It’s the time of year when Canadians across the world rejoice. Skates are being laced, sticks are being taped, and the sound of fresh ice being laid is resonating throughout the empty arena.
The Stingers 2007 men’s hockey team have opened their camp and undergone fitness testing for the past few weeks in preparation for the new season that starts at home on Oct. 5. Players were put through a series of anaerobic and aerobic testing, which evaluates a combination of physical strength, speed, and recovery time.
Recovery time is essential in an athlete, particularly those who operate in short shifts of high intensity. It allows the player to recuperate faster between exercises, allowing them to perform at a greater pace and more frequently without the painful build up of lactic acid.
“Basically, we’re looking for guys who continued to train hard throughout the summer,” head coach Kevin Figsby said. “It’s usually pretty easy to tell. Some guys will recover a lot quicker than others,” he said. “We also do comparative analysis with the guys who were here last year; We’ll look at the height and weight stats of a player last season, and see how it differs now at the start of the camp,” he said.
Training Camp Battles
The camp is open, which means that anyone who wants to tryout can do so. While coach Figsby insisted that he is “never looking to cut the veteran players” from the team, he also wants to ensure that none of the players are taking their positions for granted. It is important for him that they not only work hard to keep those positions, but also continue to improve their performances from last year. This is why he is adamant that every player, new hopeful or grizzled expert, must undergo the same testing at the start of the season.
“Every player in the camp is treated the same from day one,” he said, “There’s no distinguishing between rookies and veterans when it comes to that.”
The players hit the ice for the first time last week, engaging in a series of scrimmages. They were divided into four teams-two comprised only of rookies, and two of veterans. The reasoning behind that is chemistry, according to Coach Figsby.
“If I have a guy on the line with two veterans, he might not see the puck as much because the veterans might feed off each other. But three rookies on a line might try to help each other more,” he said.
While the newbies tend to using the scrimmages as opportunities to impress, coach Figsby insisted that it’s more than that. “I’m looking for hockey ability and a competitive nature out there,” he said. “It’s all important when we make the final decision of who makes the team, and who doesn’t.”
When Figsby is certain that a player won’t make the team, an in-person meeting is scheduled so that the player can then move on and determine what step to take next. The players will continue on-ice practices and scrimmages for the next week, with intersquad games taking place occasionally.
The final roster for the team is expected out by the end of September, after an exhibition game against Trois-Rivi