April 12th Preparation for the World Championship

Blog Entry #6

The interesting aspect about travelling is that you never know how you will be able to adjust to the time change. The first day we were here, we arrived a bit after noon and to make sure we would not have the temptation to go to sleep, we went to the rink area where we had fun playing soccer and kick ball in the fields around the rink. It is a beautiful area including the rink, a outside rink, a running track, and a soccer field. There are also areas to play beach volleyball, or practice pole vault and disk throwing. That first night, I struggled to keep my eyes open until 9pm and then gave up and went to bed. I slept all the way through to 3am and then from around 5 to 8:45am, which I found absolutely wonderful. I thought I had the adjustment to the new time zone in perfect control until last night!

Yesterday, we had 2 practices. In all honesty, we were not the most sharp during the earlier skate. Probably due to the fact that everyone had different experiences with their sleeping patterns the night before. We finished practice with a little shootout competition where our three goalies were the champions. Not surprising considering we have three of the best goalies in the world. Before that, we had a little 3vs2 challenge where Poulin, Wakefield and I did very well scoring 3 goals for team White to secure the victory. Ward and Mikkelson were perfect on D allowing no goals in all the reps they took part in. One thing that was wonderful was to warm-up and cool-down outside on the running track enjoying the 22degrees temperature and the beautiful sun.

After practice, we were back at the hotel for lunch and most of us committed to stay awake in the hopes of getting a 2nd good night of sleep. We have many players still in college and you often find them in the lobby studying attentively. Catherine Ward, who is currently finishing her master degree in Business from Boston University, is a very committed student. Charline Labonté, Haley Irwin and Marie-Philip Poulin can often be seen working on school assignments. It is not the easiest thing to study during a camp or competition. To be honest, I do not miss those days and I am glad to be finished university!

It was time to return to the rink for the 2nd time, our equipment manager Chris, had worked all afternoon to prepare the room and everything we needed to go back on the ice again. Chris has probably the longest hours of any staff, but we can see him with a smile everyday. The afternoon session’s focus was specialty teams so we worked on Power Play and Penalty Kill. Everyone wants to be on PP and PK but unfortunately, that cannot always be the case and it can be difficult to accept. All of us are the best players in our respective teams and we do get those opportunities with our club teams. With experience, you realize that no decision is personal and the coaches decide what they see as best for the team. You can only control how you react, control your attitude, and focus on being the best you can be in the hope of getting the opportunity.

Last night in our team meeting, Ryan talked about leadership and the fact that leaders have to be good with change. No one likes change, but you must be able to adjust to it quickly. Ryan talked about the best life, which truly is being an athlete! When you get into a management position, it is all about making tough decisions and solving people and problems. He again stressed the importance of communication and wants us to talk to him if we are struggling in any way. He is such a good speaker, he always says out he is just getting started on learning about leadership. Coming from a NHL captain and NHL coach, that shows how humble he truly is.

After the meeting, my roommate Natalie Spooner and I settled down into reading. In my case for personal entertainment, in hers for school. Spooner is currently studying in nutrition and pre-med at ‘’THE’’ Ohio State University. Tessa Bonhomme also attended OSU and one thing those alumni have in common is that they sure are proud of their school. Must be the legendary success in football. I always tease Tessa that we almost always beat OSU in women’s hockey when I was at Minnesota Duluth.

Spooner read about organic chemistry and I read my new book ‘’The Forgotten Garden.’’ Soon enough, we both wanted to go to sleep and it was just a little over 10pm. Unfortunately, both our 2nd night of sleep were restless. Unsure why because we were both exhausted. We should be able to catch up tomorrow with a little nap. There is no better job in the world than being a hockey player because not many jobs allow you and encourage you to nap in the afternoon!