The Princeton Tigers Men's Ice Hockey team hosted our Mercer Bulldogs for an exciting practice and a pizza party at Hobey Baker Arena on December 12. Tigers and Bulldogs worked one-on-one and in groups on skating skills and hockey fundamentals like passing and shooting. Some hockey drills, rarely seen in collegiate and professional hockey, included piggyback rides, seated (chair) hockey, and something that can only be described as 'spin-the-player'! The players, parents and families had a fantastic time!
At the helm of the Princeton Tigers is Head Coach Bob Prier, whose leadership extends well beyond the rink. Coach Prier considers himself fortunate to work with Tigers that are ready and willing to lend a hand or work with kids on or off the ice. He notes, "Division I Athletics are grueling, and coursework is equally demanding, so for these guys to make room in their schedule for extra community events...they amaze me every day."
We caught up with Coach Prier and some of his Tigers at the Bulldogs practice for a few questions:
How does this compare to last year's Bulldogs-Tigers practice?
Coach Prier: The biggest thing that I noticed is the improvement of the Bulldogs and their skating. There's a higher skill level - we're playing cross-ice games with them - and also a higher comfort level on the ice between our two teams. It's good to see lots of familiar faces from last year, and some new, smiling faces, too. We had a blast last year, and we're having a great time this year!
How's it going on the ice tonight?
Michael Zajac (Eagan, MN, Right Wing): This is my first year doing this, and I've seen some of the biggest smiles I've seen in my entire life! It's putting me in the Christmas spirit; the kids out here are having a blast, and we're having just as much fun as they are! We've all been very blessed, so to give back to the community is awesome.
What does an event like this mean to you and the Tigers team?
Eric Carlson (Ottawa, ON, CA, Left Wing): This is a good opportunity for us. We've all played hockey our entire lives. Everyone on the team got to go to events like this as a kid, and they meant the world to us. I got to skate with local junior teams and OHL [Ontario Hockey League] teams, and it meant so much to me that those guys would take time out of their day to teach me something like how pass a puck. We all got help growing up, and it's great to give back and teach some fundamentals. It helps to grow the game as well.
What's the personal impact?
Will Ford (Ann Arbor, MI, Left Wing): Last year, I skated with Tyler, and it was cool to see how much he's progressed over the year. After last year's practice, I stayed in touch with him and his dad. We emailed throughout the year, and they came to a few of our games - it's been great to get to know them, and to also know that I had at least 2 fans in the stands! Tonight, we played a game where we used 3 nets, each worth 1, 2, or 3 points. The goal was to get 20 points by the end of the practice. I was excited to see how well he did!
We're so grateful to the Princeton Tigers for a fantastic night! Let's keep cheering them on as their season progresses!
In fact, we'd love to show the Tigers some Bulldog team spirit! On Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 4:00pm, the Princeton Tigers will take on the Sacred Heart Pioneers. There's also a 15-minute "Skate with the Tigers" event after the game. Let us know if you can attend, and bring your skates!
Check out the entire Princeton Tigers Men's Ice Hockey 2012/2013 schedule here. Go Tigers!
Some Bulldog-Tiger practice highlights:
Don't forget about the First Annual ASHA Tournament in Lake Placid, New York, to be held April 5-7, 2013. Host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid's stunning Olympic sites include 3 indoor rinks, one outdoor rink, a museum, a ski jumping complex, a cross-country biathlon center and an Olympic sliding track. Lots to do for any winter sports enthusiast!
ASHA teams from around the country will compete at the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena - named after the head coach of the 1980 USA Olympic Men's Hockey Team, and the inspiration for the movie, Miracle on Ice.
The town itself is beautiful and walkable, with fantastic restaurants and shops for those taking a break from the hockey action.
The cost for this tournament could run between $400-$1000 per family, and includes 2 nights hotel, 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners, a team pizza party, a nighttime "mixer" for all tournament participants, and discounted or free entrance fees to the Olympic sites.
If you are interested, let us know. If we do not have enough players to field a team, individuals can still go and they will put your child onto a team for the weekend.
Justin and his dad, Coach Todd, have been Bulldogs for three years. Justin attends Mercer Elementary School, and when he's not on the ice, Justin participates in gymnastics and baseball - he's a year-round athlete! We got to know him a bit better:
What coaches do you practice with?
I practice with Coach Todd, Coach Wayne and Coach Jeff.
What do you want to accomplish with the Bulldogs this year?
I want to get better at skating and score lots of goals - that's the best part of hockey!
What's the best part about being a Bulldog?
Scoring goals and my snack afterward. Also, I get to skate with my dad, and we always get the best trophies!
Are you friends with other Bulldogs, or do you go to school with any of them?
Yes, Liam and Thomas.
The Learn to Skate program is all about building confidence and having fun! Many players at this end of the ice have little or no skating experience. We work with each new skater individually to gradually develop their skating skills. Often, the first challenge is to reduce the fear that comes with trying something new. We encourage each skater to challenge themselves but always in a safe and controlled environment. Many children who are new to the sport may want to support themselves by hanging onto the boards. I have found that most beginners are very capable of standing without holding onto anything, even from the first time they step on the ice. This is a great way to build confidence right from the start!
From there we teach them how to fall and get right back up. Some are surprised to find out that even falling can be fun! We then continue with the basics of skating: balance, body position, strokes, and stopping. We also incorporate some of the basics of hockey, such as how to hold the stick, how to give and receive a pass or how to carry the puck while you're skating. Having one instructor per player allows everyone to progress at their own pace. Our goal in the Learn to Skate section is to teach and practice the basic skills to the point where they are ready and eager to "graduate" to the next level. When that happens, we have done our job!
Click to view this email in a browser
If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: Unsubscribe
Mercer Special Hockey
67 Rocky Brook Road
Cranbury, New Jersey 08512
Read the VerticalResponse marketing policy.