ANAHEIM — Preparation was never supposed to include evacuation.
It was no ordinary game day for the Ducks, who were eventually present in mind and body for their 2-0 home loss to Calgary on Monday night. The hours leading up to puck drop had many within the organization scrambling to make other accommodations due to the Canyon Fire 2 that broke out in Anaheim Hills.
As the wildfire raged Monday morning into afternoon, many coaches, players and staff members were following evacuation orders and taking family members, cherished pets and essential documents and belongings to a hotel near Honda Center for an overnight stay – or longer if the order stayed in place.
Those who have homes near the affected area include Ducks coach Randy Carlyle and General Manager Bob Murray. “We were very close to it,” Carlyle said. “It was less than a quarter-mile from where I reside.”
The Ducks had morning meetings and a skating session as smoke moved in the direction of Honda Center, turning a blue sky into a combination of brown, black and orange. “I drove home and actually picked up my wife and cat,” Carlyle said. “Went to the hotel.”
Defenseman Francois Beauchemin had to relocate with his wife, Marie-Claude, and their three children as they were told to evacuate from their Tustin Ranch home. Beauchemin said he hoped they would be allowed back in Tuesday night, which became possible when the order was lifted.
“I just laid down for 20 minutes (at home) and then soon after that I got the call that we had to evacuate,” Beauchemin said. “So we had to pack some stuff and make sure we had enough because we don’t know how long we’re going to be out. We packed some stuff for a couple of days.
“We‘ve got two dogs and a cat so we’ve got to get them out of there too. And then calling the hotel. My parents were in town too. So it was a lot of distraction. Come game time, you got to still be focused and be ready to go.”
As disconcerting as game day had…