Badgers happy to be back
Brock Badgers men’s hockey coach Marty Williamson had no idea how much his team missed the game.
The Badgers, who had been off the ice since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, reconvened about three weeks ago for off-ice training and weekly two-hour practices.
Williamson was shocked at the passion displayed by the players at their first practice.
“A lot of people talk about mental health. When we had our first skate, I went in to say hi and run an introductory kind of practice and the energy and happiness of them being back together and the new guys being there, I was just taken aback by it,” Williamson said.
Williamson then went home where his wife Deb quickly picked up on the vibe.
“I remember coming home and my wife said to me, ‘You’ve got quite a jump in your stride.’ I told her it was fantastic and sometimes we forget how much these guys like being on the ice.
“I think it’s a great thing we’re on the ice and just being together and building chemistry and having a look at some guys.”
Williamson said about 22 players have taken part with a handful of players from British Columbia and Manitoba still at home doing their studies remotely.
So far, Williamson hasn’t thrown too much at the players.
“We’re going through systems and introducing some the new guys to that and getting the conditioning up to speed and just enjoying ourselves out there,” he said. “We’ve got a long time before our season so it’s just baby steps now.
“We’re just feeling it out now until we find out more information.”
The pandemic has shut down all university sports through the end of 2020.
Williamson is still unclear what will happen in 2021 with talk of a tentative mid-to-late January start and a 14-game regular season followed by playoffs.
“I still don’t know where it’s going,” he said.
Williamson said the short-range plan is to increase the on-ice sessions to two a week shortly.
“We’re kind of bumping it up and then come November and December we’re hoping to get back every day on the ice.
“It’s more about the systems and getting to know each other right now.”
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