The long year of hockey is over. Your body is beat down and you mentally need a bit of time to step outside the rink and see what life has to offer. Life and summer time as a pro have changed drastically over the years. Gone are the days where you can do what ever you want for 3 months and pick up your shape and skill form at training camp in September. So just what does a pro player do during the summer break?
Many hockey players play throughout the year with minor nagging injuries. Pulled tendons and bruises are manageable to play through but need the greatest healer of all: TIME to allow a player to play at 100%. Many players go through a few weeks of no workouts but extensive rehab to allow their bodies to function properly for the upcoming seasons.
Players must also get completely away from the game and competitive structure for their mental state. The game can be pretty taxing on the brain when you have to be 'sharp' 80+ in an intense format.
Many pro hockey players spend days supporting their charities. During the year you can make small appearances in between games, but it is the summer when a player can get out their and put good face time with various charities. Golf Tournaments are the biggest time consumers. Some players, such as Jason Spezza, have even gone on to hosting their own.
Friends & Family
Pretty popular on the agenda, most players will take a vacation with their significant other and kids. Pro players do not work typical weekday 9-5 work hours, so spending some quality uninterrupted time is pretty important. Doing activities without complying to team rules and not having to watch the clock is refreshing.
Summer gets pretty busy once friends and family start to get into the mix. Everybody wants to have lunch,dinner or drinks and here the stories of life as a pro athlete. In turn you want to finally catch up on their lives without it having to be through telephone, Email or Skype. All players love to have a few laughs with those that knew them before they made it.
As May & June roll around many players take this extra time to focus on some of the weaker points in their game. For some it is skating, others it is flexibility. It is becoming ever more important for the pro hockey to be well rounded and continually improve. Many hire a special coach to help their game, much in the same way you would hire a private tutor for math in grade school.
June, July and August are the months for players to hit the gym and dry land to become the fittest player they can be to have a successful year. These months are the building blocks that allow a player to start right and constantly move forward as training camp begins. From lifting weights, to cycling, to interval training, to yoga, to resistance training players pretty much do it all to allow themselves to take repetitive hard 30 second shifts with body contact.
As the weeks move on players get on the ice more to allow their skills to be in top shape as Training Camp day comes up. They start at about Twice a week for May and June, to Three times a week in July, to four-five times a week in August. There is too much at stake to not be ready when the puck drops in September.
Summer is also the time for players to get their lives organized once again. Getting a new contract, school work, finance, taxes, house work, medical (teeth) are all things that get put aside during the hectic travel of a pro hockey season. The off season is the time that a pro hockey gets his life organized so he doesn't have to worry about anything except playing games throughout the winter.
Yep, many players have found their way to the links as an off season activity. This happens for a couple reasons. Firstly, players love getting outside as they are usually bottled up all winter in hockey rinks and cold weather. Secondly, the golf swing is a relatable skill for a hockey player, which in turn allows them to pick up the game quite easily. This in turn drives the competitive juices and keeps them coming back.
Yep, is is nice to be a pro player and have three months off. They tend to fly bye fast, and before you know it you are back in the saddle come September for another long grueling hockey season.