CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Last week we told you about the Clarkson Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams getting back on the ice. Now we take a look at the St. Lawrence Men’s Hockey Team who have been back on the ice for a couple of weeks preparing for a 2020-21 hockey season they hope can get underway before the start of the new year.
This week marked the first week coach Brent Brekke had a full team on the ice to skate as the St. Lawrence Saints entered Phase 2 as they prepare for the 2020-21 season.
In Phase 1 of returning to practice, the Saints were limited as to the number of players that could be on the ice and were split into small groups. It’s something Brekke says was a benefit for his team.
“The small groups have been nice just because there’s just a lot more reps for players individually and so you do a lot more teaching with each individual as opposed to the entire team. So it’s more skill development right now rather than team systems and things like that so that’s been our focus," said Brekke.
With 9 incoming freshman on this years roster, Brekke says having the chance to work in smaller groups with the younger players has been a benefit not only for him and his staff, but for the players as well.
“I think it’s a great opportunity. You know, you see things when you go through the recruiting process obviously that you like about players. But when you start to work with them day in day out you get to see the nuances of things that you maybe didn’t even recognize as much that could be strengths or things they need to continue to work on. So I think it’s a real valuable time that we have, and again, it’s a longer period before we play that really allows for that individual attention and getting to know kids on kind of a deeper level not just with hockey but also from a personal level," said Brekke.
Brekke says a large portion of the team spent their first 6 weeks back at school not being able to do anything hockey related, having to quarantine for 2 weeks and then not being able to practice or work out in the weight room in a structured setting for another month after that.
Now the goal of the coaches is to ease the players back into a normal routine and take things slow.
“We’re trying to go 100 miles an hour right now and stepping in. Like we’re a long ways from playing games and really getting the timing back and not be in such a rush to try to accomplish things and pay attention to more of the details. And really there’s a process in place to get ourselves where we need to be. You know, we’re not gonna be a championship caliber team in one week and that’s something the guys have to understand, that sometimes less is more and when you’re going at 80% you might be a little bit more effective as to try to go out 100% as fast as you can," said Brekke.
While there is no schedule set just yet for the Saints, Brekke is hopeful that the Saints can get some non-conference games played in November and/or December before opening their ECAC schedule in January.
“We’re hopeful for that, but again, that’s my personal hope. And I think all the coaches feel the same but there’s been no decisions made. I know there were some things that were leaked in social media stating that there were schedules decided which is not the case. We are hopeful that we are gonna be able to get some games in before the first of the year and if that’s gonna happen it will be awesome. If it doesn’t, then so be it. Then that’s what we deal with and we look at something after January 1," said Brekke.