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Chiefs finally make it home

Bus problems lead to extra night in Portland

Monday turned out to be a pretty good day for the Spokane Chiefs, especially considering how Sunday went.

After a less-than-stellar performance in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Winterhawks that evened their Western Hockey League playoff series at one win each, the Chiefs jumped on their bus … and went no where.

For a good hour, with a mechanic practically crawling into the engine compartment while the bus was parked at the Rose Garden loading dock, the Chiefs considered their options.

The verdict: a good night’s sleep.

They walked the three blocks back to their hotel, arriving about 10 p.m., rounded up a little more food and called it a day, general manager Tim Speltz said.

Turns out the bus was ready to go by about 11.

“It was nothing serious,” Speltz said. “They had to reboot a computer or something. … We were comfortable with when we were going to get home, but once we weren’t sure (when the bus would be ready), we didn’t want the guys getting home at an ungodly hour.

“We have a big game Wednesday and we didn’t want the guys run down.”

All parties were very accommodating, he said, so all is well.

Speltz said coach Don Nachbaur typically likes to get a feel from the team when they return from a trip in the early morning hours whether they want to skate, so not getting back to Spokane until after noon on Monday really didn’t hurt their preparation for Wednesday’s Game 3 of the best-of-7 Western Conference Finals at the Arena.

“We didn’t have ice at the Arena anyway,” Speltz said. “We had a light workout and the guys got home about 2:30 or 3 o’clock. The school kids were happy they didn’t have to go to school.”

There is no ice at the Arena today so practice is at Eagles Ice-A-Rena.

“We’re used to it but it’s sure not as easy and convenient as the Arena,” Speltz said. “We understand, it’s a multipurpose building. Same at Portland, we had to drive to Beaverton to get ice on Saturday.”