I scored my first goal ever in hockey yesterday. And it’s all because of Mark Tewskbury.
Let me explain. Yesterday’s game was my first of the spring season, the fifth season for the Stanley Cupcakes. I’m okay with being one of the lesser lights on the team, but in the second period I had a thought: someone is probably going to score today. Why not me?
I got that idea from Canadian Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury. I heard him give an excellent speech a few years ago where he explained what it was like to win a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics. He said that on the day of his big race, he woke up and thought, “Someone is going to win a gold medal today. Why not me?” And then he went out and did just that.
A lot of athletes will visualize success before a game or race. If you picture it in your mind, then it’s easier to go out and do it.
And we all know the opposite is true: you’re on a breakaway and think, “Don’t just shoot straight into the goalie’s pads!” – and then you do just that.
Even if it’s another five years until I score again, I won’t stop trying. Because it’s really, really fun.
Have fun out there…and keep visualizing good things on the ice.
Posted by karen27 on May 5, 2013
As playoff season approaches, it’s a good time to think about how to score in a shoot-out.
The one and only team my team has been in a shoot-out to break a tie, 22 shooters tried their luck before anyone scored. After going through the line-up the first time, the ref offered to flip a coin to decide the winner. We declined; he left. Fortunately, we were the team who finally scored. But the experience left us with a new appreciation for how tough it is to score one-on-one with a good goalie.
A few things you don’t want to do in a shoot-out:
- Don’t skate in too close to the goalie. That leaves you nowhere to shoot.
- Don’t try anything fancy. Learn from Alex Burrows’ epic fail.
- Don’t lose control of the puck. If you skate too fast, you can leave the puck behind.
- Don’t hesitate. You’ll run out of options.
What you should do:
- Skate fast. If you move too slowly, the goalie will have way too much time to react to what you are doing.
- Watch the goalie. If the goalie is way out of the net, you have the opportunity to deke. If the goalie is back in the net, you’ll have a better chance with a good shot.
- Try a slapshot. Why not? Check out the simple efficiency of Marian Hossa’s slapshot on a shoot-out.
- Practice. Think about how many times Pavel Datsyuk practiced before he got this perfect shoot-out technique.
The best approach of all? Wrap up the win in regulation time.
Have fun out there – and may all your shoot-out dreams comes true.
Posted by karen27 on April 24, 2013
My hockey team played without a goalie last night and lost a playoff game 5-2. Sucks to be us, right? In fact, it was one of our best games ever.
Accentuate the positive.
Here are some life lessons we learned last night:
- When things are going sideways, change your focus. Once the other team was up by a few goals, we were ready to admit we might not catch up. While we might not be able to stop them from scoring, we decided we could have some fun focusing on scoring. With one player hanging back as “goalie”, that freed the other Defense players to be more offensive-minded. And we did score twice, which is fun.
- Crisis can bring out unexpected strength of character. When one of our defenders volunteered to be goalie, sans equipment, we had no idea how much she would commit to the role. She was throwing herself in front of pucks, on her knees blocking shots and kicking pucks out of the goal crease. Her courage is even more impressive when we recall that she has broken a leg and blown a knee playing hockey in the past few years.
- Pursue your passions with a sense of urgency. In our desperation to keep the puck away from our pseudo-goalie, we learned a lot about getting first to the puck. It works! We should live every day like it’s our last and play every game like there’s no goalie behind us.
- A situation is what you make. Once it was clear that Roberto Luongo was not going to show up (hey, he could use the game time), we came up with a game plan. Worry about what you can control.
- There’s more than one way to win. Sure, the other team won. And sure, we probably got knocked out of the playoffs. But we finished the game with a sense of satisfaction, great team spirit, a couple of goals to our credit and a bit more knowledge about this awesome game. That’s a win in our books.
Have fun out there – and be nice to your goalie. You really, really need her.
Posted by karen27 on April 10, 2013
If you listen carefully, you’ll hear a solid pounding of hockey sticks on the boards. That’s applause for the decision to put the Stanley Cup of women’s hockey – the Clarkson Cup – in the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The Clarkson Cup is awarded to the team that wins the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) championship. It now has a permanent home in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The trophy is named after Adrienne Clarkson, the former Canadian Governor-General. She had the Cup made five years ago, partly as a reaction to being ridiculed for suggesting women compete for the Stanley Cup during the 2004 NHL lockout.
The Montreal Stars won the Clarkson Cup in 2012.
“This is important because it acknowledges what women are doing in this sport, and not just as cheerleaders and fans, but the women who care about hockey and are the best in the sport,” Clarkson said yesterday.
Kudos to Adrienne Clarkson, the CWHL teams and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Have fun out there…and visit the Hockey Hall of Fame if you can. It’s awesome. Or check out the CWHL championships in Markham, ON from March 20-23.
Posted by karen27 on March 8, 2013
To mark Heart Month, I thought we should have a little talk about hockey and heart attacks. Specifically, are you prepared if one of your teammates had a heart attack on the bench?
It happens. The anaerobic nature of hockey can be hard on the heart. This story of a hockey player’s heart attack earlier this month illustrates how important it is to know what to do if the person next to you on the bench turns grey and keels over.
These tips could save a life at the rink or in your everyday life:
- Know the signs: It’s not just chest pain. In fact, about one-third of women won’t feel chest pain when they’re having a heart attack. Other signs include discomfort in the upper body (arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, back), shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and lightheadedness. Most women feel flu-like symptoms in the weeks leading up to a heart attack.
- Don’t ignore the signs. It’s natural to “suck it up”, especially in a game situation. But women are just as likely as men to experience a heart attack. If you feel any of these signs or you think a teammate is, take action. Better safe than sorry.
- Know how to react: The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that you call 911 right away. Stop all activity and sit or lie in the most comfortable position. If it’s chest pain, take ASA (Aspirin). Tylenol or Advil won’t work.
- Learn CPR: It’s pretty easy to find courses through community centres or the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
- Find out where the portable defibrillator is: A lot of hockey rinks have Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Take a minute to find out where it’s located at your rink. Searching for it could waste valuable seconds.
- Talk to your team: Ask who knows CPR and who knows how to use an AED. You might be surprised. I would rather have the certified person zapping me than a well-meaning teammate who is holding an AED for the first time.
You’re doing a great thing for your heart by playing hockey and staying active. Knowing what to do if someone has a heart problem is good common sense.
Have fun out there – and play with heart.
Posted by karen27 on February 20, 2013
We all know the wrist shot and slap shot, but how often do you pull the trigger with other hockey shots? Here are a few videos I have found that show how and when to use other shots.
I’m always impressed with backhand topshelf. Raising the puck and putting some power behind it – it must feel great.
The snap shot is a tricky move that’s in between a wrist shot and a slap shot.
Lots of flex in this shot.
And who knew there were so many ways to score on a wraparound?
Let’s not forget the shot that is so spectacular when it works – and so lame when it doesn’t: the one-timer.
May all your shots be on net. And don’t forget the words of Wayne Gretzky, “You miss on 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Posted by karen27 on February 15, 2013
To celerate Hockey Day in Canada, a shout out to Canada’s premier female hockey player.
Here are 10 reasons to be a fan of Hayley Wickenheiser:
1) She’s a winner: 4 Olympic medals (3 gold and 1 silver)
2) She’s got staying power: On the Canada’s women’s national team since she was 15 – almost 20 years
3) She can shoot: Her shot is often called the hardest in women’s hockey.
4) She can score: Top all-time scoring leader for the national team
5) She can score against men: Hayley is the first woman to score in a men’s professional hockey league (in Europe, 2003)
6) She won’t be pushed around: 264 penalty minutes for Team Canada
7) She’s has a life outside hockey: She talks about a career in medicine post-hockey.
8) She’s versatile: She played softball for Canada in the Summer Olympics.
9) She’s not going anywhere: Hayley hasn’t ruled out playing hockey for Canada after the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
10) She’s a mentor: More than 1,200 hockey players take part in the Wickenheiser International Women’s Hockey Festival in Burnaby, BC each year. I have heard that young girls are absolutely thrilled to meet her.
Here’s to Hayley who is inspiring a whole new generation of female hockey players who see opportunities we didn’t see a generation ago!
Posted by karen27 on February 9, 2013
The common thinking is that mouthguards will help prevent concussions by helping to absorb the impact of a blow to the head. It makes sense that a mouthguard will stop your jaw from slamming shut quite so hard.
But experts told a hockey concussion summit in London, Ontario earlier this month that there is no scientific proof that mouthguards prevent concussions. Dr. Robert Cantu made this point:
Mouth guards have a role in preventing dental and oro-facial injury but have not been shown to decrease concussion occurrence.
His point is that the study showing mouthguards prevent concussions hasn’t been done – not that we definitively know that they don’t work.
We do know that a full face shield is a good idea. Wearing a full face shield instead of a half face shield makes more of a difference in preventing concussions than mouthguards, according to a study from the University of Calgary.
So what’s a female hockey player to do? Is it right to force our kids to wear mouthguards while playing hockey but not wear one ourselves – “Do as I say, not as I do”?
In a previous post, I shared the surprising news that women’s ice hockey is the most dangerous college sport for brain injuries. So it’s not just a guy thing.
I don’t think anyone on my women’s hockey team wears a mouthguard. Granted, ours is a much different game than my 16-yera-old son’s games with bone crushing bodychecks and super-speedy skaters. But we all need our teeth, checkbones and full cognitive function. So maybe we should wear mouthguards.
What do you think?
Have fun out there – and be kind to your head.
Posted by karen27 on January 28, 2013
Is there anything more frustrating than skating as hard as you can and having someone effortlessly glide by you and beat you to the puck? Improving skating skills can be hard, especially if you didn’t grow up skating. A skating treadmill might help you take a giant step forward in your hockey skills.
Skating treadmills use a flat, ice-like surface. You wear your skates and are attached to a harness to avoid being jettisoned off the back if you miss a step. There are handgrips that you can hold onto until you get used to skating on a moving, inclined surface.
Here’s some info about skating treadmills.
I saw my son make a huge improvement in his skating after doing a few sessions on a skating treadmill. The biggest change was his stride, which became much longer.
A major advantage over on-ice skating lessons is that the instructor can give you immediate feedback; you’re not moving away from them. The skating treadmill also forces you to focus intensely on your skating. The incline of the surface can be increased to increase the challenge. By the look of things, it’s a great workout.
Once you’re comfortable on the treadmill, you can add a puck and stick. You are forced to constantly skate while stickhandling, which is a great habit to get into.
The plastic surface will dull your skates, so plan to get them sharpened after you do a treadmill session.
Have you tried a skating treadmill? Did it work for you? Let me know.
Have fun out there – and keep those feet moving.
Posted by karen27 on January 14, 2013