By Robert Laidlaw
It was rough and tumble, it was exciting, it was good quality sport – the Wayne Gretzky Ice Hockey Classic at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on June 24, which featured the third game of a five set series between the USA and Canada.
To those more familiar with the high marking and long goal kicking of Aussie Rules, or the fast bowling and big sixes of Cricket, Ice Hockey offered a different perspective to elite sport, with the two North American rivals going head-to-head – a couple of kilometres from South Australia's sporting Mecca, Adelaide Oval.
There were big crunching hits, slick skilful passing, electric goals, tight miserly defenders, speedy attacks and almost non-stop action – all while six players on each side and three referees cleverly manipulated all actions while skating on thin ice – thin because it was only temporary.
Most people, whether die-hard fans or virgin ice hockey onlookers, had chosen the side they favoured, with Canada appearing to have the edge in numbers over USA, although the noisier supporters seemed to be with the underdogs.
Canada had won game one in Melbourne's Rod Laver arena on June 17, 8-2, and then took the second contest the day after 6-5 in overtime at the Perth Arena, leaving USA a must win scenario to stay in the series.
Ice Hockey is unique in how the game is divided, as it isn't played in two halves like soccer, or four quarters as is Aussie Rules, but three 20 minute periods.
With shining blades and cascades of flashing ice, the game started at a hectic pace, with neither side gaining an early ascendancy, with the “puck” travelling at speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour, dancing from end to end depending on the players swishing shots.
Just on 11 minutes, Christian Hanson's pass to Daniel New saw the first goal of the game, with USA taking the 1-0 lead through to the final period, as both goal tenders reigned supreme – Ben Scrivens for Canada and Scott Darling for America.
Darling made way for Parker Milner as goalie in the third and final period, but USA did not miss a beat, as John Scott put the puck in the back of the net 88 seconds in, after receiving a nice pass from Ross McMullan, for a 2-0 lead.
Then Canada at least prevented a shut-out, when at the eight minute mark Steven Delisle and Chad Nehring combined to set up Brett Ponich for a goal.
The stadium went ballistic late in the game, when a tick after 16 minutes, Nehring got in the action again, with his pass to Tyler Gron resulting in a 2-2 score line, as the noise just about lifted the roof off the entertainment centre.
But in a mad scramble, Michael Budd put away Phil Lane's pass 30-odd seconds later for USA to regain the lead, and just a minute later, Joseph Harcharik and Tom Olczyk combined to restore the original two goal advantage – USA 4-2 winners.
Canada put the series to bed in Sydney the following night, with a shoot-out giving it a 4-3 victory, on a night where the “Great One”, Wayne Gretzky thrilled the crowd with a special appearance on the rink.
A fifth a final clash is due in Brisbane on July 2, to complete a wonderful ambassadorial series, which for the first time included Adelaide – hopefully a permanent location in future tours.
Canada 0 0 2 – 2 (Ponich, Gron)
USA 1 0 3 – 4 (New, Scott, Budd, Olczyk)
For all the action packed photos check out the NRSA gallery!
Training is hard work. To achieve goals, workloads need to be increased, while dedication, mental application and research all take time and can be laborious.
But who says you can't have some fun along the way?
Many people stick to tried and tested routines to achieve outcomes, but breaking the cycle can be just as important. Have some fun and refresh those batteries.
Breaking up components of training into “fun” bits can add some excitement and enjoyment to routines, while a bit of cross-training can actually help perspectives to avoid over-training.
The psychological aspects of finding enjoyment out of any task can reinvigorate and break down boundaries not previously thought achievable – while increasing the fun aspect.
Repetition in some activities is the best way to master skills, but by finding diversions to compliment those activities can also be beneficial.
Examples include doing two sets of eight with a short rest rather than one lot of 15 – reps, laps, lay-ups or whatever.
Build rewards for achievements – put $10 aside for a holiday every time a certain level is reached for example.
Find a similar levelled athlete and compete against each other in certain measurable outcomes, with a reward system for the winner.
There are a myriad of ways training can be fun, it's up to the individual to make adjustments
By Robert Laidlaw
Many people view the media in different ways, depending on their personal feelings regarding how a story is presented.
A good guide in how to deal with the media is in how a person or organisation would like their views presented, a bit like social media but with a bigger audience.
The media needs stories, sporting organisations and athletes need publicity, so treat the relationship with respect and it can be a useful tool.
It is important to recognise the deadlines media outlets have, to ensure fair coverage. There are numerous sporting and other organisations seeking support and exposure, so work with the media's needs as well.
Many times athletes, teams and groups work hard and achieve goals but do not receive media attention. Do not expect journalists to just appear out of nowhere to cover events, it's important to form relationships that include contacts to media outlets.
For successful growth in sporting organisations, the media plays an important part. Embrace it.
When contacted by a journalist regarding a story, make sure there is a clear understanding of what the aims are, and do not get side-tracked into giving opinions on subjects not related or confidential – it's okay to talk ‘off the record’ in trusted relationships.
By Robert Laidlaw
Hello NRSA Supporters,
Welcome to the NRSA website and to the commencement of a series of blogs that features articles written by members and coaches that will touch on a range of interesting topics related to sport and particularly sports development.
I am delighted to be associated with the launch of the NRSA website which provides valuable information for coaches and athletes, parents and officials about local sports achievements, coaching and development strategies, training opportunities and testimonials from athletes who have been associated with NRSA programs.
As general manager of STARplex I had the good fortune at a recent training day to listen to gold medal Para Olympian Katrina Webb challenge STARplex staff to be the very best person they can.
Katrina who has mild cerebral palsy shared her story of how she struggled through childhood and adolescence hiding any signs of her disability, unwilling to accept she was different.
While attending the AIS in Canberra as an elite netballer medical staff confirmed her cerebral palsy and Katrina was challenged to come to terms with her view of herself and the world around her.
Confirmation of her disability resulted in her being invited to consider training as a Para Olympic athlete with the possibility of representing Australia. Katrina faced a dilemma, to accept this invitation meant she had to accept her disability after many years of covering up.
We know the gold medal choice Katrina made but to do it she had to face who she was, accept herself and build on her strengths. She is a fantastic example of a person who is comfortable with themselves and who can delight in the abilities of people from all walks of life.
Katrina demonstrated how you can lift your own sense of wellbeing with a day by day determination to be the very best person you can. She gave some tips honed from her career as an elite athlete on how to build on our strengths by setting clear and specific goals, committing to a process to achieve those goals and of course celebrating our differences.
By Dale Martin