Sylvan Lake Terry’s Lease Maintenance (TLM) Atom A Lakers players are counting down the days to May 30, when they’ll get to meet, greet and spend a full day with an Edmonton Oilers player at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
The Lakers team is one of the 14 teams attending the event this year, and assistant coach Dan Weik said this is the third year in a row that they have been invited.
“They are pretty lucky and they know what to expect,” Weik said. “They sometimes get T-shirts, jerseys and water bottles and a whole bunch of other stuff. It’s really well done and very organized. It doesn’t cost us a penny.”
The day will see the players spending a day in the life of a professional NHL hockey player at Rexall Place.
The players will tour the Oilers dressing room, train professionally on ice, learn yoga stretches and learn proper game-time nutrition. The day will finish off with a barbecue for the players and their families.
“It’s a full practice session. They will do a whole bunch of drills and it’s structured similar to what an NHL practice would be,” Weik said. “They do agility and strength training and there’s professional trainers that put them through the paces. They do a full dry-land training work out. It’s a really cool day.”
Weik said the players will learn how to eat properly in order to perform at their fullest potential. He said they learn to avoid eating sugary foods.
“Proper eating and diet is important to performance on ice — and off, for that matter,” Weik said. “It’s putting proper fuels into their bodies so they can perform at their highest level.”
But perhaps the icing on the cake for these young players will be the chance to meet an Oilers player face to face.
“They get to meet and greet and get a picture and shake hands with an Oilers player,” Weik said. “It’s a surprise; we’re not sure which Oilers player will be there to do a question-and-answer at the session with the whole group.”
Weik said that after getting to know the player during the question-and-answer session, the younger players realize they may have more in common with their hockey heroes than they realize.
“They just realize if they put their mind to it and put in the work, it could happen that they end up in the NHL or playing pro somewhere in Europe or wherever,” Weik said.