Transition plan

With my two rollerhockey teams set for next season, I am now turning my attention to something different.  No longer am I wanting to join more teams, 2 roller and 1 ice team is enough (if my ice team comes back that is).  I am turning my attention to something different.  A new challenge so to speak, and its something I have wanted to do for a long time.

Becoming an ice hockey referee.

I am really going to make a push to ref more this season.  I have went through the courses, but I have to get recertified here in about a month.  Still, the end result will be me playing less hockey and reffing more.  I am not going to plan on moving away from goaltending entirely next season or even in the next year.  I do however want to start thinking about my long term plan.

The main reason I am doing this is because I don’t want to be a detriment to the team I play for.  I promised myself when I could no longer make a difference playing rec league hockey, I would step away from the game.  At age 37, I have nowhere to go but down now.  I have had so much success and good fortune playing all these years.

No excuses

Its been a few days since hockey playoffs ended.  In that time, I have thought about my performance in better detail.  I didn’t stink, but I wasn’t the best player out there which is a great change of pace over what I have been successful at.  I am convinced if I was a better player out there that things may have turned for me especially in those close finals games when we lost 5-4 and 6-4 with an empty netter at the end.

Average doesn’t cut it in the playoffs, so what was my problem when I played?  Maybe I played too lose in the first couple games, which caused me to not be as serious as I normally would.  It could have been that it just wasn’t my time.  After years of great success, maybe I was due for a human like performance instead of these great performances when I was just dominating.  It could have also been that I played a little distracted because I had family there.

I just feel that I should have played better, but there is no sense of beating myself up over it.  I make no excuses for my performance.  Its time to move and start thinking about next season which will be here in about a week and a half.  That is not long when you think about it.

I have my final ice hockey game of the summer and then I am going to have a break before the Fall/Winter/Spring season kicks in.  I am also comfortable with my roller teams as they are all set for next season.  I am pretty happy with the hand that I am dealt and I am confident things will be much better for me next season in ice and roller hockey.

I am just going to enjoy the break after playing ice hockey tomorrow.

An average Saturday

Usually when I talk about playing in playoffs, I tend to think that I raise my urgency level a couple notches.  Today was an exception, but it wasn’t all on my shoulders, not by a long shot.  In the end, what does fall on my shoulders is my ability in net, and today I played just average.

Marketlab placed 1st in the division and got dominated by Red Army by a 7-0 final.  After beating Red Army in the finals last season, we got a big wake up call by a team that was on a mission this season.  A mission to win a championship.  A mission that got derailed in the finals with a loss to the 2nd place Lightning house team with only 4 guys.  Talk about disappointment for us, but a massive disappointment for them.

Malys made it to the finals but lost 5-4 in the final game.  I once again played just average again, but I was strong in the morning when we beat the dragons 4-1.  Then I lost in the finals with the Aluminum Blizzard team by a 6-4 final with an empty netter at the end.  Once again, I played just average at best.

Just a few hours later, I am still a little disappointed with my efforts today.  I had high hopes for all my teams, but really just couldn’t summon enough to make that big difference like I have in the past.  A few years ago, I turned in a very poor performance in net in playoffs.  Sometimes you need that sobering experience to get you motivated to do better next season.  With Maly’s and Marketlab returning and they will be contending for a championship, I am pretty happy with the stage that is set for me next season.

Another thing to think about is that I can’t be a champion forever.  Maly’s has won 3 of the last 5 seasons.  Marketlab 4 of the last 5 now.  With those kinds of win streaks, I can only think just how fortunate things have been for me in net.  I know many goalies that would kill to have those kinds of opportunities and that much success.

This next season will be a time of change for me.  I will be looking to turn my fortunes around and win a championship next season.  More importantly, I want to make a big rebound in playoffs in about 3 months.  I am looking forward to the opportunities.

On the eve of another playoff day

I sit here still awake.  Still wondering how things are going to go tomorrow.  I am nervous as usual.  The butterflies seem to always get me right about now.  I suppose that is a good thing because I always seem to have good fortune in playoffs.

I have had so much success that I feel it is very selfish to ask for more.  How many times have I been in this situation and won my last game of the season on one or more teams?  Too many to count.  At the beginning of the year, I said if I captured my 25th championship, I would be happy.  It took me 2 seasons to acquire that and then one.

I am looking forward to tomorrow.  So much that its time for me to try to wind down and get some much needed sleep before the tournament begins tomorrow.  I hope my good fortune follows me into the rink tomorrow, just like it seems to have followed me around for the last 10 years.

Retiring my “good luck” stick

After years of playoff championships won with my Maltese graphite stick, I have finally retired it.  I took the tape off of it to give it some fresh tape.  When I did, I was greeted by a crack in the blade itself.  I just can’t trust this stick to win me anymore games.  It has run its course.  This is the 3rd ever stick I have retired.  I had two other sticks just out and out break on me and I trashed them.  Its just sad that as I look through countless playoff photos, here is this stick.  It felt really good in my hands and now, I will be looking at it down the road as a memento of championships won.

The toe of the blade was shot as well.

Another closeup of the bottom of the blade where a nice chunk is missing.  The crack goes up the middle of the paddle.

Another shot of how bad the toe looks.

I am going to miss this stick.  Lasted for many years.

Pushing myself

This week it has been all about hockey and working late on a few projects at work.  With the week drawing closer to the end, and playoffs on the horizon on Saturday, I am starting to feel drained.  I am pushing myself just a little too hard physically and mentally.  I am getting enough sleep, but it just feels like I am behind the 8-ball.

Yesterday I worked till 5, then played from 6-7, and then worked on a backup tape issue at work and a project until about 10:30.  By the time I looked at the clock, it was already time to get some sleep.  I was just spent.  Hockey was very exhausting physically.  That really concerns me with playoffs on Saturday.  I am going to have to play at least 3x more games, and it could be as many as 6 games before the end of the day.  I had better whip myself into shape and fast.

I think a lot of my problem is that I am overstretching myself just a tad.  I am now done with the after hours work for right now, and I have one more game tonight before playoffs on Saturday.  After my game tonight, win or lose, I am going to be taking it easy the next two evenings and getting a lot of rest.  I am going to need it.

More to come later.

One week to go

After missing all my hockey games last week, I have 3 this week to gear up for playoffs on Saturday. 

On the dark side of things, I am really missing playing ice hockey and this week I am going to miss a double header due to work.  I understand that IT work is all about keeping a flexible schedule and I am pleased to get the work done.  Still, its sad to miss playing in the games that I love the most.  Maybe it is for the best though because I have not done well in ice hockey this season because the league has been very tough and my confidence has not been the highest for the Kodiaks.  I am confident I will rebound and have a solid game next week and then in the Fall/Winter/Spring season.

On the positive side, I will have 3 games to get myself geared up for the playoff tournament on Saturday.  Maly’s and Marketlab will attempt to clinch 1st place with a win.  The Blizzard, a team I inherited 3/4 of the way through the season, will probably clinch 2nd.  All 3 of these teams have games with playoff seeding ramifications so all of them will be incredibly competitive but fun to play in.

It is said that the most successful and competitive players remember the losses more than the wins.  After I heard that, I really thought about the games I have played and I have to admit that its true.  I remember the losses first and the wins secondly.  Sure, I like to flash back to the glory days and the good wins that I have had.  Still, the thoughts of the ones that got away and the mistakes I have made are a little easier to remember.  This isn’t a bad thing necessarially, but I like to think positively.  I don’t like to let negativity creep into my thought process.

Everything always works out and for a reason.  You have to think positive even in the shadow of darkness.  I remember losing in the first playoff series I ever played in net.  Game tied 1-1 and with just under a minute to go in the game, I had a shot bank in off my skate from behind the net and score.  It was one of the goals that I was quite distraught over, but months later, I accomplished my first championship.  I grew from that experience, but I still remember that goal more than the championship I won with my first team.

This is going to be a great week.