A couple weeks ago, I wrote about attending my first Chicago Express game. A few days ago, Matt and I attended a team practice and talked to a few members of the Express organization.
The Express are the ECHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets. They play in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates (IL) and are currently only 3 points out of second place in their division (and only 9 out of first).
My experience with the Express started with Bob Mills, Director of Media Relations. Bob was very helpful in assisting us with our interview with John Wroblewski coach of the Gwinnett Gladiators (and my namesake), as well as helping us in getting an insider's look at the Sears Centre before an Express game (for an online piece for Global Traveler which can be found here).
A few days ago, Bob met us at an Express practice. We had up close seats as Coach Steve Martinson worked with the players on fundamentals and game-situations. The team skated through specific drills and had a few scrimmages.
It was interesting to see how hard these players worked. They were in action pretty much for almost two straight hours (with a couple short water breaks). These young players were definitely hustling.
At the end of practice, we got interviews with a few members of the organization. We decided to start with Bob to get a little insight into the franchise goals. We discussed some aspects of being a new franchise, their target audience and what it meant to have one of the Express players getting called up to the NHL.
After you watch the interview below, be sure to go to ChicagoExpressHockey.com. You can also check out the Express Facebook page and follow the Express on twitter.