LAS VEGAS (FOX5) - Every fan knows Marc-Andre Fleury and Max Pacioretty. But what about the Golden Knights whose jerseys aren’t for sale in the team store?
Chris Davidson-Adams said he isn’t focused on scoring goals or making saves. The Golden Knights Head Equipment Manager's attention is elsewhere.
"They have such a hard job, I admire it every day, looking how much, they have to go through, physical and mental punishment, such a grind through the schedule,” Davidson-Adams said. “Our job is just to take away excuses, make them play the game and not have to think about what's going on."
Chris and his crew sharpen skates, stock sticks, load laundry, order and organize all the gear, and more.
"Sewing,” assistant equipment manager, JW Aiken said. “I do a lot of sewing on equipment. Grade seven, I made a really bad baseball bat pillow."
They’re also professional movers.
"In this room, this is everything we travel with besides the players gear,” said Davidson-Adams. “Ninety pieces of equipment, 90 bags/trunks. We're around 7,500 pounds we carry, plus or minus here and there, depends on length of trip."
The workload doesn’t get any easier at home.
"I usually put socks off to the last minute, it's not that it's hard, it's tedious,” equipment assistant Pat Maino said. “It's every day, and it's 20 players. They got two socks, 40 socks, sometimes they got 10 holes, sometimes three. It's a task. If you don't stay on top of them, they pile up."
The staff has more than 40 years combined of hockey experience, while Chris has been managing equipment since he was 16 years old.
"It's an extremely demanding job,” Golden Knights GM George McPhee said. “They're always on call, but they do it with a smile."
"They're the guys you rely on so much, what they do, how they take care of us," Golden Knights defenseman, Nate Schmidt said.
"They're the most important guys on the team, besides the fact when you break a stick or your blade chips off and they change it quick, there is so much more to their job than just that,” Golden Knights forward, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. “When we get there to the rink at 8:00, they've been there for two hours, then they stay two, three hours longer, going on the road. A lot of unsung hero work."
"As much as every day is the same, every day is different. You're going to have a different story or a different situation or a different challenge,” Davidson-Adams said. “I love challenges. I love working in this game because of challenges, trying to solve a problem, solve a solution, to help the organization, to help the team, to help a player, to help a staff member. That's what it is."
"We were sitting somewhere, I think we were in traffic somewhere, we were looking at all the cubicles, just like 'I'm not sure I could do that. I don't think I could do that,'" Aiken said.
"I can't imagine doing anything else, it would be hard to fathom," Davidson-Adams said.
"This is my dream, dream come true. I'm here, I can't imagine going anywhere else," Maino said.
"This is fun. I don't have a job, this is what I love to do,” Aiken said. “To be part of a team is great, to be part of this organization is great, but to be part of this littler fraternity, that's great as well. That's the best part."