Casey Bailey has been looking for favors from his teammates for the past few weeks.
The junior forward has been in need of tickets — about 50 of them — for this weekend’s games
“I pretty much asked for all of them, from everybody,” said the native of Anchorage as he and the Nittany Lions are preparing for the Brice Alaska Goal Rush in the 50th state.
Bailey will have a decent rooting section after they made the drive of about six hours to Carlson Arena in Fairbanks to see him and the Nittany Lions meet Alaska Anchorage at 9:07 p.m. Friday, then face the host Nanooks at 11:07 p.m. Saturday.
While he has played plenty of hockey around the state, it’s been about six years since he last played a meaningful game up there, and he has never played in the Nanook’s home arena.
He first caught wind of the possible team trip during his freshman season, with the team either going to this weekend’s games in Fairbanks, or to a tournament at Alaska Anchorage.
“I was pushing for the Anchorage one,” Bailey said. “I’d much rather play in my home town rather than a neighboring city. But I think I was awfully excited. I told my parents about it, it was fairly down the road. Now that it’s here I’m definitely excited.”
His parents have made a few trips east to see Bailey play, but most of the rest of the traveling party has not seen him play in person for a long time.
“It’s just … having the opportunity for all the close family, friends and relatives coming out to watch me play at such a high level,” Bailey said, “is the most exciting part for me.”
Bailey is not the only Nittany Lion making a return to the state.
Forward Eric Scheid played at Alaska Anchorage as a freshman, and coach Guy Gadowsky coached Alaska for five seasons and will be honored for his induction into its sports Hall of Fame while they are in town.
Scheid said most of the Seawolves roster has changed since he was there, but there are a handful of players who are still on the roster.
“It’s going to be really fun to go back, see them and play against them,” Scheid said. “See how they’ve been doing, talk to them about how much they’re liking it now.”
Gadowsky knew the trip would be important for the Baileys, even if they could not swing a trip to his hometown.
“He’s been a big part of our program,” Gadowsky said. “(His) parents try to come as much as possible, but it’s an expensive, long flight. For us to go up there and have an easier way for them to see their son I think is a good thing.”
The Nanooks and Seawolves are off to good starts to their seasons.
Both opened their slates with wins over Maine and Wisconsin, and the Nanooks are No. 19 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll.
The Nittany Lions also are feeling pretty good after earning a 7-1 win over Connecticut on Saturday. Those teams also tied 2-2 to open the season Friday.