July 17, 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, Ann Arbor native Andrew Copp is participating alongside current Wolverine Brennan Serville and former U-M rearguard Jacob Trouba at the Winnipeg Jets development camp.
Sunday, July 14th
Hello from Winnipeg. I am nervous and excited for my first development camp. On Sunday, Brennan Serville (another Jets pick) left for the airport in the morning. We took a flight from Detroit to Minneapolis and then a connecting flight to Winnipeg. Also, on these flights were Austin Czarnik from Miami and Luke Eibler from Northern Michigan. The travel was smooth. As soon as we landed at the airport, we went directly to the rink to try on our gear for the week. It takes time to feel comfortable with new equipment. First, they gave me a visor. I had never worn a visor before so this was going to be a new experience as well as the uncomfortable feeling of breaking in new gloves and pants. We had a quick meeting and dinner where I was able to meet up with Jacob Trouba. We all went back to the hotel where I met my roommate Dylan Margonari, who plays for Minnesota State University in the WCHA. It was an exciting day, but I knew the real work started tomorrow.
Monday, July 15th
We had an early, 6:10 a.m. wake-up call. We walked to the rink and ate a light breakfast there in anticipation for the off-ice testing portion of the camp along with meetings with different doctors and the dentist, everyone's favorite. It was my first time doing the VO2 max test and from what I heard that was the hardest test. I felt like I did pretty well on it, and I was pretty pleased with my scores on the tests. We then took a bus to the team's practice rink, where we were greeted by hundreds of Jets fans. It was awesome to see how many people came out to see the development camp's first skate. The first skate was at a very high tempo but was very short; a quick skate to get our feet wet and get used to the equipment. My hands were quite questionable in the first skate with the new gloves. Being my first camp, I was quite passive and nervous for wearing a Jets sweater for the first time. After the skate, we caught the bus back to the hotel. Jacob, Brennan, Austin and Dylan were all able to chill in my room and relax from the long day until dinner. We went to a Brazilian BBQ place that was very good. They would come out with the food on skewers and cut it right in front of us. It was a free-for-all among us to grab the best piece. After dinner, we came back to the hotel and watched the Home Run Derby before falling asleep from the long day.
Tuesday, July 16th
We were actually able to sleep in until 7:10 a.m. today. We grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and then were taken to the practice rink for our morning skates. As we got into the second skate of the morning, I was much more comfortable with my surroundings, my gear and my play. This practice was much more competitive as there were more battle drills throughout the practice, which gave me a chance to show my strength and vision on the ice. At the end of the skate, a few of us got to jump on the other sheet and continue with some skill work. We worked on some quick release shots as well as deflections and tight turns in the corners, all areas where I need to get better. After the skate, we had a nutrition meeting that was very similar to the one we had at Michigan. I picked up some valuable tips on how to keep my diet consistent and how important timing of meals is. We then ate lunch at the practice rink and then headed over to the main rink for our afternoon workout and team building exercises. The workout consisted of some bike sprints and an upper body and ab circuit. The biking part was hard on the legs especially after a long day the day before and a couple of skates, but the upper body circuit went well for me. We then did some team building exercises with planks and having to maneuver as a group around cones and under obstacles. It was a fun activity to do, especially to kind of get your mind away from hockey and working out. We then listened to Evander Kane and James Wright from the Jets talk about their very different paths to the NHL and what really hit home for me was that this will take time. Obviously everyone's ultimate goal is to end up in the NHL. I know it will not be a quick step for me. I will need to concentrate on the small steps over a period of time to realize my ultimate dream. After that we jumped on the bus and went to dinner. There we cooked our own meal. I am not an expert cook, but Trouba thinks of himself as a chef and went up and made a quite surprising delicious pizza. After that we all came back to the hotel, watched the Major League Baseball All Star Game and relaxed after another long day.