With the calendar flipping to September, pair after pair of skates have begun to hit the ice.
Victor Bartley and several of his Nashville Predators teammates have done their part to boost the numbers of the aforementioned group, as the handful of pros have assembled in the Music City to prepare for the upcoming campaign. The 26-year-old defenseman said Friday he feels refueled and recharged for the new season after an eventful--yet relaxing--summer break.
“Right after the season, Carter Hutton and I went to Hong Kong for a bit and then went to Thailand," Bartley said. "Then we went and visited my folks over there too. They moved over there about a year and a half ago to start a new business. It was great getting to see them for a couple weeks and then after that I spent my summer back in Vancouver.”
The blueliner explained that he tries to clear his head and refocus after the end of a season, but this summer he and Hutton mixed in some international hockey to their offseason routine.
“We actually have some mutual friends that run a hockey camp over there. So we went over and got on the ice with the kids a couple times. Just skating around with the kids having fun out there. Hockey has grown so much over in that city,” Bartley said. “I mean, there were thousands of people at all the practices and games. It was pretty crazy to see. They don’t get a lot of NHL players over there. So helping with those camps was really awesome, especially with my background of being half Asian.”
After his excursion to the Far East, Bartley returned to the town of Maple Ridge, outside of Vancouver, British Columbia; the place he calls home when he’s not regularly wearing Predators gold. At that point, it was a steady diet of hockey, workouts and a lot of golf.
“I live in a little suburb just outside [Vancouver] called Maple Ridge, so I spent most of my time there and in the city. And I spent a couple weekends up in Okanagan, did a few hockey camps and a lot of golfing,” Bartley said. “Basically I just try to go back and see my friends and family for a few weeks. See all your buddies that you haven’t seen over the course of a long season, unless when you’re playing in Vancouver of course. I just really try to clear my head right after it’s all over. Get a little R&R and then come back fresh.”
The 2014-15 season will likely be one that asks for continued growth from the defenseman. Bartley set career highs in games played and goals scored last campaign and now the blueliner is hoping to increase his role in the defensive corps starting this fall.
The presence of a new coaching staff in town might also be a factor that alters Bartley’s role with the club.
“It’s still about first impressions so I can’t say too much, but it’s exciting to get that new chance,” Bartley said. “It’s been good [working out with the guys], it’s only been about a week. But all the guys are happy and loose, ready to get things going. There’s definitely a positive attitude around here and it’s great to see.”