This past Saturday was our first official practice! We didn’t waste anytime on Saturday, waking up a 5am to be ready for a practice at 6:45am. The energy in the building was tangible, with everyone preparing for us to step onto the ice.
Sure we had been on the ice before for Captains’ practice but this feeling was different. We knew that the bar had been raised, and that we were under a microscope. We even had a people in the stands watching our practice!
As soon as we got to the rink we were sent to the weight lifting room to do our pre-practice warm-up. This is meant to prevent injuries and keep everyone’s muscles loose. Our lifting trainer is one of the top trainers, he is serious but also cares for everyone on the team. He wants to push us to our limits but will never go past them. He knows how to make us improve, while still preventing injury.
Once we were done with the warm-up we made our way to our locker room, which still amazes me when I walk into it. The team was buzzing with excitement, no one could sit still! This was the first time everyone was allowed to wear their new skates, which is a good and bad thing. New skates are awesome because they are so perfect and have no scratches on them yet, but they kill your feet to break in. We are sponsored by Bauer so everyone on the team gets a pair of Bauer skates, but Bauer skate in my opinion are the hardest and most painful to break in because the boot is so stiff.
Anyways everyone was dressed and ready to go 10min before practice even started, which is unusual. Once we hit the ice I could tell right away the the pace of play had gone up a notch. People were skating faster and passing harder than they had been in Captains’ practice. I was excited to see where I stood on the team; it was hard to tell in Captains’ practice because I didn’t know if people were going all out or slacking. I knew now though that everyone was giving it their all because the coaches were evaluating everyone from the beginning.
To start the practice of we did a scrimmage drill to warm up and then stretched again in the middle of the ice (we stretch out a lot if you haven’t noticed yet). After stretching we got into the serious stuff, like forechecking and break outs, with only ten practices before our first game we needed to get started right away on positioning and chemistry.
To end the practice we did some conditioning, which was difficult because we hadn’t conditioned on used ice yet this year. Let me tell you skating on used ice is a lot more work than skating on clean, smooth ice. After conditioning we stretched in the middle again, then got off.
Our practice doesn’t end there though after we get off the ice we are sent back to the weight lifting room to finish off our stretches. After stretching we take ice baths, and that is when our first official practice of the year ended.