BROSSARD – If you want to impress an NHLer, you’d better bring out the big guns.
To capture Yannick Weber’s attention, Breitling did exactly that earlier this summer. While there was no actual ammo involved, there were plenty of high-powered machines on-hand when the Swiss watch-maker invited the Habs defenseman, along with fellow countrymen Raphael Diaz and Mark Streit to take part in a promotional event.
“We got there and all these toys were just lined up on the tarmac. They had the ‘Wingwalkers’, the Red Bull flight team, stunt planes, Bentleys…everything,” explained Weber who got his first taste of supersonic flight this summer.
“They taught us how to breathe properly up there and most of all, they taught us not to touch anything. But we were in constant communication with the pilot. At one point I had to tell him to ease up a little because I was sure I was going to get sick,” admitted the 23-year-old blue-liner with a laugh. “Riding a roller coaster is one thing but this was a whole new level – you feel like you’re 10 times heavier. The pressure and the G-force are so strong you feel like you’re going to pass out.”
But Weber’s kid-in-a-candy-store afternoon didn’t end after he hit Mach 3. With his feet back on solid ground, it was time to take the Bentley out for a spin, expertly navigating through a slalom road course. Then he upped the ante, taking a ride on the Wingwalker which consists of sitting on a chair welded to the wing of an airplane.
“It doesn’t fly that high and you’re only going maybe 60 km/h, but the feeling of sitting on a chair strapped to the wing of a plane is incredible. The wind is really strong,” he described. “That day was the highlight of my summer so far, for sure.”
Following his day as a daredevil, Weber made the trek back to Montreal for a few weeks this offseason to workout with Habs strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard and take part in the Canadiens Hockey School.
“I came back here to help at the hockey school like I do every summer. It’s great for the kids to see players on the ice and get to talk to them and get a few autographs,” explained Weber, who will also help out Streit at his hockey school in Switzerland. “I’m going to start back on the ice after that with my old team in Bern and I’ll also be heading to Barcelona with the other Swiss guys for the NHLPA meetings for European players in August.”
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.
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