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Prospects Trade Hockey Helmets for Fire Helmets

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE – Coyotes prospects spent a few hours getting a taste of what it takes to become a firefighter on Friday afternoon as the 2011 Prospect Development Camp rolled forward.

Coyotes prospects team up to drag a fire hose from station to station. Photo by Dave Vest.
After skating for an hour-plus at Polar Ice in Peoria on Friday morning, the prospects were bussed from Arena to a nearby firefighter training facility. Once there, the young players were placed on teams and the teams then competed in a “Fire Challenge” – a series of timed drills very similar to drills used to train firefighters.

For example, the four-player teams carried hoses from station to station, changed valves on a hydrant, maneuvered ladders, and dragged dummies through a narrow and dark crawl space, all under the supervision of Valley firefighters and Coyotes Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Mike Bahn.

The finale of the “Fire Challenge” featured the teams shooting water at pylons – and each other – from fire hoses outside the facility. It was a playful/soggy way to end a very grueling experience for the young hockey players, many of whom found themselves using muscles they don’t normally use.

“It’s a great experience and it gives you a lot of respect for what the firefighters actually do,” forward Andy Miele said during a break for water. “…I’m breathing heavy, but I’m having a great time. It’s a lot of fun to challenge yourself in a way you don’t get to do every day.”

Coyotes prospects work together to shoot water from a fire hose. Photo by Dave Vest.
The “Fire Challenge” is designed not only to test the players physically, but to generate camaraderie between them and promote teamwork.

“We had a team of four and we got to strategize a little bit before we started (each drill),” forward Chris Brown said. “But sometimes the strategy just went away and we bonded together just to get it done as fast as we could. So, in that aspect, it was good teamwork.”

For the record, the team known as "Big Red Trucks" won the challenge. The prospects on that team were defensemen Brandon Gormley and Harrison Ruopp, forward Spencer Bennett and goalie Jacob De Serres. They were supervised by Gary Bernard of the Peoria Fire Dept.

Check back to in the coming days to watch a video feature of the “Fire Challenge.”
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