Friday, October 19, 2007

CAN/AM Hockey, Part I: Live from New York

I posted this to the AMHL Glory site by accident last night, but it was live then.

The AMHL Photographer (my wife) and Mr. Hockey (my dad) and I are here in the Royal Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid for CAN/AM camp. An hour or two from now, they’ll watch me step onto the ice at USA Rink for my first session.

A recap of today’s activities thus far:

6:00 a.m.: My dad watched me take a few tentative test laps around Rink One at Concord Valley Sports. My left ankle is not in tip-top shape—counter-clockwise crossovers are going to be a problem.

Just before breakfast at McDonalds off the Mass Pike, my wife senses my preoccupation with the problematic phalange and pulls me aside for a pep talk: Pick yourself up pal.

9:00ish: Kenny Tarr calls to say we won this morning. Good job, lads!

11:10: On Route 73 East, the Olympic ski jumps spire into the pale blue sky. My wife asks if I’d climb to the top. “I’ll pass.”

“Should I get you some stones?” she says, pointing to left at the rocks jutting from the rushing river.

11:30: Myoflex. Heavy application at the urging of my father-turned-trainer.

12:00: Lunch at MacKenzie’s Restaurant in the hotel. My dad tells the waitress I’m here for hockey camp. “He’s a slow learner.” The waitress can’t stop laughing. “I don’t know if I’ll be with the Mites or the Squirts,” I reply.

2:00: Registration. I’m on Team Blue, along with about 30 other players. I meet a fellow defenseman who didn’t start playing until he was 40. He’s from Long Island, where I was born, so I introduce him to my dad, who hasn’t lost his New York accent even though he moved from New York more than 30 years ago.

2:45: Orientation: The coaches are cut-ups but immensely qualified for this job. One lives in Cleveland, so he made a crack about tonight’s baseball game. One other camper is from Massachusetts. Most of the rest are from New York, but there are a few Canadians. Ten women. At least one married couple.

The first player to introduce himself owns a wine and spirits shop and distributed rum samples. An IT manager, an EVP for a food distribution company, and two shrinks are here to play hockey, but they didn't bring any props with them. Nor did the few doctors or the nurse that are here to skate. That's okay with me as long as they can help me with my ankle should I need it.

Part II: Highs and Lows

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