ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A familiar noise filled the Rochester Rec Center this week.
That noise means one thing, the Rochester Grizzlies are back.
"We're thrilled, the guys all showed up and we can't get here too early with the different restrictions and stuff, but they were all sitting in the parking lot ready to go on Monday morning" said Chris Ratzloff, Rochester Head Coach.
Since Nov. 20, the team has not been able to play or practice in Minnesota due to state COVID-19 restrictions at the time. So Head Coach Chris Ratzloff and his team had to hit the road.
"We were fortunate enough to be next to Onalaska, Wisconsin so we traveled over there a couples days a week to practice and then luckily we had, almost all of our games were on the road for the month of December. So we didn't have to reschedule any except for the two early January games that were supposed to be at home. So, we played all of our games on the road for the month" Ratzloff said.
All though the schedule didn't have to change much all that travel especially for practice brought on a new set of challenges for the team.
"I would say its a little more mentally challenging because you know you have to bus to practice an hour and a half every day and an hour and a half home, but I think it kind of brought us together as a group and we kind of used that as motivation to get back here and play in front of our fans," said Garrett Smith, Rochester Captain and forward.
That motivation led to a 7-2 record for the Grizzlies over the nine-game stretch, but there really is nothing like home.
"We're really excited to be back because we had a really good away record, we've only split two weekends the whole time. So we only have two losses on the road and we're a really good home team. So playing back here at the Rec is really exciting for us because we're one of the best home teams in the whole league," Smith said.