Tag Archives: hockey

Gloves, Ribs and Beer

Hockey gloves have a lot of padding on them. This is a good thing in most on-ice situations. Leave it to me to discover a downside.

Class was really good last night. Standard skating drills to start the night, all done carrying a puck. Managed a couple crossovers with the puck in the snake drill and was happy with my left stops and transitions.

Broke into two groups and did 2 on 1’s. My defensive play was less than stellar, but I had a couple good runs as a forward. Almost got it past the goalie once after a nice pass from the guy I was skating with.

Next up was the line change drill. Defense – over the boards, out to position, dig out the puck, pass it forward, wait til it’s being dumped, in through the door. And repeat. This is way more tiring than it sounds.

Did some different drills with Brian and Jeff. Brian had us working on a breakout with all 5 skaters in the defensive zone. Jeff had us dumping and picking up the puck in the corner and passing it out, then coming back in for an attack.

Scrimmage time came early; we ended up with a bit over 20 minutes. Seemed that every time I was on the ice, I was skating against this one guy. He’s not fast but he’s big. Like over 6 feet and a good 240 pounds big. I, on the other hand, am not big. Trying to skate him toward the boards didn’t work so well. Neither did trying to push him out from in front of the goal. Sigh.

Was a bit deep in the offensive zone, going for the puck on what turned out to be my last shift of the evening. Not sure what happened, but I ended up going down with a glove between my ribs and the ice. It was like falling on a soccer ball.  Didn’t know that ribs could bend like that. Took a minute or so but I managed to get my breath back, get up and skate to the bench, where I spent the final minutes of scrimmage time sitting down, poking at my side to verify that it didn’t hurt so much that I was going to die.

Nothing broken, no lasting ill effects. It was a bit sore while we hung out drinking beer, watching Blue Thunder’s game and chatting; pretty much all better by this morning though.

The beer poured by the guy who took me out helped too. 😉

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That Sounds Like a Broken Leg

Sunday was a good day. We went to the dropzone in the morning to sell a parachute, went for a drive and had a fast food lunch (Jack in the Box burgers and fries do not compare to 5 Guys. We knew that, but Jack was the only option where we were at). The afternoon was spent lazing around the house until it was time to go to class.

I took a pre-emptive Ibuprofen before we left – Saturday’s public skate was a bit more strenuous than I thought. I was sore and tired just putting my bag into the truck. By the time we arrived at the rink I was feeling better (the caffeine in the Coke I drank on the way there helped too), and as expected the adrenaline took away the rest once we stepped onto the ice.

After a few minutes warm up, Jeff set us to the standard skating drills. But this time, we got to take a puck along.

Crossovers carrying a puck aren’t in my skill set yet. I’ve tried but it takes all my attention – as in my head is definitely not up. All those beautiful crossovers I’d done at the public skate on Saturday had me looking forward to this drill. Sigh. At least I only lost the puck once, at the end of the run. We then did stops with pucks and mine were fine. They let us not take a puck for transitions if we wanted; I left the puck behind and managed smooth transitions in both directions.

A few good 2 on 0 runs and a few not so good. Not surprisingly, my runs with Keith were some of the good ones. There’s a lot to be said for time spent skating and passing with someone.

Then Jeff broke us into 5 groups. Each group went to a circle. Where we got to do (drum roll please) backwards crossovers. Which just sound like a broken leg to me.

I did a couple runs around the circle C cutting like Brian had shown us, but I wasn’t getting how that was going to help me do the crossover. Tried to do it a couple times and it felt really, really awkward. So I was glad when that was over and we formed two groups for other drills. These will be practiced at stick times… I will own them. Someday. 😉

Back to two groups and Jeff had us doing a nuetral zone regroup and reentry drill. After a bunch of runs at that we went off with Brian to do some skating with the puck around cones, ending with a shot on goal. He made it a bit harder after a couple runs each by adding in transitions and backwards skating. Other people were going around the cone and then doing the standard transition. I did the bitchin’ almost stop and take off backwards transition. Rock star! Until I lost the puck.

Jeff had us working on retrieving the puck and doing a drop pass in the corners. Although this drill ended with a shot on goal, I think the practice skating to and being in the corners will be just as valuable to me as it will be to forwards.

Finally it was scrimmage time. The white team didn’t do as well this week; we spent more time in our defensive zone and skating than we have been. As a result, there was a lot more hard skating on my shifts. I got caught a couple times on breakaways (goalies are awesome…), but also made a couple good passes and took away a few shooting and passing lanes.

By the end of the scrimmage I was wiped out. We hung out afterwards for a little while, watching Blue Thunder play on one rink and Foothill Flyers play on the other. Neither team was doing well on the score when we left.

Damn, am I sore today! Kinda glad it’s going to be ludicrously hot here today; laying around on the couch is well on it’s way to overtaking any desire to go out and do anything.

Too Pooped to Practice

It was a long weekend of hanging out with some old and new friends at the dropzone. I didn’t go big on the partying; we were home before 11 pm every night. But still didn’t sleep well Friday or Saturday night, which left me debating going to class by late afternoon on Sunday. Decision made when I was almost falling asleep on the couch at 5 pm – I was too tired to skate and even massive amounts of caffeine weren’t going to make it happen. I spent the rest of the evening planted firmly on the couch while Keith went off to skate.

He said it was a pretty good class. They did a lot of skating, and with only 18 people there the shifts were long in the scrimmage. Introduced climbing over the boards and changing on the fly – of course. That’s one thing I didn’t want to miss. Oh well, I was so tired I’d probably have smacked my head on the boards on the way over.

While hanging out and chatting over beers, he learned that several people from the class are hitting the Thursday morning sticktime at Skatetown. Now we are torn… we love the empty ice at Vacaville, but these are the people who are likely going to be the core of the team that comes out of the class. We haven’t decided if we are for sure going to be a part of that team, but we want to keep our options open – and it would be good to be able to run some drills with other people at sticktimes. Ideally, we could hit an early morning sticktime at Vacaville on Tuesdays to focus on skating and then join the others at Skatetown on Thursday to work on team play…

Was all excited about getting to play some 3 on 3 with Pandora this coming Saturday, but not enough people responded in time so it’s been cancelled. The joys of summertime scheduling, I guess; most everyone has things going on this time of year.

I’m still very excited about getting the chance to play with Pandora at a women’s tournament in Vacaville the first weekend of August. Pandora will be sending two teams, a silver and a bronze. Assuming I’m good enough to even be on a team, this will be not only my first tournament… the first game of the tournament will be the first time I’ve played 5 on 5 in an actual game. Nothing like putting some extra pressure on myself!

Even better, we leave on our delayed honeymoon a few days after the practice and we won’t return until a day or two before the tournament. I won’t be worn out after 10 days of backpacking. Really I won’t.

Silly Stick Time

We’ve missed our Thursday morning stick times the past two weeks. Even though I promptly curled back up under the covers after turning the 5 am alarm off, I wasn’t going to miss it this week.

As I got in the truck, I saw our “Sharks territory” sign. They sent a bunch out to people they can take pictures of them while on vacation. We got a few on our trip up to Seattle last weekend.

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I’d forgotten to take the sign out of the truck. So it was back into the house to find the camera – if there are only the two of us on the ice, why not be a bit (okay, a lot) silly?

 

I remembered to put the camera in my gear bag, but I forgot the sign. by the time Keith mentioned it, we were already half dressed. I considered walking out to the truck wearing half my hockey gear but for some reason decided against it.

 

The ice was, once again, all ours. Not quite as perfect as some mornings; there were a few ruts here and there but they weren’t deep. We managed to ignore the camera for the majority of the hour. Did some transitions and I fell and smacked my head on the one I tried with speed. Doh! Then I fell and smacked my head again while doing crossovers. Double doh!

 

After that, I decided to just skate and not challenge myself. By the end of the hour, crossovers/lane changes were smooth on both sides, and right foot stops were beginning to feel “right” again. No huge leaps of improvement, but a good skate overall.

 

We couldn’t ignore the camera completely. All that ice and just the two of us… even without the Sharks sign, we managed to get more than a bit silly. 😀

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The dropzone is having it’s annual party – the American Boogie – this weekend.  Four days of skydiving, four nights of partying.  I won’t be jumping but I will be heading out to visit (and drink) with friends. Good times!

Defense!!

Good stick time on Wednesday, but I won’t bore you with the details when I can tell you about the excitement of Sunday’s class.

Started with some skating drills.  We’re doing them end to end now instead of board to board.   Our current favorite is one where the entire class  makes a snake and chases each other around the circles at one end, the circle in the center and the circles at the other end, going as fast as you can.

Broke into three groups again.  This time we worked on wrist shots with Brian first.  Learning the wrist shot is going to be a long process… I think I have it, then they tell me what I’m doing wrong (everything).  If it was easy, anybody could do it…  I do like my new stick, though.

Next was skating with Spencer.  Not sure what it’s called, but he taught us the basics of a cool move – how to go from skating forward in one direction to skating backwards in the opposite direction without losing momentum.  It looks really cool when it’s done right (watch some NHL defensemen skating, you’ll see it).   This is where practicing C cuts (swizzles) all those weeks ago is coming in handy, as it’s a wide C cut with the outside foot that is the key to the maneuver.

Last we did a “breakout” drill with Jeff.  Dump the puck, pick it up and pass it, receive a pass then shoot the net. Wow do  I suck at handling a puck.

And then what has become the best part of hockey class – scrimmage time.  We got an extra 15 minutes of ice time too, so we ended up with about 25 minutes of play time.

I’m finding that I’m most comfortable playing defense, so that’s all I did this week.  Our coaches were out there with us, helping us understand where to go/be and bashing the puck away from us just to make things more interesting.  I tried to focus on positioning again, keeping myself between opposing players and our goal, not getting too far into the offensive zone yet still being close enough to knock the puck back into it.

Made one outstanding defensive play where I dove across the shooting lane and kept one of the better skaters/players in the class from scoring,  blocked at least one shot with my stick and cleared the puck with a hand pass as I lay on the ice.  Oh, and I got high sticked in the face too.  I love my face cage! The rest of my shifts I pretty much flailed, but I’m grinning while I’m flailing and that’s what it’s all about.

Keith played forward on his shifts.  And he shot.  And he scored – on a live goalie no less!  He claims he got lucky.  I disagree.   He honored the skydiving tradition that goes along with doing anything for the first time and bought a pitcher of beer to share after class.

Besides being a load of fun, scrimmaging is showing us how much we still have to learn and improve.  And more importantly, increase our on-ice awareness.  To reference the sport I know best, most novice skydivers are pretty unaware of what is going on around them; with more jumps, awareness increases.   I hope the same applies to hockey.  There’s so much to think about out there!

Our stick times will focus a lot more on skating for at least the next few weeks, as we try to solidify what we’ve learned so we don’t have to think about our skating so much.  Today an order went in for two Green Biscuits , an off ice training puck recommended by Jeff that we can use to practice puck handling and passing out in the street.

Giving up watching at least the first period of Game 3 for stick time tomorrow.  I’m sure the Sharks will do just fine without me watching.  😉

The Pain…

I may be 45 years old now, but most of the time I try to ignore that fact.   I’ve made avoiding having to growing up my life’s work.   Hockey seems to have a way of reminding us of our physical age, though.

Our now regular Wednesday afternoon stick time date was in jeopardy this week due to our trip to SoCal this weekend.   We couldn’t go a whole week without practicing, so we hit an evening stick time in Roseville last night.  Not too crowded this time; there were 16 of us total.  Six or so of them were teenagers that obviously play together; they took over one end of the ice.  There were two other “pairs” and a handful of people working by themselves.

We concentrated on skating practice in the middle of the rink for the majority of the hour –  crossovers, stopping, transitions and backwards.   Some progress on crossovers; turning left felt like I was actually doing it, turning right I was feeling the edge and almost able to get the left foot crossing over (an improvement over Sunday night).  I’m gaining confidence in my stops; was able to stop a few times without gliding to lose speed first.

To break up the skating practice, we did a few minutes of puckhandling and passing after 10-15 minutes of skating.   I did a couple board to board runs with more speed than I’ve tried before and was pretty happy with my performance.   We also tried a few passing runs to the goal, which is a lot of fun even if we do completely suck at it.

About 45 minutes in, we were working crossovers in the center circle when I caught an edge and went down.  Ow.  Pain in the groin… I didn’t even know I had a muscle there and now it wasn’t happy with me at all.  Got up and skated to the bench to take a break.  It only hurt when I tried to lift my leg, and I didn’t want to waste the remainder of our stick time sitting on the bench, so we went back out.  I just didn’t skate as hard.

Ended the session by trying to take the puck away from each other.  Fun!

We’ve decided to do stick times only in Vacaville in the future.  It’s not the cost, it’s not the longer drive, it’s the people on the ice with us.  It was very frustrating last night trying to work on skating drills in the center while 7 other people insisted on weaving right through us.   We both got the impression that several of them felt that we were in their way (not the other way around).   We’ve never felt that way in Vacaville.

Aleve is my best friend today.  Whatever muscle I pulled is very unhappy with me and I have to go run errands.   Yet another day when I’m glad the car has an automatic transmission; it’d be kind of hard to operate a clutch by lifting my left leg with my hand like I have to do while sitting on the couch. 😉

The pain… it sucks.  But the fun I’m having learning to be a hockey player is worth it!

The Stanley Cup Playoffs  begin tonight!!!

Body, Meet Ice. W/Pictures!

It was a busy weekend around here.  We went to the Sharks game Saturday night, after working at the dropzone during the day.  By the time class rolled around Sunday evening, he’d done 8 skydives and was physically and mentally exhausted.  I wasn’t quite as tired, but my neck has been bugging me lately so I was pretty sore in the shoulders.  Didn’t stop us from going to class though.  A friend stopped by to watch and join us for a beer at the end of class; he’s responsible for the pictures. 😀  Thanks Phil!

We spent most of the class working on skating.  Remember that duck walk thing I mentioned that we learned at stick time?  That was introduced in class, along with transitions from forward to backward (we haven’t been doing them wrong!  Yay!).

When we broke up into groups, we did more skating with Brian.  Crossovers… For a few seconds there, turning left, staying low, I was really feeling it!  Right turns, on the other hand…

Next we worked on stickhandling with Jeff.  A few passes and shots on the net.  I’ll get it someday.

Last station for the evening was more skating with Spencer.  He set us up a brutal drill.  Hop over a board place on the ice, skate to the cones, superman, get up, skate to and around another cone then sprint back to the start.  And repeat.  Over and over and over and over…  It was exhausting, but it was also quite fun!

That’s the s/o on the ice.  That’s me skating away with a big grin.  If I hadn’t told you about the drill, I bet you would have thought I’d just checked him huh?

Another good class session, even if we were tired when it started.  This week is also going to be busy, as we leave Thursday evening for a friend’s memorial service in southern California and won’t be returning until Sunday – which will mean hockey class after an 8 hour drive.

One more pic, just because.