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From the Press Box: Puck Drop

 

It’s game time. Summer is over and tryouts are on, teams are forming and everyone is thinking about how the season will shape up.

I was at the gym today. It’s a gym that trains loads of hockey teams and they simulate their training for their adult sessions to match hockey player training. Our trainer, Matt, said ‘okay, it’s week 9 of 9 and the season starts next week! Next week we start week 1 of the 12-week start of the season/in-season training.’ Should be good.

Point is the summer is over and there is tons of awesome hockey ahead of us.

Sarah Jean, our Lead Story Planner, delivers a fantastic look at the development and direction of hockey players in Canada. The level of analytics, technology and strategy that goes into the game in this era boggles the mind, and is equally intriguing and exciting.

It’s awesome to see how far the game has come even just since 1999 when HockeyNow got started. Of course, not all of it is positive, but when we look at the forward progress of the game, it’s pretty impressive. The focus is now on things like concussion prevention and treatment, debating when body checking should start, the use of daytime ice that previously went unused, when to take a break and play other sports or do nothing organized, and the list is endless.

It will be interesting to have a look at how our World Junior team does this year. It is always the litmus test every year of our development model, how we measure our success from the 1999 hockey summit, our personal self worth (for some of us)—just joking. With no medals in the last two tournaments and no gold since 2009, there are many Canadians just wringing their hands.

I suggest that with 10 golds in the last 20 tournaments, plus many other silvers and bronzes, we are likely in good shape, but in any event it will be intriguing to see if our success in the Ivan Hlinka (six in a row) can translate to World Junior success this year. I am especially interested to see how many guys from that team make the World Junior team. Typically those players have to wait a year, but I think the trend will be to have more of the U18 guys make it in their 19th year, especially the top end guys since the risk to not have them the following year after they make their NHL team is higher than ever.

In a lot of ways that brings us back to the development model we have. The players are more fine tuned, highly skilled, mentally tough and focused than ever. The result is a lot of the top end guys are ready for primetime, at least physically, earlier than ever.



On a final note, don’t forget to enter the first annual HockeyNow NHL hockey pool. We put it together to keep it simple to enter and fun for all levels of poolies. Check in regularly after Sept.1 on hockeynow.ca, we’ll launch it in the first week of Sept. We don’t cover the NHL (we leave that to the TV and daily guys), but we love it and we are pumped to have a pool this year. There will be monthly prizes as well as a grand prize at the end, and we will have a couple of trades allowed per year too. Bottom line is it’ll be fun, easy to enter and we hope you enjoy it.

Good luck this season with your teams and pools. Remember to enjoy it every step of the way.

Tags: minor hockey

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