NHL game day skates happen the morning of a game day. The home team goes in first, around 10am, an hour or so later, the visiting team gets out for some strides.It’s a practice, but not a practice. It’s a chance to spend 45 minutes working quick drills, doing some line rushes, and goof off with the guys. It’s when injured or extra roster players can spend some time with assistant coaches working on things and getting in a workout. It’s a time for players to share tips and insight with each other. It’s a chance to goof off.
Some friends and I took off to Nashville for a guys’ weekend and someone I know who used to work with the Vancouver Canucks pulled some strings to get us an invite to the Game Day Skate. It was just us, a few reporters, and a few other invited guests in the empty arena watching the team work through their drills.
Here’s a look at a Vancouver Canucks Game Day Skate:
There’s juggling of pucks, extra crazy stick handling drills, a chance to goof off and play keep away from each other. These guys are rink rats, always have been, and the pre game skate is just more chance to get on the ice and keep a routine before a game.
There was a friend of the Canucks’s digital media guy on the other side of the tunnel at the pre-game skate. She brought her kids and they got lots of attention from all the players as they chatted them up about Christmas and the game. They made sure the kids got high fives and pucks and pics.
To be honest, the players kind of ignored us. We were 4 middle aged guys in jerseys looking like total keeners. We didn’t so much as get a smile or nod from the players (young enough to be our own son in most cases).
Those were just cherries. We had a blast being in an empty rink watching some of the best in the world get ready for a game. It was fun to have an up close experience with a team that has a promising future.