Gophers get a chance for a change of scenery during the off-season

womens hockey vs. robert morris. Gophers 7-1

Ali Haupt

womens hockey vs. robert morris. Gophers 7-1

The offseason is a time for the University of Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team to be normal. During the six month season, the team works out five times a week and plays games on the weekends. Senior captain Melanie Gagnon said itâÄôs stressful during the season and the off season is a time to be normal. âÄúWhenever we have time off, we like to just sit and hang out and do whatever everyone else likes to do,âÄù she said. âÄúWe like to be a normal person every now and then.âÄù This includes living at home with parents during the summer. Gagnon goes home to St. Adolphe, Manitoba, during the summer and spends a lot of time with her family. âÄúI get to see them whether I like it or not,âÄù she said. After the last game of the season, the team takes 2-3 weeks off with nothing to do other than focus on school. When those weeks are over, the team works out anywhere from three-to-five days a week until school is done. When summer rolls around, each player will go their separate way. They all receive a personal training plan designed for them by strength and conditioning coach Cal Dietz. Some players take their plans and go home, while others stick around the university and train or take classes. Each plan is personalized based on what each player needs to work on. A typical plan includes agility and strength work with weight training and cardio. However, GagnonâÄôs summer was a little different than years past. She had surgery on her shoulder and did rehabilitation work this past summer. Her workout regimen included working with bands and tubes since she couldnâÄôt work with heavy weights. Instead of running, she frequently biked. Many players skate during the summer. The ones that are around the Twin Cities skate once a week working on their strides and other skills. At home, Gagnon was on the ice three times a week working on different skills with scrimmages every now and then. âÄúIâÄôm on the ice working on skills, getting worked, getting skated, even though I donâÄôt like it,âÄù she said. Even with all the training and skating, Gagnon kept her weekends free to âÄújet up to the lake and sit on the dock.âÄù First-year Sarah Erickson did the same thing this summer before coming to the university for her first collegiate hockey season. âÄúThe lake is one of my favorite places in the world, besides a hockey rink,âÄù she said. âÄúI could sit on the lake all day. Anything thatâÄôs on a lake, IâÄôm there, even if itâÄôs just sitting on a boat.âÄù But during the week, it was all business. Erickson worked out five days a week with a personal trainer in her hometown of Bemidji, Minn. Her training included plyometrics and weight lifting with a focus on foot speed, quick starts and agility. Erickson saw the ice when she went to the U.S. Under-22 camp and the U.S. national camp. Both gave her experience of playing with older girls and players that are at her level of play. Getting that experience helped her out tremendously to prepare her for the collegiate level, she said. âÄúYou have to pass faster, you have to think faster, you have to do everything faster than you normally would at like a high school game,âÄù she said. Before attending camps, Erickson took a month off of skating to refresh her body. The offseason is really important for the body and the mind, coach Brad Frost said. Mentally, the break allows players to re-group their thoughts and come back ready to work. âÄúItâÄôs nice to get away from the sport a little bit just so you come back, you still have that fire in you,âÄù Erickson said.