Friday, May 13, 2011

Back on the Hockey Skates

14 weeks ago I ran into a small problem while playing. I had a burning pain on the outside of my right ankle. For some reason this only hurt when I laced up the skates, no pain in any other activities. I even went as far as sending the Graf skates back to George's Hockey Repair to have the ankle padding redone (excellent job by the way, a significant improvement of the stock padding). Come to find out the pain never went away and I had to visit the doctor.

I had a suspicion that my pain was somehow related to how the Graf's were a lower-cut boot. I tried on my old CCM's and the pain was a bit less, but not completely gone. On a whim, I tried on some Easton S17's and they just happened to be cut much higher and that got rid of the pain. Later that week the xray confirmed what I thought...something on the ankle was causing pain because of excess inward pronation. This was a result of some old basketball ankle injuries over the past 38 years of my life.

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The Easton's restricted the inward movement and thus the pain relief. If you look closely at the photo you'll see what the doctor labeled as "kissing legions"; not sure it's a true bone spur, but it's two small growths that cause the pain when the ankle pronates inward while the boot is applying pressure. Since the Easton's seemed to fix the problem, off I went to buy a pair.

Tonight was the first night with the late night drop-in crew. I'm pretty new to the game (going on playing for just over a year) so I didn't know what to expect. I spent quite a bit of the 14 weeks just doing stick handling drills in the garage until my forearms were burning. That was probably one of the few things that kept me sane while my friends kept playing. So stepping on the ice I had no idea what the evening would hold. Come to find out I was pleasantly surprised.

Skating skills came back after a few minutes and it felt like I hadn't really missed much time off the ice. It was nice to know that I wouldn't have to re-learn everything about skating. After doing nothing but stick drills in the garage having the puck on the blade seemed way more comfortable than ever before. But what really surprised me was some unknown burst of goals that I scored!

I've had a lucky shot here or there to get on the scoreboard before, but tonight I was in the zone. Ended up with five goals: 1) a redirect of a slapshot which the goalie didn't see coming as I have never done that before, 2) snap shot from the right wing to the top shelf on the blocker side, 3) one-timer from the left wing, 4) a greasy goal while battling in a scrum in front of the goal, and most satisfying, 5) a heavy slapshot from the point (this was the most satisfying...I got all of my 6'9" body behind this and beat the goalie at the bottom left post).

No way, no how would I ever predict something like this happening to me after my layoff. Having a breakout evening like this was exactly what I needed to fall in love again with the game as it was a tough time being away for so long.

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