David Hutchison | Jan 22, 2019 | 0
Eric Comrie IIHF World Championship Journal #5
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Eric Comrie is currently overseas at the 2017 IIHF World Championship. He has kindly agreed to share his experience while he is in France, taking part in his first non-junior international competition for Team Canada. We hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look from one of the top young goalies in the game today!
Yesterday we had a game against France, and it was a typical game day: woke up, went to the rink and had a little pre-game skate, just a short one again in this tournament setting. It was an optional skate so I got to go out there and get a little extra work in, get a sweat on and try to stay sharp with some shots, nothing too crazy. Calvin Pickard and Chad Johnson, who was starting against France, were both on the ice so I made sure I let them get enough to feel ready first. Then it as back to hotel before going back to the hotel for the game.
Since it was a slower day I thought I’d walk you through my pre-game routine if I was playing.
For starters, I am always the early guy. For a 7 p.m. game I usually leave my house in Winnipeg at 3:45 p.m. and get to the rink about three hours before the game, and the work starts for me as soon as I get to the rink. At 4 p.m. I get right into my routine, get dressed and go up into the stands, always sitting in the same seat and just look at the ice a little bit, focus on breathing, take some deep breaths, relax my body and get into game mode. At that moment, I tell myself whatever is going on in my life, it’s left at home now and it’s time to focus on hockey.
Then I take a couple more breaths, relax myself and get into my pre-game visualization. I run through about 10 minutes of situations of stuff I like to see, a lot of common situations in a game, maybe if a team does certain plays I will visualize that to make sure I see them. I really see myself controlling pucks, seeing the puck watching it and tracking it right in, staying down on pucks and tracking them, that my positioning is good, my reads are good, my puckhandling is good, just visualize every single aspect of my game and get into the zone.
From there I go down and do a couple eye exercises to get my eyes warmed up, then work with a tennis ball, do a little juggling off the wall, single-arm catches, double-arm catches, make sure my hands are going before the game . I do that for 20 minutes, which is a bit longer than some guys but it helps me settle in and keeps my mind from thinking too much about the game, just keeps me in the moment, seeing the ball, and gets my hands going and gets me confident.
Then we have a team meeting or a PK meeting so I will watch that, see what is going on, study it, make sure I know what the team we are playing is trying to do, who their good players are, what I’m going to see in the game. After that I do my off-ice dynamic warm up to make sure my body gets loose. I do a lot of quick feet stuff to get my feet going, get my brain going.
After that I know I am ready for the game. I sit down and get dressed and do a lot of breathing exercises for that time, just trying to make sure I am staying in the zone, in the moment, a lot of deep, deep breathing, a lot of box breathing – in 5, hold 5, out 5, hold 5. I find that is a good way of calming myself down.
As soon as I do all that stuff and hop on the ice for warm up I know I am ready – it doesn’t matter how anything else goes, I have controlled what I can control and that’s the big thing for me. Going out there prepared the way I want to, knowing I have done everything I can to be ready, I can’t control what bounce I might get, I can’t control if there will be screens, but I have controlled what I can do to make sure I am the best I can be in that game.
Ok, back to the game against France. It was a really good game, both goalies were really good I thought. Florian Hardy played really well for France, made some great saves and kept them close. The crowd was incredible, so loud, they were so into it and really willed their team along.
Johnny made a couple big right pad saves in the third period and talking to him after he said they played a weird style, just throwing the puck into bodies crossing in front trying to get tips so it’s a hard game or a goalie to play that way, you have to try to just stay focused and really try to follow the puck through traffic and wait for deflection and he did that well.