Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Hockey Life: A new season

To say that Colin's 2012-13 season started with two games yesterday at the 2012 Labor Day Challenge wouldn't be entirely accurate. Sure, it was the first time that he skated as a member of the Brandon Jr. Bulls in a game. And, as far as we're concerned, his performance yesterday started to chip away at his season goals.

But, really, the season started a long time ago.

After learning that he wouldn't continue with last season's organization, Colin took it upon himself, with very little encouragement, to work on his game. He wanted to show that he belonged on a travel-team roster. To that end, this is what he did over the summer:

~ Took thousands of shots out on the back patio, adding a little zip to his wrist and snap shots while improving his accuracy. His slap shot and backhander? Well, they remain works in progress;

~ Skated miles at the rink inside Countryside mall, continuing our Wednesday afternoon tradition, while building up his wind and, on occasion, getting out of his comfort zone. A new schedule, though, has put these sessions on hiatus; and

~ Much to the delight of his Babop and parents, Colin showed some kids, and a few coaches, in New Hampshire that, yes, indeed, kids play hockey down here in Florida. One couldn't believe the state had  rinks.

As a sum, rather than individually, all added up to what we're hoping will be a successful season for his Peewee A squad. To that end, these are the three goals that he has set for himself:

~ Approach each team he plays against in the same manner, by going hard and not letting past disappointments dictate his level of effort. Sure, it would be easy to understand if he had a little extra motivation for certain teams -- not just one -- but our way of thinking is why not go all out every game. Granted, that's easier said than done;

~ Continue being a pest. That's what got him onto his first travel team. So, why stop now? Dogging  opponents makes them work even harder, much more than they normally would want to do. It comes with benefits, too. Disrupting a play creates scoring chances, not just for himself, but his teammates as well. Also, a frustrated player, tired of an aggressive forecheck, is likely to take a penalty; and

~ Improving his offensive skills. Not to take anything away from his defense-first approach, but he wants to build upon last season's under-represented results. If he succeeds in reaching his first two goals, he should have plenty of opportunities to do this. One specific area he's concentrating on will be logging far more assists than goals, a sure sign of being a team-first player.

After Saturday's two games, which the Jr. Bulls split, he's still in the "show-me" mode. Though he had some scoring chances in both games, some better than others, and drew a penalty (likely should have drawn a few more, too), it took him a while to get up to speed, game-wise. To me, that was a bit surprising.

Still, the season is just starting and, really, he is learning his way with a new team. In fact, he had a tournament game starting in a few minutes. As long as he makes an all-out effort, he'll do just fine.

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