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Summer Dryland Hockey Training Camp – June/July 2011

June 11, 2011 Leave a comment

As one of the focuses of this blog is self-promotion, I’d like to use this post to promote the Dryland Hockey Training Camp that I will be leading at Blackbelts gym, starting on June 21.  The camp will run twice a week; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30pm, and continue on for a 6 week period.  You can sign up for the entire camp, or drop-in casually.  The program will aim towards improving players’ aerobic and anaerobic fitness, as well as their speed, strength, quickness, flexibility, and quick thinking, while utilizing the dynamic, plyometric and resistance training techniques that are most beneficial and parallel to the motions and actions hockey players perform during a game.  And perhaps best of all, we’ll be training outside, under the beautiful summer sun.  The later start time will allow for a more reasonable temperature to train in, while still being hot enough for everyone to work on their tans. 

We will be working towards helping players to peak in their fitness for the month of August, the month when most junior hockey rookie and main camps will commence.  Personally, I always dreaded this time of year.  But the condition you arrive at camp in is, more often than not, a direct indication of what level you’ll find yourself fitting in at on the team; at least in the beginning.  In a nutshell, if you’re concerned about either making the team, or contributing to your team, taking your off-season fitness seriously is worth your time, effort, and money. 

I am fortunate to be friends with a guy whose dad played in the NHL during the 70’s and 80’s, and one story I remember his dad telling me was regarding his training camp experiences, and the shift in mentality about them during his era of play.  Basically, in those days, training camp was the time NHL players would actually start working out and getting in shape for the season, so it wasn’t uncommon for those camps to be pretty lackluster, lung-capacity wise.  Everything was well and good with that status quo until the rookies progressively started to come to camp already in shape, and well ahead of the pack in terms of fitness, in hopes of taking away a roster spot from a veteran.  While some of the older players may have mocked or ridiculed those players for doing so, the result was that those rookies were indeed getting their names written on the game sheets, while those who were less prepared saw their starts diminish.  Veterans began to take notice of the smaller numbers appearing on their paycheques, and started to shape-up, literally; realizing their spots may not be as secure as they may have once thought.  

And progressively, over time, that approach and mentality shifted to the product we have now: players devoting their entire summers, starting immediately after their last season game, to preparing themselves physically for next season; either in hopes of cracking a lineup for the first time, or just to keep their spot on the team depth chart and/or payroll.  And if you were to ever watch game film from the 70’s and now side by side and compare the levels of play and role of physical preparation, the products are clearly night and day, and the proof is very obviously  in the pudding.

Players competing at all levels of hockey are welcome to join the camp.  Drop by Blackbelts (behind the Lake Country Tim Hortons’ in the Lakewood Mall), or call in (250 766 5665) to reserve your spot, as space is limited!  You can also leave a comment on this post or email me at davecunning09@shaw.ca if you want to get your name on the list.  If you’re taking your hockey training seriously this summer, I hope to see you at camp!

Hating the Road, Love For Home: The Geographical Prejudice of Hockey.

November 23, 2009 8 comments

 

Hockey (and all travelling sports) alters your geographical predispositions.  That is, when you play hockey, you play in a lot of different cities and towns, multiple times over.  When you play minor hockey, it’s more likely all the players on the opposing teams are actually from the city that is on their jersey.  When you play junior, college, and pro, you get players brought in from all points of the globe, and it makes you question the notion of who the “home team” really is, if you put some thought into it.

Depending on the outcome of an away game, you immediately form unfair blanket opinions of the entire township and its residents upon the conclusion of the game; perhaps even upon entry into the arena.  These are all loosely based on premature evaluations of the arena, team, and city.  If it’s an old rink, you refer to it as a “barn” from then on.  If it’s a small town, and their team is really bad, they become known as “bush-leaguers”, and their town could be any number of variations on the term “dump” or “hole”.   The less enjoyable the game due to opposing cheap, dirty, chirpy, and general unsportsmanlike conduct, the more all these prejudices become amplified in a player’s mind.  The most common phrase uttered in the dressing room after a road game, without a doubt is, “hurry up and pack your gear so we can get the **** outta here boys!”  All further recollections on a city upon a visit will return to “that time we whooped those hack bush-leaguers in this dumpy little town,” or in the case that the results were not positive, something along the lines of, “I hate playing here because this place sucks and they beat the crap out of us.”  And the spiral funnels downward…

On the flip side, playing hockey for a town builds an abnormal pride in a city that you have little to no connection with outside of hockey.  Generally, the smaller the city you play for, the more you end up loving that place, and its people.  I loved every minute of the time I played for Westside (population: 30,000), Creston (population: 5000), Caronport (village status, population: 1000), and Lyon (population: 5,000,000), and I wore their colors with pride.

So Beaver Valley, Columbia Valley, Castlegar, Golden, Enderby, Princeton, Spokane, Summerland, Osoyoos, Armstrong, Winfield, Lumby, Mission, Dawson Creek, Nakusp, Kitimat, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Camrose, St. James, Cholet; I’m sure you all have good things to offer in your own unique ways, but I don’t like you for no good reasons other than the 20 some-odd players that have represented you on the ice over the years, and/or the few hours in and limited view I had of your town.  Your fans may not have been very nice to us either.  Also, you’re really far away from where I am, and I blame you for my hatred of long-distance driving.  Kimberly; you beating us in game 7 will always sting.  Kamloops; you smell.  Merritt; your continued support of country music infuriates me.  Dauphin, MB; I had to fight when I visited you.  Revelstoke, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Sicamous; I hear good things about you from other people, but I’m still not sold.  100 Mile House, I don’t like you because you’re really, cruelly, cold.  Don’t make me play games at 6am in the dead of winter, wearing my street clothes under my gear to keep warm next time.  Hull, PQ; you were fun to visit actually, but your teams were way better than us. Terrace; you’re cool because I won a championship there.  Mont Blanc, FR; it was fun being in the Alps.  Vernon; you’re an exception, because you’re where I was born, and where I still have family.  And as for Kelowna; well, I’ll tell people I’m from there for ease of geographic explanation (I also have claimed to be from Vancouver when abroad, for the same reason), but I’m Westside till I die.

I’m sure this sounds pretty messed up, and I’ll be the first to admit that it is.  Am I sorry for all my prejudice?  I probably should be, but I don’t know that I truthfully am.  I do think the concept is skewed, but maybe I need some big redeeming moment in each town for me to warm up to them.  That or, it may just be hopeless.  Gooooo Grizzlies/Thundercats/Clippers!

**Discussion/comment provoking question**: Current or former athletes, what city did/do you hate playing in the most, and why?

 

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