Hockey sticks lined the locker room wall inside the clubhouse door. Helmets and shoulder pads sat atop the lockers. Jerseys and pants hung inside those lockers and players mingled in the room and toyed with their equipment under the Bowman Field stands.
Everything screamed hockey has arrived in Williamsport. Outside, however, the ice rink remained covered with a light gray sheet of fabric, protecting the surface from the comfortable October temperatures.
The Outlaws were left stranded again. The team had to postpone practice for a fourth consecutive day and now the projected nine-day training camp will be condensed into four or five days, depending on the ice conditions over the next several days.
The ice rink for the Williamsport Outlaws sits inside Bowman Field on Thursday night. The team hasn’t been able to practice on the surface.
"It's been a little frustrating," said Outlaws coach Chris Firriolo on Thursday at the team's first media day as the Williamsport Outlaws. "We were hoping to get on the ice on Monday, but ran into some issues."
The head coach doesn't think his team will run into any issues, despite the condensed schedule. Though the Outlaws return just a handful of players from last season's FHL champions, many of the players on this season's roster know each other from previous stops or playing against each other and should be able to come together quickly.
"These guys are professionals," said Firriolo. "I'm not worried about them at all. We have enough experience and leadership that we'll be able to prepare in a short amount of time."
Firriolo hopes to get his team on the ice late tonight or Saturday morning. The Outlaws will attempt to make up for lost time with two-a-day practices this weekend in preparation for the season and home opener on Wednesday against the Dayton Demonz.
Not having the opportunity to stretch their legs on the ice, the Outlaws have found different avenues to release their competitive itch. The players, many who arrived five or six days ago, wake up in the morning and train at the Fitness Factory once or twice a day, trying everything they can to prepare for their first steps on ice.
"You can't mimic on-ice conditioning in the gym, which makes things difficult," said defenseman Paul Dagostino, who played last season in the SPHL for the Mississippi River Kings and went to UMass-Lowell, "but you try and do what you know. When you grow up playing in the sport and working out, you know what the routines are to get you going once you get on the ice."
Wednesday, the team had a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. They have played video games and soccer, as well, trying to fill the void of hockey.
Then there is team meals at the Bullfrog Brewery and just hanging out in their Victorian home apartments with their roomates.
Time is passing, but it would tick a little faster on the ice.
"We're used to having training camp and skating to get game ready, but we knew there was going to be some bumps in the road with the schedule and there has," said defenseman Rob Sich, who played in the SPHL last season with the Fayetteville FireAntz. "We've just been waiting to get the green light and suit up. Once we do, we'll try and get ready for games as quick as we can."