Monday, December 31, 2007

AMHL Championship Week: On the Juice, Part Two

From Part I

December 20, 2007

Adam “Donut Meister Meister Donut” Berger watches me pour orange juice, an AMHL post-game staple (as are the donuts), from the gallon jug into a flimsy plastic cup. I spill the sticky stuff on the counter, and it drips onto the floor. Thursday’s donut meister, who’s also responsible for clean-up, shakes his head.

Berger has a mess on his hands.

And it’s not just the pool of pulp that I’ve presented him. Innuendo about another juice, the kind that has made AMHLers wonder how an athlete like Adam enhances his performance…


…Adam decided not to play on Wednesdays, so he didn’t witness the Rangers overcome a 4–1 deficit to beat the Canadiens, 7–6; he didn’t see Mick Bain (pictured above, third from right) net the game-winner, and he didn’t hear Habs’ superstar Billy Whynot say, “The saves Heather (Rangers’ goalie Heather Wright) were phenomenal.”

Nope, Berger wasn’t there because he was too busy resting from the rigors of Tuesday hockey. In addition to his AMHL games on Tuesdays and Thursdays and his Sunday morning pick-up sessions at Valley Sports Arena, Berger often plays on Tuesday nights. That’s when he hones, with help from hardcore hockey players from the Heartland of Hockey, his self-ascribed marginal skills. Several skaters, who’ve migrated from New Brunswick to Massachusetts, are happy to help Adam improve his game.

The tutoring from the Canadian crowd, coupled with the time Adam spends skating solo—before his AMHL brethren or Sunday skaters join him—have made all the difference this season.

Berger (far left, back row) didn’t score this morning—Mike DeLeo, Mike Hansen, Kevin Leverone, and Brion Bickerton provided the firepower—but Adam’s Avalanche upset the first-place Bruins on Rink One.

Back in the donut room, Berger watches me address the mess. I dab napkins on the puddles of juice. I think everything is clean, just like Berger’s system.
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