No Ice? No Problem!

By:  Kevin R Brown

While the 2020-2021 hockey season was never going to be straightforward during the COVID pandemic, girls throughout the OWHA started their seasons on ice with their teams – albeit with some modification.  However, on November 23, 2020 at 12:01am, changes in regulations shut down sports, and arenas went quiet.

 Every Sunday morning, the team gathers for a virtual “dryland” training session, starting with an intense workout by Coach Tara to build balance, core and leg strength, and explosive power.  Coaches Peter and Burkie then take the girls through puck handling skills and shot setup, and Coach Kevin brings in videos to connect the skills to the game and to set up challenges for the girls for the week.  Mindfulness tools and mental health strategies help build resiliency. And there’s always time set aside to talk and check in with each other, and of course show off Zoom backgrounds and filters.

   For the month of February, each of the girls has chosen a “personal challenge”, setting a goal that can be achieved by the end of the month and varying from trying to practice their shots daily, increasing their pushup endurance, or even just getting out for a walk with their dog every day.  Even the coaches are getting in on the fun, trying to double the number of pushups they can do – leading by example!

 But it’s not all business!  The fall saw outdoor workouts and creating orange-puck pumpkins, and now that the cold is here our girls have pivoted to public skating outdoors, and even connecting online on Roblox.  Being an athlete and a teammate is so much more than showing up to the rink, and that’s something that even COVID can’t stop!!!