Welcome to the second season debut of As The Puck Spins. I know that it has been a long time since I have written an article so please forgive me for ending the inaugural season of the article on a cliffhanger. Now that I have fallen off the edge; gone through the ice, and hit the concrete, that was enough sense knocked into me to get back behind the keyboard and share more nuggets of hockey goodness.
So, to start, the last few months have certainly been more challenging than I would care to admit. Not only was it from a personal standpoint, but a mental, professional, and sports one too. Without going into a lot of detail, being laid off from your job is not the best thing you would want to have happened to you. Not to mention it was during the middle of a season playing hockey and with zero notice. Let’s just say the summer was rough. There was a lot of changes that took place – some good, some bad, and some that happened, and you learn from and move on.
What came out of it, however, was something that I should have kept my eye on for the entire time things were in the blender – hockey. Sometimes, you don’t realize something that brings you joy, angst, pleasure, and pain is something that is the catalyst to keep things level in your life. Stepping away briefly from the ice to take care of things was honestly one of the hardest things I have done as of late and to be truthful, one that I shouldn’t have done. Not more than a week or two after I stepped away, I realized how important it was to be integral in my life. Maybe that’s why the #hockeylife hashtag has some truth to it.
Now that things are slowly settling down, it is with a deep heart that we lost one of the biggest and most beloved fans of the Predators Loyal Legion. Sadly, Benjamin Butzbach sadly passed away not too long ago and will forever be remembered as a member of the Predators family. Though I didn’t know him all that well, I was happy to provide a laptop and software at a very minimal cost to his non-profit organization Firehouse Hockey to help ensure he was successful in getting it started. His legendary belly will rule Smashville for eternity and it is sad to see him go so soon.
While that was a lot to stomach, in my personal sphere, I had to make a sacrifice for the team I played on. Since I knew that things were going to be very busy in the fall, I felt it was the right decision to sacrifice my spot on the roster to let someone else play. Doing this wouldn’t guarantee me a spot on a team but with a couple of conversations and convincing, I was able to become a sub on another team within the D-League.
As of the time of this writing, I haven’t played a game just yet but hopefully, this coming Sunday (November 12th, 2017) will be my first time on the ice in almost 2 months. It will be fun as it is a night owl game starting at 11:15pm local time. Heh, at least I will get a good night’s rest for work the next day, haha. To add to that, I am getting back to scorekeeping at the good ‘ol Ford Ice Center. It is more than a job – it’s a way I can build friendships and get to know other players in the league. Not only that, it gets me out of the house too. Woo!
Now that the past and present have been summarized in about as best of a passage as I can deliver on short notice, the future is certainly bright as well. Not only for the organization (which nearly went all the way and truly showed the world why it is the loudest fan base in all professional sports) but for me as well. While I may not be on the ice week in and out depending on the roster, no worries. Thanks to some friends and trying to get back in the groove, I’m going to do my best to do some more conditioning work (e.g. puck handling, skating, passing, and shooting) so that I am ready for the ultimate feud between the team I’m on and the team I used to play for. Watch out for that fun in the second half of December.
The potential for glorious hockey in Smashville and beyond continues to go to new heights. With the addition of Las Vegas in the fold, things can only get better for the league and the sport at large. It will be interesting to see where #theride takes us as things shape over the next few months. Are you ready? I sure am!
Hockey University – Sophomore Orientation
Well, before I get to the end of the article, what better way to start out the sophomore season than a really good lesson on passing. One of the biggest struggles players have early on (myself included) is passing to a player when you’re going up ice to get set up offensively. A lot of players attempt to do a cross-ice pass. While these may be easy to do when you’re more skilled, it is a recipe for a steal and dash for the opposing team. Cross-ice passing increases the chance that the puck can be grabbed from an opposing player.
Rather, when learning the sport, it is recommended to use the boards. Whether it is a bounce or two or just lining up the puck to go against to the point that another player can grab it and go, it is a much safer bet to get offensively set up. The key is to try to get it up ice far enough that the chase is on and you beat forwards on that side of the ice on the opposing team. This is one thing that I’ll try to work on as the new team I’m on has players that are very skillful and ones that are new to myself.
Well, I know it has been a hot minute since I wrote, and article and all good things have to take a departure towards the exit. With Pittsburgh coming into town and the naysayers from up north commenting where Lord Stanley is, he’s due to come back down to Nashville for an encore come the middle of next year. While we may have hot chicken, we have the best general manager in the league and am ready to go all the way again. Though the magic of last season wore off, it is not to say that hockey fever hasn’t died down just yet here. It’s just getting started.