Cardigan Mountain School finish? Examine. One-time Canaan homeowner? Examine. Undrafted after 4 years of college hockey? Novice Stanley Cup playoff participant? Inspect and examine.
Previous Dartmouth College defenseman Ben Lovejoy followed that path during his very first season with the Pittsburgh Penguins 11 years earlier. Fellow CMS graduate and ex-St. Lawrence blueliner Gavin Bayreuther is repeating the route almost to the letter, just with the Dallas Stars. And he’s often advised how he’s travelling a familiar path.
“(It) does all the time,” Bayreuther confessed over the weekend. “(I’m) extremely close with him, and he’s assisted me a lot.”
As Lovejoy was with the Pens, Bayreuther is playing the function of a Black Ace with destiny, who were a win away from making the Stanley Cup Finals entering Monday night. The term has actually gained common use in the NHL throughout the years, representing players brought up for the playoffs to assist with depth at practice and insurance versus injuries.
Bayreuther hasn’t skated for Dallas because the 2018-19 season, investing his time with its Austin-based AHL affiliate instead. He does, however, occasionally get to join warmups prior to a championship game, as happened when destiny opened the Western Conference finals against the Vegas Golden Knights recently in Edmonton, Alberta.
“Clearly, it’s such a wild world today with everything that’s going on,” Bayreuther said in a Saturday phone interview from his Edmonton hotel room, hours before destiny’ 2-1 win that provided a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. “When I first returned to Dallas for training camp, I was under the impression that COVID might play a big part in this and everyone needs to be ready. Somebody might pull out; three people could come down with COVID and be out X days. All of us have to be prepared, and it’s all going quite efficiently. I’m kind of simply there, prepared to go.”
The scariest part of being in the NHL bubble was merely reaching it.
Bayreuther lost his Texas Stars AHL season when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, however Dallas made it clear he remained in the plans should the NHL resume play. Bayreuther returned the house he and his fiancée, Erin Higgins, own in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, beyond Portland, and transformed his garage into a workout space. As guaranteed, Dallas called him back in late June.
It came with a catch.
“The end of June, around the 20th, the GM calls me and tells me I’m coming– he said, ‘We desire you here by the 28th’– and you have to drive,” Bayreuther said. “I was all shocked about it, so I ended up driving in a rental automobile with my papa. Due to all of the quarantine rules, if I flew I would have needed to quarantine for 2 week. I got there at the end of June, and I have actually remained in a hotel since.”
Bayreuther confessed bubble life can be stagnant, but destiny and the NHL have actually done what they can to help. The teams’ hotel, the JW Marriott, is connected to Rogers Place and “about a 3-minute walk to the locker room.” Occasional sightseeing tour to run around Commonwealth Arena or strike a regional driving range are welcome. He has also taken pleasure in being able to view other teams play video games on nights when the Stars have actually been idle.
Bayreuther thinks the NHL will try to begin the 2020-21 season after the vacations; where he’ll be is anybody’s guess. The 1 year deal he signed with the Stars prior to the season ends with the team’s Stanley Cup run, and he’ll be an unrestricted complimentary representative. Due to the fact that the future doubts, Bayreuther appreciates being a part of today.
“I might not be playing, but it’s quite cool in this bubble, and I will inform my kids, grandkids and everybody about how cool and odd this moment was in our world and how we’re doing this for the higher good of the sport,” he stated. “It’s putting smiles on individuals’ faces that have actually had hard times.”
Greg Fennell can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3226.