July 20, 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.
Wednesday, July 17th:
Another 7:10 a.m. wake-up call and we were back at it early in the morning. After breakfast at the hotel, we went to the practice rink for our morning activity and skate. My group had a team building exercise first where we blindfolded our partner and had to maneuver them out of the arena, to grab a piece of tape on a traffic cone without touching them. This taught me a lot about communication and when to use it and how often I should use it because if you are not constantly talking to your partner they start to get lost quickly.
After that exercise, we had a short warm up and then hopped on the ice. We did some skill work on the ice including quick turns and working on our quick releases early in practice with a few flow drills and then the forwards worked a lot on faceoffs. I consider faceoffs to be one of my strengths, so I was eager to see what the coach had to say about them. The coach taught me some new techniques on how to time the referee's hand as well as trying to anticipate what the other player will do on that draw. After the ice time, we had a quick meal and then headed over to the main facility for a workout and a meeting with the mental coach. The mental coach just talked about a basic overview of preparation. Preparation for a game doesn't start that day. It means you prepare for each workout and skate as you are preparing for a game. It sounds easy, but it is very tough.
We then had a lower body workout and a quick bike session which was great for me because I usually feel better the next day when I do that and then after the workout I ended my physical day with the coldest ice bath I have ever taken. I take ice baths pretty often, so I have gotten used to the feeling, but this took it to a whole new level. We then headed to a restaurant in downtown Winnipeg for dinner that was very good although it took very long, but the waitresses were quite beautiful, so we had that going for us. So by the time we got back to the hotel it was time for bed after a long day at the rink.
Thursday, July 18th:
You know the deal by now, 7:10 a.m. wake up for a quick breakfast and then to the rink. Today, I was on the ice first and it was a battle practice. We did several small area, competitive, tough games that are physically demanding. Playing college hockey has particularly helped prepare me for this part of the game. I have played against older players all last year which is the same type of thing that has happened this entire week. After the skate, our team building activity was just getting to know and learn the personality of the other players. We were asked to discuss our best 'non hockey' related moment, For me two things popped into my head -- family and football. My family is very important to me, and I am very close with them, so there were many moments I could have chosen that involved them, but I decided to share my football story. I played football all four years of high school, and I loved every minute of it. It was my first taste of playing in front of all my friends and for my school, and the feeling is second to none. I loved football, and I will never forget many of the moments I had on the gridiron.
After another quick meal, we headed to the main facility once again for a workout and another meeting with the mental coach. The workout was more of a core workout, one of the things I need to improve on most. We then had another quick meeting about visualization and how much that can help you. We did a couple tests with a paper clip and arm strength that were very cool. We then hung around the rink for quite a while before eating dinner at the rink and staying for the Kiss concert. The Kiss concert was, let's say, interesting. Rock is not my music of choice, and I think most of my generation would agree but nonetheless it was fun to see these four older guys with their face painted black and white having a blast on stage. It was very late when we returned to the hotel. We all went straight to bed.
Friday, July 19th:
The last day of development camp. Now I am so much more comfortable on the ice. Today was game day. We were playing a 3-on-3 tag up type of game that was very intense. We split up into four teams -- a semifinal and a championship and consolation games. You were only allowed to change on defense which really hurt me in the first game. My line got stuck out there for around two and a half minutes -- quite long in hockey. We ended up not giving up a goal, so I was happy. My team ended up losing the first game in overtime. So in the consolation game my team played against Trouba and Serville's team. We won 6-3 which gave me some bragging rights for the remainder of the day.
We then went to a Canadian Air Force base where we toured a few of their aircraft and learned how to skydive. We were all so tired at this point, so we went to the owner's house for a quick meal and headed back to the hotel for the night. My flight is at 8:45 tomorrow morning so it will be an early bed time for me. Thank you all for reading my blog. Hope to see you at Yost in October!
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