In the middle of all this is a social scene of action and noise. Sitting there, you'll find such a lonely man.
“Yeah, you can’t talk to anybody," said Travis DeChamp.
"Can’t really take your eye off the puck, it’s a lonely man’s job," said DeChamp.
No one is closer to the action than DeChamp, but then, he’s focused on just a small piece of it.
“I just try to stare at the back of the net,” he said.
The wait can sometimes last hours, even days. Excruciating.
“Just…waiting to turn the light on,” he says, shrugging.
Finally, the pressure builds. Travis leans in close and despite the goaltender’s best efforts…there it is.
“I used to keep my finger on the button, but now I hold it like an ice cream cone, you know? So I don’t get too crazy and make a mistake," he said.
DeChamp has been the goal judge for all three of Des Moines’ AHL teams. When the puck goes in, he turns on the light. Easier said than done in this multitasking world of distractions.
“It’s a nice Zen thing," says DeChamp.
"You just kind of relax and really just experience hockey like no other person can, I think," he said.
No cheers, no beers and no bathroom breaks…oh, and no money. He’s a volunteer who does it just because.
“Because I love it—and for the exercise. You get to walk up and down the stairs six times a night.”
That’s right, his glass as half-full. He's got the best seat in the house and the action right in his lap.