Summer Hockey: Pink Ladies

This summer I’m playing in two leagues – one is at the NESC (where we play about 80% of our games in the regular season) and one is in Concord (where we practice during the regular season).

The Concord league starts in a couple of weeks and I’m very excited about it. Hockey, beer, and lots of really nice women. The teams are “balanced” according to some method – which means (I think) that there are a variety of levels of players, and each team has the same sort of variety.

The NESC league, on the other hand, has a variety of levels of TEAMS on it. And my team – the Pink Ladies – we are the true cellar dwellers of this league. But damn, even though we get the living snot pummeled out of us each Tuesday night, it’s FUN. Our teams has mostly D-level players, with two or three C-level players. Most of the rest of the teams are solid C and B level teams. Which means that as a defender, I am getting a lot of action in the defensive zone.

Tonight’s game was pretty middle of the road. I think we ended up losing about 0-8. They were simply better than we were, but rather than get frustrated, most everyone on the team just tries to skate harder, play smarter, and do things less stupidly each time we’re out there. The first game was something in the teens to zero. Second week was 0-5 or so, and last week was another 0-8 or 9. No, we’re not big shooters, nor can we simply skate around them in order to try to get shots off.

Some things I’m noticing even more about my own playing so far:

  • Less gliding to the puck (it’s amazing how much faster I can be when I know someone’s breathing down my neck and I’m tired and just want to be able to get the puck out of the zone so we can change lines…)
  • I need to take a better look around when I get the puck down low and pass to someone who is open. Apparently either I telegraph where I’m going to pass the puck or I don’t look in the first place, because I can’t seem to get the puck out of the zone. Panic hits when I get the puck sometimes – and I hate that – because I want to get the puck and get good passes out of the zone. This will be something I’ll work on this summer.
  • Playing tough is fun. During the regular season, when we’re playing teams at our level, people don’t play too physically. When they do, there’s a lot of “oh my god they’re so physical [chippy, mean, adjective of disgust] and grrrrr!” When we’re playing up a level (or two) there is simply more contact and it’s not a chippy/mean thing. It just IS. Getting down low in the defensive zone and really banging the wings and center on the opposite team up is fun.

Tonight’s game was a good one overall. Julia subbed for us tonight – it was the first time she’d been on skates in a couple of years – and right as she’d hit her stride, her skate BROKE. So sad! I really wanted to switch up defensive partners so we could play together in the second half. Oh – and I also drew a penalty! Who knew? I guess the other girl hooked me. All I know is that I was on the boards trying to dig the puck out, I felt someone behind and under me, and I held on to her head for dear life so I wouldn’t crash too hard into the boards. Everyone else told me it looked like I was doing ballet out there. Hee hee hee…

Other hockey things I’m doing this summer include both these leagues (Sunday and Tuesday night games), a power-skating clinic, and HOCKEY CAMP at Dartmouth! I seriously cannot wait for either the clinic or camp – if all goes as I think it will, both are really going to help me.

And lest I forget, the final hockey thing I’m doing this summer? The June of 1000 Shots Challenge with the Black Ice. We’re all trying to take 1000 shots in the month of June – which is 250 shots a week – which is 35 shots a day (assuming 7 days of shooting a week) or 42 shots at day (assuming 6 days of shooting and one of rest a week). I’m going to have to miss a few days for travel, but regardless, I’m going to make this. Besides, the losers all have to buy the winner a microbrew 6-pack. That’s a challenge I want to win!

4 thoughts to “Summer Hockey: Pink Ladies”

  1. one benefit to playing teams much better than you is that you end up playing better (if you can get around the frustration)!

    I took a couple of power skating classes and they were helpful (though I still feel like I can’t skate well at all!). 🙂

    How does this “1000 shots challenge” work? Shooting off-ice counts?

  2. You do learn a lot playing up.

    I find my passes picked off quite a bit by the higher skilled players & for the same reasons you mentioned PLUS I need to pass harder…the soft, slow passes get picked off more easily. I need to pass just a tad sooner too.

    I notice more contact as well, but it is more of the sheilding or riding the player type of contact rather than the totally spastic head on crashes that happen in D level where too many of us aren’t very good skaters.

    I wonder if playing up where the teams aren’t evenly matched are as good a learning experience for the forwards…do they get much action?

  3. I’d rather my pink team be called Pink Ladies rather than Pink Floyd! That doesn’t even make any sense and as much as I love the band (more so as a teen), it’s so depressing!

    One thing I’ve noticed about my pink team, is that they know exactly who they’re going to pass to, and the receiver is also expecting the puck. So don’t blame yourself. Then again, although my spring league is a mixer, in which the teams consist of all different-level players, some of the teams just have more of the better players than others. Part of the reason Pink passes well is because quite a few of them play together on different teams during the regular season.

    On the green team, I noticed that some of the players, as soon as the puck even touches their blade, they just whack it away to either no one in particular, against the boards (which does help get it out of our zone), or worse, to the other team! And even though we have one of the top players in the league (who coaches our intermediate squad and plays on our advanced squad during the regular season), the passes aren’t caught nearly as successfully. Though we have a few people who normally play together, this team truly is a mix, in terms of regular season players. If that makes sense.

    When I thought I’d go back to skating up this past year, Brian and I used to pass a floor hockey ball back and forth outside. Maybe this is something you and Amy can work on as well.

    Oh, yeah — and don’t forget to bend your knees and lean forward when skating, which rollerbladers don’t do. Try to make your legs move straight back and forth instead of kicking them off to the side when you push off. The Stamm class, I hear, is a big help, and so is going to public skate as often as you can.

    Unfortunately, even though I think I’m a better goalie than forward now, I still skate like a forward because I’ve skated that way for so long! Now, how ’bout passing some goalie tips my way? 😛

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.