Eason How many sticks does an average player go through in a season?
An average player goes through about 6 to 10 dozen sticks per season.
@alexandrekohli What is the best part of your job?
Being around the players is always the best part. They’re friends that you make for life. I remember everybody that’s played for us. I have memories with everyone I’ve worked with, whether it’s a guy that’s just come up for two or three games or somebody you spent your entire career with, like Nick Lidstrom or Steve Yzerman.
@benbarber21 What is the toughest part of your job?
The toughest part is being organized, making sure you have everything. Every time we get in the truck we always ask each other, “do we have everything?” We move a lot of equipment from Joe Louis Arena to the plane, city to city, picking things up wherever we are on the road. So, being organized is probably the toughest part, but somehow, some way we get it done.
@JordanGoonis Have you ever forgotten anyone's equipment?
We haven’t really forgotten anyone’s equipment, sometimes a player forgets something when he packs his own bags, but it’s our responsibility to make sure we have everything. We’re really prepared on the road. We usually have two of everything so that doesn't happen. So, if a mouth guard is missing, we have a backup mouth guard. Everybody has two pairs of gloves, two pairs of skates, so generally we always have ourselves covered if something does go awry.
@Mitchellj44 Who has the most unusual pre-game equipment traditions and what are they?
We don't talk about superstitions! (laughing)
@Gogzilla13 Who has the largest size skate on the Detroit Red Wings?
Jonathan Ericsson. He wears about a size 11 skate.
@JHallett10 Who uses the longest stick on the team? Shortest?
@JHallett10 Why does Niklas Kronwall crank his visor so far back?
It’s his personal preference, really. I don't’ know why, but it’s just how he likes to wear his helmet.
@AlexStitch How close are E.M.s from other teams and do you guys share tips or tricks of the trade?
Yes. We’re all very close. We have a very well run and professional organization called the Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers. We have a conference every year where about 300 equipment managers come from every level of hockey, from the NHL down to the Canadian Hockey League, the OHL, the Quebec League, we invite equipment managers from Europe to come over, so there’s a very tight network of equipment managers and we’re all friends.
@dingo6191 What’s it like working with the Red Wings?
It’s great working for a team that’s this organized, this classy, I think we’re the best in hockey to work for. Nothing against the other teams, but there’s just something special about working here, and working for the Ilitch family.
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