This whole thing started while I was in the middle of my school exams. On the morning of my history test, I got a call while I was in the middle of breakfast. I was asked if I’d like to go to a training camp in Finland. I was surprised to say the least but after discussing with my parents, I was more than happy to accept the offer! The entire trip was paid for by the IIHA and IIHF so it was an offer that I couldn’t refuse!!!
It was an early start on Saturday morning meaning that I had to get up at 3:00 am in order to get to Dublin Airport on time! I met Paul Cummins for the first time at the airport. Paul was a player and coach from the Kilkenny City Storm and he would be attending the Learn To Play course at the same course.
It was a long day of travel but once we finally arrived at the camp, we had the evening to settle down, find our rooms, explore the huge campus and of course get some rest! Each day had a similar routine – wake up call at 7:00 am, breakfast at 7:30 am followed by on ice training packed with really good drills and some of the best coaches from all around the world.
The on ice session was then followed by about an hour’s off ice session which was followed by lunch usually at 1:00 pm. This was then followed by a classroom session where we discussed game tactics, player performance and individual skills. The final activity of the evening was a game between the eight teams that were attending the camp. The standard of hockey was incredible; I was playing with and against some of the best players from around the globe!
Wednesday was an exception from the usual schedule; we had an even earlier morning in order to get a camp photograph taken. This was followed by an intense skills camp and a trip to Helsinki. We went to a huge shopping centre and an amusement park. It was a great day out and I had nothing but fun with all the lads from the camp.
The rest of the camp continued as it started and my team did pretty well overall. Unfortunately, due to the flights which had been booked for both myself and Paul, we had to leave the camp a day earlier than everyone else. We missed the last day of training and games as well as the camp’s closing ceremony. However, it was still a great week and I have learned a lot of new skills. I hope these will help me to improve my own personal game but hopefully I can bring some of the things that I’ve learned back to my team.