Rookie Adam Burish led the University of Wisconsin to a national championship last season. This year, Adam will share his experiences during his first year of professional hockey -- whether in Chicago or Norfolk.
Hello all friends and fans of Chicago Blackhawk hockey,
I will be writing journal entries every couple weeks throughout the season to give you an inside look at what is going on within our Blackhawk family. I will start this first one by giving you an idea of what training camp is like and what exactly goes on in these three weeks.
This has been my first experience going through pro training camp. Coming from the University of Wisconsin, training camp is a lot different from what we go through in college, but with the same purpose in mind. The common denominator is that it's an opportunity to get your body ready for the season, develop relationships and a strong team bond amongst the guys, and earn a roster spot.
Camp began on Thursday, Sept. 14 with a short team meeting outlining the schedule and expectations. After this first meeting, it was clear that this organization is very proud and committed to excellence. The following day everybody is up early to begin our physicals and fitness testing -- what many guys call the most nervous time of camp. It's an opportunity for you to show the organization how hard you have trained all summer.
Testing consists of a push-up test, sit-up test, pull-ups, vertical jump, long jump, body fat, a VO2 bike test -- in which you bike as long as you possibly can while every two minutes they increase the resistance on the bike -- and a wingate bike test which is what some guys call "30 seconds of hell." You bike as hard as you can for 30 seconds, essentially emptying the tank of everything you have.
The next four days the guys were split into three teams and would practice with their team, then go through a workout, run by strength coach Phil Walker and Olympic gold medalist Dan Jansen. Those first four days were very demanding, but important in laying the foundation as far as what is expected within our team systems, and a work ethic that will allow us to be successful.
Coach Yawney made it very clear that we will not be outworked this year, and the most important key to winning is fundamentals and an attitude that you will not be denied getting to where you want to go.
Coming into my first training camp, I didn't completely know what to expect. I knew I would control the things I could control, my work ethic and attitude, but you naturally have questions. What are the guys like? As a young guy will they accept you? Will they give you tips and advice on the right and wrong things to do? I can say the group of guys that are here have been unbelievably helpful to the young guys.
It's a group that is commited to winning and more than willing to include the younger guys and teach us what is expected, and what is not accepted. This has made the transition here so much enjoyable for not only myself, but talking with the other rookies, for them as well. It makes you feel like you are a real part of something special. That type of team bond is what makes good teams great and will allow us to do great things this year.
That following Tuesday we began our preseason play. It was my first opportunity to wear what I believe to be the best and most storied jersey in pro hockey. The game was a blast, and most importantly ended with a win; the exact way you want to start the year.
In each of the past few games, the intensity has picked up. With teams getting closer to their regular season rosters, that is to be expected. There has been more hitting and a faster pace, which has made the games much more exciting. What many people may not realize is that these preseason games are not just a time to go out and float around, get your legs under you, and not worry about the outcome. Every game we have played so far, we go into with the attitude that we are going to do whatever it takes to win.
The guys want to gain the respect around this league starting now. This is a new season and a new year, and we are 100% committed to winning whenever we step on the ice. Every day we have been on the ice the coaching staff has said, "Lets get better today." Every day is an opportunity to improve and make an impression on the staff that you want to be here and will do whatever necessary to help this team win.
With one game left in the preseason, we will continue to bring the same attitude and work ethic. We look forward to an exciting new season of Hawks hockey and look forward to all of your continued support. I will check in with you all again in a couple weeks.