Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So You Wanna Be a Hockey Player - Part 5 [Final]

With his quest for an NHL position on temporary hold, Oren Eizenman posts his final thoughts on his experience in the Vancouver Canucks' training camp.

There Only Was One Choice

10 am, GM place. Judgment day.

I, and the rest of the players at camp sat in one of the visitors’ dressing rooms awaiting our turn to talk to the decision committee (for lack of a better term). We tried to pass the time by watching Sportscentre, which is what happened to be playing on the dressing room TV, but as you might expect, most of us were blankly staring at the screen with something other than Darren Dutyschen’s catch phrases on our minds. Coincidentally, about a minute after I got into the room the subject of Sportscentre changed to, of all things, the Vancouver Canucks training camp. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

I wasn’t in the room long before one of the scouts told me it was my turn to face the panel. I walked into a big office where five high-ranking Canucks hockey people sat with one empty chair between them. They wasted no time.

They told me that they were extremely impressed with my play at the camp. They thought that I competed hard, played smart, and they were especially impressed with my capacity to win face-offs. They really didn’t have anything bad to say, but I would still be heading down to their AHL affiliate’s (The Manitoba Moose) training camp. We spoke for a couple of minutes more, I thanked them for the opportunity, shook their hands and left.

My bag was already packed and waiting for me on a team vehicle that took me back to my hotel and then to the airport. My stay in Vancouver was over.

I thought about what had just happened: Naturally, I was disappointed and a little bit frustrated at not being invited to the main camp, but after those immediate feelings had subsided, I was just happy. I had a great experience in Vancouver, I think I impressed a number of people, and my time there definitely increased my chances of sticking with Manitoba, which was my goal going in. As a free agent at training camp, the odds are stacked against you, so you need to set realistic goals. I think I improved my chances of playing in the AHL this season, so I am happy to have been in Vancouver and happy to be going home.

A few side-benefits of going home are that I will have time to work on my budding business (see previous blog – a Jewish hockey camp coming to a rink near you if you live in Toronto) and see my family and friends again before I leave for Manitoba’s training camp. Both are welcome. I’m not saying that I wanted to get sent home, but you’ve always got to look at the bright side.

I want to wish everybody an early Shanah Tovah, and all the best.

Thanks for reading,

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