It's not all glitz and glam being an professional athlete, just ask Wild forward Charlie Coyle, who had a miserable experience trying to return to Minnesota after spending the NHL All-Star break in Turks and Caicos with his girlfriend.
On Wednesday, Coyle's flight from the island landed in Toronto, Canada, without a problem, but getting out of Canada in extreme cold was another story.
"It was a close call," Coyle said after practice on Thursday, just hours after getting back to Minnesota.
As the story goes, they landed in Toronto around 6 or 7 p.m. Wednesday only to find out their connecting flight to Minneapolis had been canceled and automatically rescheduled for 2:30 p.m. the next day.
That wasn't going to work because Coyle was due to practice with the Wild at 2 p.m. Thursday. He needed another way home and he needed it fast.
He booked a new flight for 6 a.m. Thursday only to find out within an hour that it too had been delayed and wouldn't have arrived in Minnesota until 10 p.m. Thursday.
Meanwhile, with his luggage lost, Coyle found another airline that had a 6:30 a.m. departure and connecting flight in Detroit, but an hour later that one got delayed.
"So I'm looking at rent-a-car options," Coyle said. "Everything is sold out, so that wasn't an option. My girlfriend brought up, she goes: 'I found a Greyhound bus. It leaves at 1 a.m., gets to Detroit at 6 a.m. and then we can hop on our connecting flight.' So I said, 'book it.'"
They hopped on the bus and made it to Detroit around 10-10:30 a.m. Thursday, made their flight and arrived in Minneapolis just in time for practice.
On top of the travel drama, Coyle and his girlfriend didn't bring winter jackets on their vacation, so they were going in and out of subzero temperatures in nothing more than hoodies and t-shirts.
"At one point I had a short-sleeve shirt on, just doing my thing. Just praying this would work and it did," said Coyle.
"It wasn't ideal, but it worked out."
By the way, props to MSP Airport for still operating at a highly functional level despite temperatures around -25F this past week. Toronto Pearson Airport pretty much shut down because the temps were -2F, according to Coyle.