Even though it seems like the inaugural season of 3ICE just started, it’s already time for the moment everybody’s been waiting for … the final push for the Patty Cup. The four teams that qualified for the playoffs will fight for the $1 million prize in just a few days and here’s how some players are feeling as the weekend gets closer.
Pete MacArthur, Team Mullen
When reflecting on the regular season, the common word that’s come up in Team Mullen’s locker room is surreal. That’s exactly how Pete MacArthur would describe the feeling of playing in the inaugural season of 3ICE and having the opportunity to play in the playoffs.
“Just to be around the coaches is amazing, but then to be interacting with guys who you played with, against, heard of, or maybe never had a chance to get to know at all,” Pete MacArthur said. “It's pretty special for us because the hockey world is so small, so I guess surreal is the best way to put it.”
After ending the regular season in first place, MacArthur and the rest of Team Mullen are extremely excited to hit the ice in Vegas in hopes of picking up where they left off.
“This is what you work for, whether it's 3ICE or your regular season, you work to earn the chance at being in the playoffs and then raising the trophy at the end of the playoffs,” MacArthur said. “For us, we're excited that we earned this opportunity as a group.”
While the money is always exciting and MacArthur acknowledged that he could do a lot of different things with his family with that prize money, the opportunity to play in Vegas means more to him than the money. Just to be a part of the first year of 3ICE means the world to #10 of Team Mullen.
“For us to have the memory of being the first group to raise the trophy would be pretty incredible,” MacArthur said. “You don't know where the league is going to go or what it could end up being, so more so than the money, to be the first group of guys to raise the trophy would be second to none.”
Cam Brown, Team Trottier
To be a part of 3ICE’s inaugural season was an unbelievable experience for Cam Brown.
“It was just a special moment for me and my career, and a really fun opportunity to be able to play with such great players and play around such great names on the bench,” Cam Brown said.
While Grand Rapids and Pittsburgh were Brown’s favorite spots from the regular season, he’s really looking forward to the final weekend trip to Vegas. He shared that winning any weekend is special but winning in Vegas would be the cherry on top.
“The biggest thing for us (Team Trottier) is that we're just all really excited,” Brown said. “That's the biggest thing for me right now. I'm just I'm so excited and we're so excited. We can't wait to get to Vegas and then get it going.”
Brown would be lying if he said that the prize money didn’t mean a lot to him. While this is a lot of money for anybody that’s left in the running, #21 of Team Trottier knows there’s more meaning to the weekend than just the money.
“As far as the Patty Cup, you forget the money for a second and put the money aside,” Brown said. “We're all hockey players, we're all pro hockey players or retired hockey players, and we're competitive. Whether there was money on the line or not, we want to win.”
Dalton Skelly, Team LeClair
From talking to other players around the league, Dalton Skelly shared that playing in the inaugural season of 3ICE has been a cool experience for everyone, including himself.
“Every guy I've talked to has really enjoyed their time getting to play in some of these really cool atmospheres and really cool arenas,” Dalton Skelly said. “I think it's been a lot of fun, and we've been treated really well by the staff and everybody that's involved.”
As for Team LeClair, everyone in the locker room is really excited for what’s to come in Vegas. While there’s a little bit of nervous energy with everything that’s on the line, everybody’s just really excited to get the weekend going.
“I know a few of the guys were going in a day earlier to get some skating in, just to prepare a little bit more,” Skelly said. “Everybody's obviously taking it really seriously, but at the same time, we're going to go out there and have fun just like we have every other week.”
#61 of Team LeClair acknowledged that the money and being the first team to hoist the Patty Cup adds some intensity surrounding the games played this weekend.
“Everybody knows what's on the line, but at the same time, every guy in this league plays at a really high level and have played in really big games in the past,” Skelly said. “Maybe leading up to it, you're a little bit nervous or a little bit jittery, but everybody's willing to do what it takes to win it this weekend.”
Eamon McAdam, Team Murphy
This hasn’t been the first inaugural season Eamon McAdam has been a part of as he’s been on a few other professional hockey teams that were in their inaugural seasons, too. When reflecting on the regular season of 3ICE, McAdam shared that the hockey has been great.
“I kind of know that feeling of being the first and starting up a team and program, but obviously with the league being totally new, it's a little bit different,” Eamon McAdam, said. “But it's been a great experience and I've really enjoyed it.”
The pace and intensity have picked up weekend after weekend, but McAdam expects the intensity to be at its highest when the puck drops for the first game in Vegas. So, McAdam and the rest of Team Murphy will be ramped up and really focused when they take the ice.
“There's a lot on the line for pride and obviously monetarily as well,” McAdam said. “We’ve been gearing up this week and we've been talking a bunch as a group in trying to work through the little strategy things and just a general game plan.”
For McAdam, the shot at winning the big prize money this weekend adds a little bit of a sweetener to end the season. He’s been fortunate to win a championship in professional hockey, so recreating that feeling with 3ICE would be an amazing feeling for #27 of Team Murphy.
“Being the first to hoist the cup and obviously reap the rewards would be pretty incredible, especially with how we've been so close all year to kind of solidifying and winning one of these weekends and haven't been able to quite piece it together,” McAdam said. “I think the timing could be just right for us to get it done for the first time and on the biggest stage.”