So why the long drive?
“It’s pretty much because of the dogs,” said Vlasic who is not making his first cross continent drive. “We’ve just never flown with them.”
The dogs of choice include one that is part golden retriever and Labrador, while the second is up for debate.
“The other is a little type of Dachshund mix,” said Vlasic of the pup that came from the pound in Scotts Valley. “We didn’t know and tried to look it up on the internet.”
Vlasic’s initial trek back home was much shorter as he plowed through with heavy driving days of up to 12 hour days. Now, things are much simpler out on the road.
“The first day we only went to Tahoe,” said Vlasic. “Every other day is seven to eight hours. It takes about six days. We left Sunday and we’ll be home tomorrow.”
Vlasic did not have time to sit and stew over the Sharks abrupt playoff exit as he quickly departed for hockey’s World Championships where he helped Canada win a silver medal. Gold was the goal, but Vlasic is comfortable with the silver result – as long as it helps lead to gold in the future.
“You want gold, but the silver medal is nice to have in my first try,” said Vlasic.
On the ice, Vlasic said it was interesting skating on the international ice surface.
“The ice is bigger, so there is less hitting,” said Vlasic. “I think I had three hits the whole time. It is more one-on-one play with a lot of skill. Playing against Sweden and Russia, they don’t have as much of a system, especially Russia. They are all over the map. They have guys at the blueline all the time.”
Once the medal round began, Vlasic compared the experience to the NHL’s postseason, with one caveat.
“I’d say it’s like a playoff game, but without the hitting,” said Vlasic.
Despite the fact the their teams were playing in the same tournament, Vlasic never had the opportunity to see Joe Pavelski
or Milan Michalek.
“The U.S. was playing in the same city, but we stayed a half hour away,” said Vlasic. “I didn’t play against either of them. Had Czech beat Sweden in the quarters, I would have played Milan.”
As for his summer plans, Team Canada took care of a big part of it, and on their dime.
“Usually we take a vacation and before the season ended we were talking about Europe,” said Vlasic of basically walking into a free trip. “We stayed in two cities, so we got to see what Switzerland was about.”
Other plans will keep him pretty close to home.
“Maybe we’ll go somewhere like New York,” said Vlasic. “I’ll work out with my trainer and play a little hockey (with my brothers) to stay in shape.”
Coming back in top shape, Vlasic and the other Sharks will look to turn last year’s regular season into postseason success.
“We didn’t win anything and that is disappointing,” said Vlasic. “Doug Wilson is a winner and he wants a winning organization. He wants to win a Cup in San Jose and so do I. We’re determined to bounce back and proved it to our fans. I think our team will look good.”
Maybe some strong play in the first part of the regular season will lead to another opportunity with Team Canada, this time at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
“They (Team Canada officials) said I had a good tournament, but they didn’t say anything about Vancouver,” said Vlasic. “Now they know who I am. Hopefully I made a good impression and will make more of an impression in NHL season.”
FAMILY AFFAIR AT SHARKS ICE TOURNAMENT
Like many other participants in the 2009 Adult Safe Hockey Network’s (ASHN) North American Championship taking place at Sharks Ice, Josh Chanasyk will be bringing some of his family with him to San Jose. The difference between the Chanasyks and most other families is that Josh’s father and brother are not just coming along for the vacation. They’re coming to play alongside Josh on the first line for the Vancouver Whalers.
Josh, 24, and his brother Jason, 28, were both taught to skate at the age of two by their mother in their native town of Surrey, British Columbia. They both began playing tyke hockey at the age of four – Josh as a leftwing and Jason as a center. When Josh turned five-years-old, his father Barry began coaching him them. Although the three Chanasyks skated well together, they could never play on the same team because of the age differences, until recently.
In search of job opportunities, Josh and Jason moved to Vancouver three years ago where they helped build the Whalers team. Barry lives four hours away in Kamloops, B.C. and fills in on the team when he comes to town to visit his sons. Barry plays on the first line with his sons as a rightwing.
“Because we grew up with our dad teaching us, we know where each other is going to be on the ice. We have quite the chemistry,” said Josh.
Josh, Jason and Barry will lead the Vancouver Whalers in the ASHN North American Championship at Sharks Ice at San Jose. The tournament takes place May 25-30, put on by Canlan Ice Sports. Admission to the six-day event is free, with trophies being awarded in all 12 divisions on the 30th.
The ASHN is an Internet network of more than 60,000 recreational hockey players in leagues owned by or affiliated with Canlan Ice Sports. The primary goal of the ASHN is to enhance a player’s regular hockey experience with online features and membership benefits such as insurance, player registration, prizing, opportunities to qualify for championships and online tools for finding rinks, tournaments and other adult recreational hockey players.
Canlan Ice Sports is the largest private sector owner and operator of recreational ice sports facilities in North America and currently owns or manages 22 multi-use facilities in the United States and Canada. Canlan Ice Sports also owns the Adult Safe Hockey League (ASHL), a recreational hockey League operating in Canlan owned, leased or managed facilities. The ASHL consists of more than 50,000 players.
Sharks Ice is the official practice facility of the San Jose Sharks. It is the largest ice rink facility west of the Mississippi and is one of only seven rink facilities in the United States that currently operates at least four NHL-sized ice rinks. Sharks Ice at San Jose, along with Sharks Ice at Fremont and Oakland Ice, currently hold the largest number of Adult USA Hockey participants (2,400) of any facility in the nation.