What is life like on the road for a professional hockey player skating in the minor leagues? It certainly isn’t the most glamorous lifestyle. There’s no private jets and fancy hotels of the NHL, that’s for sure.

Kieran Millan

Courtesy of the Denver Cutthroats

Instead, it’s all about the bus and the camaraderie, the way it should be. The way it used to be, with extended miles logged on the odometer.

“The bus trips are long,” said forward AJ Gale in February.

It’s no secret that the Denver Cutthroats have had some of the worst road travel of the season in the CHL, spending nearly the entire month of January playing away games while the National Western Stock Show took residence inside the Denver Coliseum.

“It’s draining. Going from hotel to hotel, a different bed every night, it’s mentally and physically just draining. It’s fun with the guys, absolutely, but the long bus rides, it takes a lot out of you,” said former Cutthroats relief defenseman Brandon Vossberg following a tough January. “You don’t really sleep on the bus so, when you get into the hotel and it’s two o’clock in the morning and you’ve got to practice at ten o’clock, it’s pretty tough.”

With twelve games in cities other than Denver, and no home ice to skate on, the Cutthroats spent roughly 21 days bussing around the country, seeing the sites and doing work. While there were a few stops at home in between, it still didn’t make cruising the U.S.A. any easier.

“You can’t imagine how ‘un-fun’, essentially, it is being on the road for an entire month and not playing at your home rink,” said goalie Kieran Millan after returning from the trip. “It’s difficult ’cause you’re bussing everywhere. For example… we played four games in five nights in three different cities. Obviously, guys being hurt or getting bumps and bruises and then having to go on a bus and sit in a chair or lie on a bed without properly stretching and all that takes a toll on your body.”

Despite the monthlong roadie being a distant nightmare for those on the team – full of leaks and breakdowns – the unlucky circumstances of travel haven’t lessened for those on the Fish roster, even for a Scott Brower Memorial Trophy finalist for Most Outstanding Goaltender in the CHL.

Cutthroats keeper and Colorado Avalanche prospect Kieran Millan – named to the shortlist for CHL voting – is one of the most recent victims of the pavement, as the 23-year-old athlete lost his clothes on the way Wichita, Kansas.

At some point during the drive, a compartment on the bus bumped open, exposing team luggage to the cruel fate of the open road. Millan’s suit bag was one of the casualties, falling out somewhere on the drive. Now the baggage is lying on the side of the road in the middle of Kansas, scared and alone while it’s owner is unable to dress his best when his team meets the Wichita Thunder tonight.

Luckily for Millan it was only his suit that fell to the roadside and not all of his gear.

There’s no catching a break in the minors, not even for the players up for awards.

The Cutthroats take on the Wichita Thunder on Friday night in Kansas, looking to scoop up an all important two points as they battle to improve their playoff seed before season’s end.

What do you think? Stop to pick up a bag on your travels recently?