OLDS — The Alberta Junior Hockey league season continues to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- with no letup in sight.
That’s forced the Olds Grizzlys to be creative in order to keep busy and in game shape for when the season does occur.
The solution? Workouts and presentations online.
The team has been divided into groups of four.
"We go three days on and take a day off and we have about 12 different workouts we do. And then we sort of have a meeting and part of the meeting is driven by the players,” head coach Scott Atkinson says.
“We give them a list of things that we want them to find on Youtube or something. It might be hockey-related, might not be hockey-related.
“So today we did something on centre-drive or funnel-drive. That was hockey-related. Yesterday, the group did a presentation on circadian rhythms (the sleep-wake cycle of life), so it’s good."
The team is trying to make the best use of its time to learn and get better and stay in shape, he said.
"If we ever get to play again maybe we’ll be more prepared.”
Atkinson said it’s tough not knowing when – or if – they’ll get a season in this year. But he’s learned to just go with the flow.
“I just sort of think you have to take it in strides. Since this thing has been going on it’s been start, stop, start, stop,” he said.
“It just is what it is and you’ve got to respond and adapt, right?”
Atkinson admits the players aren’t thrilled with the situation either. But he’s pleased with how they too have handled it.
“I’m sure they don’t enjoy it. I’m sure they want to play; I mean, (there’s) no doubt about that. But the kids are doing very well in these daily workouts and it’s going well that way,” he said.
“In my mind, the team’s really responded well and is doing a great job in the workouts and the little presentations. It’s almost like going to school, right?”
However, the three days on, one day off schedule has made it tough for Atkinson to adjust to the rhythm of life outside the team.
“It doesn’t seem like there’s weekdays and weekends anymore,” he said. "It just seems like days. At least, that’s what it seems like to me. I don’t know if it’s a Monday or a Tuesday. It’s just another day.”