July 8, 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.
Good evening from the Airport Marriott in Montreal,
The week has finally come to a close. We finished up with a full scrimmage Sunday morning, but before I get there I still need to recap Saturday ...
Saturday morning was a little bit different than what was planned. We were given the morning off, and it felt pretty good. We got to sleep in until 8:30 a.m. before we caught the bus over to the rink. Once we got there, we had breakfast and then a strength and conditioning seminar. It basically outlined the reasoning behind doing the lifts that are in the plan. It also went over how to access and record weights as everything is online. The online availability is really cool seeing as I could bring my phone into the weight room and I know exactly what I'm doing.
Following the seminar, we went out onto the soccer field for an eccentric stretching session. This was a great way to loosen us up from the stiffness acquired over the week. It also gave us a chance to sweat a little bit, which helped us wake up.
We then got a quick shower in and headed back into the players' lounge for lunch and then headed back to the hotel for a mid-day nap.
When we got back to the rink, all three of the teams went out onto the field for a pre-game stretch and then teams A and C played this first game. While they were playing, some of the players on our team had individual meetings with either the skating coach, sports psych guy, nutritionist, or they were just able to relax. I was one of the guys who ended up relaxing, so I watched a bit of the first game and taped my sticks up for our game.
After the first game ended, team C had a half-hour break while our team suited up. We hit the ice and played two, twenty-minute running time periods and ended up beating them 3-2. The pace of play had picked up a bit as everyone had a bit more energy since the morning was easy.
After the game we geared down, stretched, ate dinner and headed back to the hotel.
This morning we woke up around 6:30 and had to pack as we wouldn't be going back to the hotel. We went to the rink and ate breakfast before heading out onto the soccer field again for a stretch.
This morning we'd be putting on our gear for the last time as we'd be finishing the week with a full on 60-minute scrimmage. The scrimmage would be the highlight of the week for players, coaches and fans. As players, we'd get to show off what we learned during the week. Coaches would get to see us in a regular game. And the fans would get to watch the game they love.
As a quick side note, I know I touched on it earlier, but the Canadiens' fan base is rabid ... in a good way. Throughout the entire week, at every ice session there would be fans lining the glass to watch some hockey. I remember the first time I went to development camp, it was the same way, and I was in shock because people were coming out to see players who were 1-2-3-4-5 years away from playing pro. The support that Montreal shows their team is unbelievable, and that is why I believe the Canadiens have the best fans in the NHL.
Anyway, we hit the ice and the first thing I noticed is that the pace of play that was happening during the week had suddenly been stepped up. Everything seemed to be a bit faster and it made playing that much more fun. Our team got up to a big lead, and we're able to hold on and win the game.
After the game, we got undressed and had exit meetings and medicals before we could leave. The player development and strength coaches were happy with the progress I've been making, so I left the meeting with a big smile on my face.
As a post-camp celebration, Greg Pateryn and I walked to Five Guys to indulge in the first unhealthy meal we've had in a week. Greg still feels sick from it. I'm now at a different hotel that's closer to the Montreal airport and will be flying out Monday morning to Detroit at 9 a.m. I had an absolute blast this week in hockey heaven, and I hope that I'll be spending a lot more time here after my time at Michigan is up.
Until then ... GO HABS GO and GO BLUE!