Hey readers! I hope you all read my last column about my exciting week at the Digit Murphy Ice Hockey Camp for girls in Chicago. Now, I am going to tell you a little bit about my third week here in the United States.
If the girls I played with at Digit were a challenge, at the North American Hockey Academy (Naha) in Stowe, in the state of Vermont, there were 33 female goalies. I'd never seen that many goalies - let alone girl goalies.
The Naha camp has by far been the hardest training camp I have ever attended. It works your body, both physically and mentally. There are two ice- and two dry-land sessions each day, with each one focusing on a different aspect of the goalie's game. The dry-land session in the morning has different running and jumping drills and exercises to loosen and warm up the body before hitting the ice. We did not use any pucks in the morning ice sessions, so the purpose of every exercise was to improve our skating skills.
After lunch, things took a slightly easier turn, with dry-land sessions to work on specific muscles. Then we headed back onto the ice for the final session of the day to work on the same movements as the morning session, but with pucks. This way, we were able to put into practice the skills we had learned in the morning.
Meanwhile, "Death Tuesday" is exactly what it sounds like. The goalies skate from boards to boards for half an hour straight before heading off to do even more strenuous routines. It was definitely one of the most difficult days of my life.
The goalies came from all over the US, and ranged widely in age, playing styles and skills. I was fortunate enough to meet three girls around my age who are all attending boarding schools next year in the US. From Vermont, my father and I took a long, leisurely drive through beautiful countryside to Massachusetts, where I will be spending two weeks under Joe Burtagna, a former goalie of the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins, and of US Olympic fame.