Photo credits to Chad Goddard Photography
Calgary, AB – The equipment manager is an integral role that makes a team successful on a day-to-day basis and has many important tasks that keep the team moving: from sharpening skates to rotating players gloves and having sticks ready for the players that need a replacement. Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs had his stick break on him when blocking a shot in a game against the San Jose Sharks on November 28, 2018. Bobby Hastings, equipment manager for the Maple Leafs, immediately saw the stick break and was ready with a new one for Marner when he flew by the bench. Following the stick pick up, Marner received a pass as he skated into the offensive zone, where he then saw an open John Tavares -- feeding him for an easy tap-in goal. It was the quick actions by Hastings which unofficially assisted on the goal.
“If I was any good (at hockey), I’d be on the ice, not behind the scenes,” said Carson Puetz, the equipment manager for the Calgary Mustangs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Puetz has been with the team since last March while he attends school. He is currently in his 3rd year of the Health and Physical Education program at Mount Royal University, here in Calgary. Puetz saw the opportunity to volunteer with the Mustangs through the newsletter distributed by the dean of the program, highlighting the job and volunteer opportunities for the students. Puetz previously worked as an usher at the Scotiabank Saddledome but had to drop that commitment to focus full time on school and his position with the Mustangs.
Puetz grew up in the small town of Trochu, Alberta, which sits in enemy territory, about 45 minutes east of Olds, home of the Grizzlies. Puetz played minor league hockey in his small town and has been a big fan of the game since he was in grade two. When he finds the time, Puetz occasionally puts on the skates himself and plays goalie. Although Puetz didn't quite have what it takes to play the game on-ice, he wanted to remain involved with hockey by sharpening skates and taking care of gear -- an area that has always fascinated him: This way Puetz can still contribute to the game he loves. The best part of being at the rink for Puetz is the people. Puetz loves being a part of the energy from the passionate members of the Mustangs and the media team.
“You have to be quick on your feet and be able to multitask very well,” Puetz said on the biggest challenge he faces. any other equipment managers Puetz has worked with say, “A player could lose a skate edge and another player may need a helmet fixed; I need to be able to remain calm and decide the best order to fix the situation.” As an equipment manager, one has to assess the different situations as they arise. Having keen attention to detail and thinking fast on one's feet is paramount to success as a key member of the team. Being able to adapt in-game is one of the biggest traits necessary to be successful as an equipment manager.
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