On moving up a level in hockey

In a few short words: it’s been an adjustment. I’m trying not to get down on myself because I know that I’ve only been doing this for a short time (playing hockey for ~3 years, playing hockey at the C level for ~2 months) but dear god it is kicking my ass.

One of my season’s goals is to have a decent +/- and so far it’s not going very well. It doesn’t help that as a team we’re not scoring much. But still, the minus part of that equation isn’t looking very good right now. Bless Julia, who has ended up being my defensive partner for most of our games thus far. She’s patient, decisive, and supportive. After one particularly tough goal last night we both came off the bench and I sat down pretty hard. She turned to me and told me that I was not allowed to get demoralized because I was having a really good game, no matter what the score said. I really appreciated that right then – it helped me get back onto the ice for the next several shifts and skate hard.

Some things I need to spend time working on this fall:

  • skating backward a lot faster
  • figuring out the transition from backward to forward when someone on the other team is coming at me fast, so that I don’t end up chasing but end up skating with/pushing them out
  • puck possession during the transition out of the zone
  • positioning when I’m in front of Renee so I don’t screen her
  • holding the blue line (which also involves things like quick lateral moves and solid puck-catching skills)

Our team is really great – we are finally at 13 skaters with the additions of KP (who Amy, Libby, and I played with on Raising Kane this summer, and who just happens to have a super-awesome other sporting identity as an incredible street hockey player) and Karen (who recently relocated to Boston from the NYC area). So that gives us: Renee in net, Kristine and Nancy as one defensive pairing, me and Julia as the other pair, Sejal, Laura, and Kristen at center, Libby, Amy, Niki, Tiffany, Stacey, and Karen as forwards (although Amy and Tiff have both played center a few times). Plus we’ve got our three coaches of Tim, Scott, and Brian. Like I said, shaping up. Now if we can just get a few good scoring games under our belts, and a couple of wins…

Off to practice in an hour… and to work on skating and puck possession.