Posts Tagged ‘winning’

SuccessisbuiltFans always expect that their teams perform well – and ideally win every game – and fans have the absolute right to want success. There are expectations that teams and players need to meet, week in and week out. There are the expectations for the entire team from the fans and on an individual level, the expectations from the coaching staff.


Success is something that every player wants. For their team and for themselves. Otherwise, why play the game if you don’t want to succeed and not feel the elation of winning a game. Success is something that doesn’t magically happen on a game night. It is a long, drawn-out process throughout countless hours of work, sweat and pain. Success is built when there are no eyes on you. It happens at the gym, it happens on the roads, it happens on the bike. It even happens on the trainers table or with the physiotherapist. Success is built when you are on the ice with your team. It is built in bag skates, flow drills, set plays. It is built by countless and countless of repetitions of weights, drills, shots, jumps and miles pedalled on a bike.


Success is not something that is achieved overnight. Players can’t expect to be successful just by turning up to training and have the expectation that their effort on the ice will guarantee them success in the long run. The hockey season is a gruelling ride, with all its bumps and bruises and frustrations. What the fans see, is the culmination of all the work that has been taking place out of sight.


Success requires commitment. It requires hard work. It requires sacrifice. It requires discipline. It requires a goal, something that unifies a group of individuals to come together and work for that goal. It means leaving personal differences aside and playing for the logo on the front of your jersey and for the goal of becoming a champion.


The commitment fuels motivation and success, that success will player through a rock when it comes to crunch time. But all this underpinned by the work that each player does on and off the ice when the stands are empty and when no one is watching you.


The signs of success, are not seen on the ice in a 60 minute game. It is seen in the sweat dripping on to the gym floor and on to the ice.  

Remember the days when sayings like Winning and Tigerblood were the talk of the town? Yeah neither can I, or I can remember winning and it’s Twitter hash tag #Winning making the rounds. Oh how appropriate that hash tag would be right now.


I knew the team would be strong and would have a good chance at challenging teams, but to start the season in this fashion has been great. I think the win against Romford showed that the team has some real character and balls! In the lead up to the Finns winning the world championship there was a lot of talk in the press how the team had more balls and courage to do stuff and I think the win against Romford really showed that the team is capable of doing anything when we set our minds to it.


The game was tough, I’m not denying that and I give all credit to the Romford guys. They kept us honest for the whole 60 minutes and did not give up. I like games like that. I remember being on the bench in the third and keeping a watchful eye on the clock, thinking “Another 5 minutes and we’ve got this”. I was on the ice when the buzzer went and, well what can I say? It was pretty epic.

We’ve got another game coming up this weekend and we need to work hard in training, as there were still a few things that left something to be desired for in the Romford game. The passion is definitely there, but we just need to make sure the passion shows from the word go and we don’t turn up flat.


Looking forward to it already.

Well the wait is finally over. The puck has dropped and the season is under way. I think I’ve been looking forward to this ever since the doctors cleared me to play after the concussion. The thought of not being able to play really re-ignited my love for the game again and definitely made me work hard during the summer.

As most of the hockey world knows, this off season has been really dark for the hockey community. With the deaths of Wade Belak, Rick Rypien and Derek Boogard over the summer and of course the devastating loss of the entire Yaroslav Lokomotiv team. It wasn’t an easy wake up this morning, after receiving a news alert to say that the surviving player Alex Galimov had passed away due to the injuries he sustained in the crash. I had held out hope that Galimov would pull through, despite the grave injuries he received. Never the less he put up one hell of a fight.

No matter what level you play this game at, losses like the ones mentioned above are terrible. Even if we don’t know the players on a personal level, we’ve all watched them play and admired their skills they’ve displayed on the ice and the moments of jubilation they have provided to the fans of the game. I don’t even want to begin to imagine what the players’ families and friends are going through, but looking at the pictures and videos from the memorial services around the globe, the loss is visibly heart breaking.I’ve read stories that have reduced me to tears and seen fans remember the players in a way that has brought a smile to my face, not because the stories were funny, but because they were so touching and you could tell how much the game and the guys meant to people all around the world.

As we started our season, we respected those who lost their lives and remembered their families in the Yaroslav plane crash and the 9/11 disaster by a minutes silence. Personally I was touched by the rink falling totally silent for a minute as we paid our respects to the lives lost. To me, it doesn’t matter what level of the game we play the game, we are all part of the same hockey community and regardless of skills or ability, the reasons why we play the game are much the same.

In closing, my thoughts go out to the victims’ families and friends at this difficult time.

Our first game was something that we wanted to skate away with a W under our belts and that we did. We played an amazing first period in the game took command early on. We were hungry to win this game since it was our first game of the year and given that our last season’s games ended in us losing both of them.


There are lots of positives we can all take away from the game, though we did take our foot off the gas in the third. Hockey is a 60 minute game (or 65 if you’re lucky enough to play overtimes) so the work ethic must be there throughout the game. But after all it was the first game of the year. Yet we can’t use that as an excuse as teams we will be facing from now on will have games under their belts and will probably get the wind of our success. I’m not taking anything away from the team, but we have to work hard moving forwards. The win was awesome no bones about it!


Personally I enjoyed playing, up until midway through the second when my skates started chewing my feet to bits. As I write I’ve got blisters on both my feet and they feel puffy. The skates have been on their way out. Looking at prices for new skates, they cost more than our fridge freezer! Seriously!!! For the money some of these skates retail at I’m hoping they cook me my breakfast and serve it in my bed.


There’s some exciting stuff coming up on this blog so keep your eyes peeled. I’m looking to do some video blogging, which will probably scare off the readers as they’ll have to look at my ugly mug.

I have, in the past few weeks, written a good few season wrap up posts, but have been equally displeased with all of them, hence why none of them have been published. Few of them said nothing and were absolute drivel and few turned into a massive thank you post. So here goes another crack at it. As the season wrapped up, I had a mixed set of feelings. On one hand I was happy that the season was over and I could give the body (specially the head) the rest it direly needed, but on the other hand it was a sad occasion. Not only because the season had wrapped up, but as one of the writers, David Carr, for Pro Hockey News said: It is the end of a chapter. As I emptied my locker and looked around the room, I realised that it was the last time that the group of guys from 2010-2011 would be together (apart from the end of season party).


Personally the season was a roller coaster ride and personally I’m a bit disappointed with the way I produced, specially in light of the statistics. I had higher expectations for myself and scoring five goals wasn’t something that I had in mind. I think I had chances to score more than that, but just couldn’t get the job done. The frustration really boiled over on the Isle of Wight where my best chance beat the goalie but came off the far post. My personal highlight has to be the tying goal that I scored against Basingstoke with 2.7 seconds remaining in the third.


Despite the results, I think the two games we played against Basingstoke this year were the best hockey we played as a team. Even if we lost the home game 6-1 the compete level was there from the start. Then of course there was the home win against Peterborough which was another good showing, but the league took that from us. Even if we finished bottom of the league, each and every guy can be proud of themselves and the way we developed. Looking at what we started with and the finished product, there was a HUGE improvement.


But you know what, despite the results, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Despite my age, I think I came through in leaps and bounds as a player this year and it was good to play this level of hockey once more and it showed me that I still have several years left in me. (Providing I can keep this wreck of a body together). The season reminded me how much hard work is required at this level and I can only thank our coach for instilling a hard work ethic in the team from early on. I said at the start of the year that I liked his style and I stand by that, despite the amount of crawling or bag skating we did.


I’m grateful for the opportunity to have played for the team and I could go on thanking numerous people for making it possible, but I’d like to think that they are aware of my gratitude.


As I’m gearing up for a summer without any hockey to be played, I’m not going to lounge around on the couch and barbeque to the excess. I’ve got 6-12 weeks of physio to rehab my hip and a lot of healing still to do on the head department it would seem. Where things are on the up after the concussion, I still suffer from intermittent headaches and I have trouble concentrating. So needless to say I’m taking a bit of time off the ice for a month or so, though I’ve started off ice training already. In hindsight, I should’ve sat out the remaining games of the season, due to the concussion but me being me, I had to play and had to prove something to myself (what I’m not exactly sure of), but if you’re gonna be dumb and all that…


The end of season party was a good way to wrap up the year. Though the aftermath is staggering. There were 40 empty bottles of beer and whatnot in our hotel room the day after and I felt like I had been ran over by a train. Still though, many a good laughs were had and it was awesome to see some of the guys get their trophies and they were thoroughly deserved.


So what now for the blog? Well you might read ramblings of gym training and updates on how the summer has gone, you know, the real sort of school girl diary type stuff. Not really, but we’ll see. It might be a bit quiet on that front as I think of new content and hopefully make it a bit more visual. There’s still a lot going on in the hockey world. Stanley Cup play offs, World Championships, my wife’s games and I’m sure I’ll be watching my old team, The Cougars a few times over the summer as well.


Same again next year?

I hate losing. I think it’s apparent from my psyche and the way I react to a defeat, especially if we lose in a way that is humiliating or where we did not put up a fight. People who I’ve played with, or coached in the past know that I live and breathe the game and I can’t stand lacklustre attitudes, or if some one is playing like they’re in gumdrop land. Yes I do throw, what you may call, tantrums but I do it only because I care and because I want to play with intensity and show the fire I’ve got towards the game every time I’m on the ice.

So with that prologue in mind, we lost quite badly and embarrassingly at the weekend. In what seemed like a game we could win with ease, I feel lacked some core fundamentals, both in the way we executed and on a spiritual level as well. 

I think there are three core competences that each hockey player or a team needs.

  1. Confidence is key to everything. If you are not a confident player, chances are you are over thinking the game and plays. Every time you have to start thinking about plays or your responsibilities on the ice you will crumble and ruin the whole system you are playing. Not only that, but if you have no confidence, you are likely to lose board battles, lose loose pucks and your whole being just exudes fear and lack of belief.
  2. Sense of deserving: Players and teams who have a sense of deserving have a chance to win every night. They feel that they deserve to win, they deserve the puck. On an individual level, players feel like they deserve to score and will take the shots on net. They think with the mentality that ‘that is my puck, you are not going to get it away from me, until you dig it out of your net.’
  3. Pride: Without pride, what would you have? Or better yet, why would you turn up to training? If you don’t have pride in what you do and you don’t have the occasional explosion of anger, even if against your own team mate, you really should be looking to change your skates for something else. Pride means everything. Players should feel honoured to wear a jersey of their team. They should feel pride in the fact that they are able to compete in hockey, but most of all, they should be proud to be part of a family, their team.

 So whit those three things in mind, what did we present on Friday? I think lack of confidence. We hardly took any shots and to me, that has always been a sign of an unconfident team. I often ponder why people don’t shoot and play a straight forward game, but it is all down to confidence. When you have a clear lane for a shot and you choose to pass, it tells me and your team mates that you have no confidence in your own ability, you’re moving responsibility because you feel that you don’t deserve to score. That is, in essence what our whole team was. 17 players (with a few exceptions) who were unconfident, had no sense of deserving and little or no pride to display.

As I’m still trying to get over the fact that we had a horrible game and we lost, I have to acknowledge that it was only a pre-season friendly and we have time to weed out the problems we had. On a personal note, I need to speak to the coach as well and make sure he understands my point of view of the game and that we address the attitude problems that are evident with some of the players on the team.