Editor's note: Sarah McLellan is covering the Wild during the NHL postseason in her birthplace of Edmonton, but first must spend 14 days confined to her hotel room. She'll write regularly to her father, who now lives in Arizona, with an update on life with limited freedom.

Dear Dad,

It’s quiet here. I’m not complaining; I don’t mind the solitude. But since I haven’t struck up a conversation with the lamp shade (yet?), it’s silent most of the day.

I do hear some noises. There’s occasional activity out in the hallway of the hotel, and I can’t miss the knock on my door when someone drops off the food I’ve ordered. The air conditioner rumbles to life every now and then, but it’s not obnoxious sounding. It’s actually kind of soothing, the subtle puttering the soundtrack to my quarantine.



What sounds like construction noise floats through my window, like the beeping of what I imagine is a crane or bulldozer working in the streets. Of course, my cellphone pings regularly and there’s a steady clicking from my computer as I’m typing. Today I also heard voices from the Wild since the team was back to practice and there were virtual interviews with coach Dean Evason and forwards Zach Parise and Marcus Foligno.

I know I could easily drown out the silence with the TV and music. But as I sit at the desk throughout the day, I usually keep the TV on mute – letting the daytime programs and home improvement shows play without sound. Like I said, I’m comfortable with just the murmurs the hotel makes. Perhaps I’m training my ears for when I get out of quarantine and inside Rogers Place to cover the games.

Without fans in attendance, the NHL’s return is going to sound completely different than what we’re used to hearing. While it’s possible the league may pump in crowd noise, it won’t be the same as the thunderous applause before puck drop or the spontaneous cheering after a goal or the collective outcry following a missed call. Fans will undoubtedly get a sense of that on TV, and it’ll be interesting to see how broadcasts adapt, but I want to convey to the Star Tribune’s readers what these games sound like in person.

Will I be able to hear the chatter on the ice? Is there a decline in trash-talking since mics are probably more likely to pick up the back-and-forth? And how are teams strategizing during timeouts and stoppage in plays without the background noise from fans in the seats?

I also can’t wait to hear the sounds around the rink again. The ping of a puck flying off the post. The clapping of the stick as a player dekes up ice. And the whish when a skate blade digs into the ice. All these notes combine in perfect harmony, a symphony I will never get tired of listening to.

Until then, I’ll make do with the beeping from the alarm on my phone.



P.S. FaceTime later?