Posts Tagged ‘NIHL’


The air cool and cold. Should be used to it this time of year. Saturdays on the road, couple of hours in the car, prepping your mind to what lays ahead. The 60 minutes, broken into fragments of 45 seconds of explosiveness where everything you have in your body, your legs, is revved up to compete with five others who share a sheet of ice with you, fighting along with you are a group of guys that have come together for the same cause, a cause that has been drilled into our psyche for years upon years.

 

Saturdays, on the road, couple of hours in a car. There might not be fragments of 45 seconds where you explode on the ice against five other players, but with a group of guys, who have grown to be a second family. We get put through our paces in a section of drills that have been designed to improve a teams’ game.

 

Regardless of the scenario, the mentality is the same. We turn up and we leave the world as we know it, on a day-to-day basis, behind. Once we walk into the cool and cold embrace of an ice rink, we know what we are there to do, be it a game or training. It is an escape, an exhilarating ride that pushes your body to its limit.

 

What I love most about the whole hockey life style, which is something that I have grown to appreciate as I’ve become older, is the moment when you first step on to a fresh sheet of ice. It’s in that moment that you truly understand what a great game you are able to be part of, and the special group of people you share that ice with. There’s nothing quite that compares to it. Well I can think of a few things, but this is not that kind of blog.

 

The reason I started to ponder all this was after I spoke to a colleague of mine was whether I could live a life without the game. Where I eventually have to face up to the fact that this body wont hold out forever, I honestly could not see myself living a different life and I hope that I can pass the lifestyle on to the next generation of Virtanen’s when the time is right.

 

60 minutes. Funny, how we sometimes take days to prepare for 60 minutes. The preparation for those 45 second fragments, the concentration required for each shift, each different from the last. The bounces, the missed opportunities, the successes all come together for an entity that creates a wholly unique experience to the fan and the player.

 

Hockey, for the player or the fan, does not end once the final buzzer goes. Fans analyse the game, discuss the chances and the win or loss of their team, while the players gather round for the post game briefing from the coach which depends on the outcome and the way the 60 minutes unfolded.

 

The Saturday night lights finally go out, the players drive home, reliving those segments of 45 seconds and the overall 60 minutes. After all those moments, all you can do is count the minutes, hours, days to the next time you will be stepping onto the fresh sheet of ice and for the Saturday night lights to come on once more. 

 

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Let the ride begin

Posted: September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Well, first game of the 2012-2013 season is behind me now. I’ve got mixed feelings about it though as I think we were the favourites for the game. The 3-3 tie is an OK result. It’s points on the board, sure I think myself and the rest of the guys would’ve liked to come away with the W.

 

Tie games are tricky to take for some reason. You don’t have the good feeling you get from winning a game, but at the same time you don’t have the disappointment of losing. It’s somewhere in between the two. I wish that the league would play over times/penalty shots, but I guess it all comes down to ice allocation and so forth. It’s a real shame. But as said, it’s good to have the point on the board and now we know what we need to work on in training.

 

As for the opponents, I can’t fault them, not one bit. Coming into a game with 11 players and keeping at it for the full 60 minutes. The Invicta team was on you the whole time and I have to admire it. For some reason Invicta has been a difficult place to play at. The games have always been tight at their rink, either ending in a tie or in one goal loss. It’s difficult to put a finger on what makes it such a weird place to play at. The one thing I do have to say is that it was perhaps the loudest game that I have played in throughout my career. Felt like the fans were competing who could make the most noise, the Invicta or Pitbulls fans. Great atmosphere to play in.

 

The only thing we can do is work on the things we didn’t do too well on in training and get it going from there. The season is still relatively young and the results from the league have been delightfully varied. It’s good to be back on the ice and play games. The summer had felt really long and it’s good to get back to work.

 

I have always said that the season is a rollercoaster ride. Feels good to be riding it again.

 

One last thing. I’m still in the running for the SherWood Ambassador Programme through Nekoti Hockey. If you could vote for me, you can do so at: https://www.facebook.com/NekotiSherwoodAmbassadorProgramme/app_406909062688689

The voting is relatively straight forward:

1 click ‘like’ at the top of the page

2 scroll down to the finalist list (past the previous weeks’ winners and the small thumbnail pics)

3 click ‘vote’ on my (Janne Virtanen’s) profile. He should be 3rd


A few days ago, in case you missed it on the Bristol Pitbulls’ Facebook page, my return to was confirmed. I’m really happy to be back in Bristol and it should be an amazing season of hockey to come. The team is looking really good on the ice already. 

After the initial anxieties of where to play, I’m now looking forward to actually getting going and get to playing games. It took me a while to find my legs (and hands for that matter) when I got back on the ice and the first training session felt like I needed a GPS (Sat Nav) on the ice to know where I was going. 

I’ve also finished my off-season/pre season workouts at the gym, but as you all know, hockey just doesn’t stop there. I’ve rested for this week and starting next week I’m going to start hitting the gym again. I will actually look into doing a post of the Off-season in numbers, might be fun to read and fun for me to quantify the number of time I invested into this season. Though to be honest, it doesn’t matter really. I love putting in the work for hockey and getting a good sweat going as I know that it will help me immensely on the ice. 

 

I’m still in the running for the Sherwood hockey sponsorship as well in the competition so if you wouldn’t mind voting for me at: https://www.facebook.com/NekotiSherwoodAmbassadorProgramme/app_406909062688689.