Feb. 4, 2013
Army senior defenseman John Clark is authoring a blog this hockey season titled Clark’s Corner, continuing the long tradition of players offering thoughts and insights on the Black Knights.
A native of Baudette, Minn., Clark is a Management major and four-year contributor to the Black Knights. His blog will be updated throughout the season.
The life of an army hockey player is pretty structured. Away from the rink, there are deadlines, formations, meetings and briefings which keep us on a pretty tight schedule.
To an extent, this demanding schedule continues after we finish class and head up to the rink for practice as well.
Like any team, practice starts promptly at a certain time and there is an expected level of intensity and focus while we’re on the ice. But what do Army Hockey players do after practice is done? Well on Mondays and Wednesdays we have a workout in the gym right after our skate, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, many of the guys on the team aren’t so quick to get off the ice and head down the hill to start doing homework right away.
Once that final whistle ends practice and we finish our stretch at center ice, there is usually a 15 to 20 minute session of after-practice games that ensues before we call it a day.
Here is a short description of a few of our most popular after-practice games that we play when the work for the day (on the ice) is done, and there’s time to have a little fun.
Rebound- This is a classic after-practice game that can be found at almost every level of hockey after the coaches final whistle ends practice. A battle of players against goalie, Rebound includes up to 7 players circled around the net as one person shoots on the goalie from the slot area. The goalie hopes to steer the puck to the corner or do whatever is necessary to leave no rebound. The players, who can make one pass each time the goalie makes a save, attempt to score off the initial shot, or create a rebound for the others to score. The players continue to try to score until the goalie covers the puck or it hits the boards or goes behind the goal line. 1 point for the goalie if he saves it, 1 point for the players if they score. The race is to 11 points. Emotions run high in Rebound. If the players get on a scoring rally, the goalie usually gets upset and the game ends with the goalie leaving after one game, which means the game is done. If the goalie wins, they usually stick around and win 2 or 3 more games while the players bicker back and forth about who’s the weak link that keeps losing the games for them. Fault usually falls on rookies such as Michael St. Denis or Shane Hearn.
Golf – A game usually played once most of the team has gone to the locker room already, golf consists of 4-6 players (sometimes even coaches) who play 9 holes with the goal of finishing with the lowest score. Each dot on the ice is a tee-box and the net is the hole (center ice dot is the 9th hole). Each player attempts to put the puck in the net from varying distances around the course (rink). If the puck goes in on the ice, that’s par. Miss the net and you bogey (+1). In the air is a birdie (-1). Hitting the post and going in is an eagle (-2). Hit the post and it goes out is a double bogey (+2). And if you can land it on top of the net, that’s a hole-in-one (-3).
We currently have a running total of each round played this season in our FedEx Cup standings. In the lead is Maurice Alvarez, followed by Assistant Coach Eric Lang, Josh Richards, Assistant Coach Trevor Large, myself, Willie Faust, Joe Kozlak, and finally Ryan Leets in last place. Andy Starczewski plays on the independent tour but makes a guest appearance on occasion. Despite Leets’ last place position in the standings, he currently has one of the most memorable shots of the year, knocking in a hole-in-one on the 9th hole just last week. After the improbable shot, Leets commented “Some people would call it luck. I like to call it… well, luck I guess”
Orange- Lemon – The grand-daddy of them all. Played only once a week the day before a game, or a travel day for away games, Orange-Lemon is the true test to see who is the best and who is the worst. Each is rewarded accordingly for what they have earned. In straight shootout fashion, one by one the entire team in numerical order tries their hand at a breakaway. If you score, you stay in the “orange” line and battle with the others that scored for who gets the Orange. Once you miss, you’re done … maybe next week. If you miss, you go to the Lemon line and continue to try and score on a breakaway.
Once you score in the lemon line, you’re safe…until next week. If you’re the last one to not score, the lemon is yours. There is only one rule in Orange-Lemon, do not go out of order. Violation of this rule automatically results in the end of the game and the offender getting the lemon.
Besides having to eat an actual lemon after the game is complete, the player also must wear a very ugly yellow helmet with various stickers throughout the next week of practice.
The Orange winner gets an orange after the game and wears the orange practice socks for the next week until the next game. Orange-Lemon is the most sacred of them all, but as with any game… beware of the goalie mafia.
I apologize for the long hiatus between blogs, the next one is already in the works and will be out shortly. As always, the Army Hockey Family appreciates all of your support! Again, if you have any questions or requests please feel free to hit me up at @johnclark5 on twitter. Until next time…
Keep your stick on the ice,