The off-season can feel like an eternity to any minor hockey player itching to get on the ice, but despite the four and a half months free of GTHL action, players within the League manage to stay busy away from the rink.
While the myth is that players need to be focused on hockey 12 months a year in order to be an elite talent, research shows that taking a break to try other sports is more beneficial than not.
“I don’t like when I am not playing hockey, but I think it is important to play different sports and take a break from the ice in the off-season,” said Ben Smeeton who will be playing with the Toronto Shamrocks Minor Midget “AA” team next season. “Baseball builds different skills and makes me a better athlete.”
Even at the “AAA” level, players say they enjoy a laid back approach to the GTHL off-season.
“In the off-season, I like spending time with friends that are on other GTHL teams, because come September it’s all business,” explained Jamie Drysdale of the Minor Midget “AAA” Toronto Marlboros. Drysdale also uses the time as an opportunity to prepare and improve on specific skills for the coming season.
And even though laying on a dock or picking up a baseball bat offers a nice change of pace, players admit they never quite stop missing certain aspects of the game. Here’s what GTHL players say they miss the most about hockey during the summer months:
“I miss drives to and from the arenas. It’s time to talk about hockey and life with my Dad.”
-Nathan Mann, Peewee “A” Toronto Royals
“I miss connecting and hanging out with my teammates and also working on my hockey skills on the ice.”
-Victoria Buren, Peewee “AA” Mississauga Blackhawks
“I miss seeing my teammates and coaches all the time. I also miss the fun we have in the dressing room.”
-Colin Brazel, Atom “AA” Mississauga Terriers