July 5, 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 Quebec,
Today we finally had our first full day (well almost) of camp. We had multiple ice sessions as well as some informational meetings. But let me start from the beginning.
Like yesterday, we woke up at 5:45 and caught a shuttle over to the rinks. We were able to catch a quick breakfast (blueberry pancakes) before throwing on some warm-up gear and hitting the soccer field. Our first ice session was at 8:15, so we had to get a dry land warm-up in before hitting the ice. We ran through the warm-up, changed into our hockey gear and were ready for on ice testing. The Canadiens had brought in a company that specializes in on-ice testing. We were equipped with ID tags so we could scan in before the tests. The forwards and the D got split up and did a quick drill that was specific to their position. The defenseman had to do a figure eight through flags. We were told always keep our chest forward. This allows the coaches to see how well I can pivot from front to back. After that test, we did what they called a "Riot Test." This is when you skate from one end of the ice to the other and then back. You have to do it six times, and you have 30 seconds to go down, back, and rest, before starting again. At the end of the drill, I was gassed. My legs were so sore from yesterday that they almost failed on me on the last rep.
After the skating drills, my group got off the ice and headed into a nutrition seminar. Many players at camp are still developing and looking to put on weight. The majority of the seminar was focused on the correct way to add weight. The bottom line is that you have to eat ... a lot ... and then eat some more. But it's also important to be eating the right things. Much like putting premium gasoline into a Ferrari, if you don't put the right fuel into your body, it won't perform to its potential. We then talked about other topics such as vitamins, fish oils and banned substances.
Following the seminar it was right back on the ice. Our group had about an hour-long session that mimicked that of a morning skate before a game. I think the coaches decided to go this route because we just gassed our legs in the testing less than two hours before, and we'd be scrimmaging that evening. We did some edge work and stick-handling drills to start the practice, followed by some flow drills that were easier on the legs. For the last 10-15 minutes of practice, the forwards and D went to separate ends and did some position-specific drills. We caught passes on the blue line from the corner and then went through different variations of shooting, passing to our partner, and then passing to our partner and getting it back and shooting. We did this until the end of practice and then stretched before getting off.
Lunch time was up next. Everyone tried to get a meal in fast so they could return to the hotel for a quick nap.
After the nap, we headed back to the rink. Our group met with the athletic trainer. He ran us through the right way to do some of the lifts as well as the thinking behind the lifts we do. I'm fairly knowledgeable about power lifting seeing as we do it already at school, but it's always good to get back to basics and pick something up I might have missed. After the session, we rotated between the cold and hot tubs six times for about a minute each to flush some of the lactic acid out of the legs. After the two skates in the morning, they were starting to feel pretty heavy, but the baths did wonders for them.
Then we headed back into the locker to get suited up for our last ice session of the day which would be a scrimmage. I was so pumped for it, but with about five minutes before we were supposed to get on, the power went out. Our locker room was completely dark, and I couldn't even see my own hand in front of my face. The generators kicked in, but the rink still wasn't lit well enough to play. We sat in the locker room with our stuff on for about 10 minutes until the coaches decided to cancel the skate. It was only going to be a 35-minute skate anyway, and there was a group behind us that had the ice at 6 p.m.
With the power still off, we geared down and threw our workout gear back on to get a quick stretch in to loosen up. After a long day, this was much needed. After the stretch, we went into the players' lounge for a quick dinner (chicken, pasta, and rice) and a shuttle back to the hotel. I'm writing this from my hotel bed, and my legs are fried. I'm going to bed heading to bed pretty soon as we have to get up again at 5:45 a.m. I'm starting to get use to waking up early -- tomorrow shouldn't be so bad.
I hope everyone had a great and safe Fourth of July!
Checking In with Mac Bennett: Part II
Checking In with Mac Bennett: Part I