Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The Off-Season Begins
Which means parents can breathe for a moment and catch up on all the things that they tend to put aside during the games, practices and travel of hockey season. A season that cost us all time, energy and precious sleep. Wow, you actually get to see your spouse for more than 30 seconds at a time! The end of the season means your kids are a little stronger, a little taller, and a little less hungry (or not)! Not much winter cushion on a hockey player!
Time for an Ice Break?
Nothing wrong with that! It’s okay to play a little hooky from playing hockey. You should not extend yourself and your pocket book trying to find ice time or a summer league if your child really doesn’t want to keep skating. A break from the ice can be a good thing. Whether you know it or not, a lot of non-hockey games are excellent for postseason conditioning.
Conditioning is Key
Conditioning is physical and/or mental activities that prepare an athlete for an upcoming season or performance. It is primarily done by serious athletes that have a specific goal they are trying to reach such as the Olympics, NHL, college, juniors, high school, etc.
Specific conditioning is generally not stressed until an athlete is at or close to high school age and that athlete has a specific goal in mind. “Strides” is a popular conditioning program for hockey, soccer and lacrosse. Strides is held at the CNY Family Center on Jones Road in Baldwinsville as well as other locations. ESL Arena in Rochester offers a skating treadmill and various off-season conditioning programs. The results of these programs vary especially for the younger athletes.
Get Down with Down Time
USA Hockey recommends down time for all hockey players especially young hockey players. Down time is simply time away from a sport or activity. Down time gives the muscles (including brain) a much needed rest from the sport or activity. It also is a good way to prevent burnout. Down time allows the player to pursue other interests, activities or just take in a little rest and relaxation.
Scoring Off the Ice
USA Hockey and many NHL players (current and past) recommend playing other sports or doing other activities though out the year. For the younger hockey players, this is all the conditioning they really need for next hockey season. Many coaches and talent scouts believe that athletes that participated in more than one sport before college make better athletes in their chosen sport in college.
Different sports work different muscles and promote thought and creativity which can be carried over to hockey season. If young athletes choose to play soccer, lacrosse, baseball, football or any combination of sports, they will be learning maneuvering, body contact, positioning and team play as well as strengthening their muscles, lungs and heart. Whether they know it or not they will be conditioning themselves for next hockey season.
Some athletes such as Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist believe that music and art can be excellent conditioners. Both Miller and Lundqvist are guitarists in bands. Miller’s band has played in Rochester and Michigan in past off seasons. Both goalies believe that playing the guitar has a calming effect, clears the mind and helps increase dexterity and reaction time. Does this work? Check out their stats on NHL.com
Still Itching for Ice Time?
After all these activities if your child still wants to get on the ice to improve or get a better shot at making that travel team, a clinic or two might be a good option. Clinics generally focus on skating or a specific area of hockey. For parents, there's plenty to consider when weighing options including cost, location and scheduling.
Top Notch Skating Clinic
Maximum Development, www.mdhockey.com, is being held at Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena in August. MD focuses on skating. They break it down and really stress stride and proper skating mechanics.
Turcotte Stick Handling, www.Turcottehockey.com, will also be held at Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena in August. They are a specialized clinic focusing strictly on stick handling. They teach the skills that can be worked on in the yard or basement. (You don’t need ice to practice stick handling). Most hockey practices do not focus on stick handling. Coaches expect players will work on those skills on their own time.
Finding the Right Fit
A week is too much ice time for your child over the summer? No problem. Check your local ice hockey association or ice rinks websites. Coaches from different organizations hold week night clinics through out the summer. Some charge for a certain number of clinics (one a week for six weeks or so). Some charge for only what you attend ($10 an hour, for example).
Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena will hold Sunday clinics again. Check out their website for details, http://www.bvilleice.com/. They have even added a peewee/bantam session this season.
Your child wants to just play and have fun without concentrating on …huh…skills?
Some of the year round ice rinks offer youth summer hockey in some form. Cicero sometimes holds youth summer hockey. These are usually no contact games that happen once or twice a week. Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena has held 3 on 3 leagues. These are fast paced cross ice games of 3 skaters aside. Check out the rinks websites to see what they have in store for the summer. Check them regularly, they change frequently.
OMG! Enough hockey!There are many options for conditioning. If you and your children do nothing else this off-season, enjoy your “no hockey” time and stay in contact with the friends you made during the season. Next season will surely be more fun as a result.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
It seems like just yesterday I laced him up in his first pair of skates. He wasn't thrilled, but being an avid figure skater, I certainly was and I was determined not to let him give up after a few falls. Two weeks later, I got him to break from a 'march of the penguins' technique to steady glides by blowing soap bubbles on the ice, encouraging him to pop the bubbles with his blades. It worked! He began to develop a love for the ice. It wasn't long after that, my husband announced that he was okay with our son skating, as long as he had stick in his hand. I conceded. The hockey stick stuck and my son's passion for the sport grew. Fast forward to March 2010. Hard to believe this is his last year of youth hockey. A treasured time for sure. As we walked to our car Friday night after the team farewell party, my son said, " This by far was the best year." I didn't have to ask why, but I wanted to hear his reasoning... so I pressed a bit, reminding him this was the first year his travel team didn't secure the Pre-Sectional title. The first year he didn't get that first place trophy to add to all the others on his bedroom shelf. "True enough," said my son, " But this year, we were a team. A real team. " Great way to end the youth hockey experience, achieving goals that matter. Goals that really count.
TIME OUT FOR THE COACH
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
They soaked up every magical minute of their time on the 1980 Miracle on Ice Rink, the arena that hosted the most transcending moment in the history of U.S. hockey. Beyond winning big on the 1980 Herb Brooks rink, the Bantam boys found 'snow' many other opportunities in beautiful Lake Placid for the International Tournament.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
While the city of Syracuse painted its traditional green stripe down the St. Patrick's parade route and decorated floats for the big downtown event, many Central New York hockey families decorated car windows with bright purple, red, blue, yellow or white paint to spell out player's names, numbers and duplicate team logos. You could easily spot the hockey family in their overstuffed vehicles on the thruway heading west. It was my 4th , the Pepsi Hockey Invitationals 34th year, for the tournament in Buffalo. It's always a big draw for many youth hockey organizations looking for a memorable way to end the long season. It's well-run with games that run pretty much on schedule. The rinks are roomy and able to comfortable accommodate teams and guests. Hotels are close to both the Holiday and Leisure Rinks. They're easy to find and a short drive to city attractions to keep families entertained during the off-ice times. This year the team manager set us up in the Hampton Inn. Great choice! We were worried because of the small-sized pool, but it worked out well since games were staggered throughout the day. Even though the place was packed with hockey families, the pool never overflowed with children. Unlike others, this hotel rolled out the red carpet for hockey families, greeting us with gift bags and letting our kids play knee-hockey in the lobby. You still had to sign the standard, 'we promise to behave' agreement, but there was lots of breathing room. We even got to set up a party room for the kids to watch movies and play video games. It was refreshing to be so welcomed with a hotel that understood how rambunctious kids can get , when they're all together after a hard fought hockey game. As long as we parents kept them somewhat in line, they were cool.
I've always looked forward to these end-of -the- year tournaments for several reasons. It's not all about the wins...at all. There have been some years in which my son's team has taken home a first or second place prize and sure..that was exciting. But what else do you think he remembers most about all those tournaments? It wasn't what happened from one period to the next, or who got the game-winning goal. It's all those times with his good buddies...roaming the halls without parents right behind, sneaking those rides in the luggage cart, the cannonball contests in the mega-sized pool and so much more. So much more. His Lake Placid tournament, by far, was the best. I need to post more photos from that!
My daughter's team didn't get to take home the hardware this tournament, but check out the video below. Just like my son's team, they too shared many terrific times they'll always remember and got to enjoy a weekend together, having fun and just being kids!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Chalk Talk Lingo for Little ones
by Lauren & Mike Carni (mite hockey mom/dad)
Off-sides, icing and zones can be pretty big concepts for little ones to grasp. Even as adults, we often catch ourselves scratching our heads after a ref's call. Oh, was that off-sides? Dr. Chris Santay's unique chalk talk style has everybody at the rink talking about his break-it-down-to their level approach. Using analogies and fictitious characters, he explains some complicated rules in a fun and engaging way. There's the big, giant defensman and knowing when to hit the puck "out the window!!" These youngsters are just learning how to read and write and thanks to coach Santay, they're already far ahead of many of us when it comes to understanding the many rules of hockey.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Thomas Sellers is an active 9 year old that has been recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He is a Midstate Hockey player, student at Fremont Elementary School in East Syracuse and a member of Immaculate Conception Parish. When: Sunday, March 7th, 2010 3:00p.m to 5:00p.m.
Where: Coliseum, NYS Fairgrounds
For more information, or to donate contact:
Pam Richards at (315)458-1128 or email@example.com
Lori McRitchies (315)345-1714 or firstname.lastname@example.org
All skaters must wear a helmet. Bike helmets are acceptable.
There will be food, music and raffles, including a 50/50.