July 4, 2013
As members of the University of Michigan ice hockey team participate in different NHL developmental camps and other activities during the summer, the student-athletes will blog about their experiences. Currently, Mac Bennett -- captain of the 2013-14 Wolverines -- is skating at the Montreal Canadiens Development Camp in Brossard, Quebec.
Hello again from Brossard,
Day three of camp began this morning at 5:45 a.m. I thought yesterday I had to get up early. Today was an absolute struggle to leave the bed. We took a shuttle over to the rink at 6 a.m. and started the day with breakfast. I had waffles with syrup and fruit on top. They feed us so well here at camp it's crazy. After breakfast, we had a quick meeting with everyone involved in making the camp happen so we could meet coaches, trainers, visitors, etc. Then following the meeting we were called five at a time to begin the physical testing.
For our physical testing, we had to do an explosive bench test, a 20-meter sprint, a grip test, a broad jump test, and finally the beep test. The beep test is probably the worst thing that has ever been invented. It's a 20-meter shuttle run going from one end to the other in a certain amount of time. This time decreases as the test goes on making it harder and harder. Eventually you can't make it to the other side in time, and the test is over. You run until it's physically impossible for you to run anymore. It is awful, but I managed to pass it and move on with the day.
Following testing we had lunch which was amazing yet again: chicken fajitas with rice, pasta and salad. Then we had time to get back to the hotel for about a two-hour nap.
When I woke up, I felt as if it was 8 p.m. It was only 1:45. We took the shuttle back over the practice facility and finally got to take to the ice for the first time. We had a 75-minute practice followed by a film session where a skating coach filmed our strides so he could break them down for us later. Practice was a little rough for me seeing as I haven't skated that much since the end of my season. But by the end I felt as if I had banged most of the rust off. The first 20 minutes were the worst as it was all skating drills without pucks so we could get our legs moving. We then went on to do some flow drills followed by some 1 on 1's and 2 and 1's.
After the practice, we stepped onto another ice sheet to film our strides. The skating coach that is working with the Canadiens is a former Canadian Olympic speed skater named Pat Kelly. We ran through some drills so he could get a look at how we skate forwards, backwards, and how we crossover. All of these drills were done at 75 percent so he could see our technique. Later on in the week he'll meet with us individually to tell us what we can work on.
After the ice sessions, we put our workout gear back on and headed onto the soccer field for a stretch. The stretch was being run by three women from some kind of yoga studio in Montreal. They ran us through an eccentric stretching workout which is a way to stretch while moving instead of standing still. We had three phases that were standing, on the ground, and with our feet up on benches. It was pretty difficult and actually hurt a little bit. But it was the kind of good hurt that will make you feel better the next morning, and after today, God knows I need it.
After the stretch, we had dinner which was pasta, rice, and chicken and steak kabobs. Before we left for the hotel, we stocked up on all sorts of goodies to help us recover for tomorrow. I've already downed 3 Gatorlyte packets along with a coconut water and two Gatorades. I drank most of these in a cold tub I made here back at the hotel. Now I'm lying in bed writing this, and I'm about to shut the lights off. We start tomorrow at 5:45 and have three hours of ice plus a workout.
I know today is July 4, so to everyone back in the states -- have a happy Fourth of July!
Checking In with Mac Bennett: Part I