During IceHogs training camp, invitee Arthur Bidwill will give fans his perspective of a player competing in Rockford’s AHL camp under a try-out agreement. Arthur was born in Oak Park, Ill. and grew up in Fontana, Wis. The defenseman is entering his second pro season and has a contract with the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles for the 2013-14 season. Stayed tuned to IceHogs.com for videos and blog posts from Arthur’s experience at IceHogs training camp.
DAY 1: I arrived at the local hotel around 5pm the night before camp to get settled in. My plan that morning was to wake up early in hopes that I would be tired enough to fight off the nerves and actually get some sleep! Thankfully I was able to and woke up early for morning physicals. We were all shuttled to the hospital to have multiple tests done. I felt more like a lab rat than a hockey player! Though, at this point most of the guys are used to this in preseason. Once we all shuffled through the tests it was time for the off ice testing at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Once again, even though I’ve done this every year since I can remember, it’s hard not to have the adrenaline going before the start. Most of us didn’t know what to expect however we all made it through just fine. We had quite a bit of down time before our first skate at 3 p.m. so most of the guys just spent some time getting sticks and equipment ready. However that only takes about 15 minutes!
After hanging out with the guys for the first time, you realize how small the hockey community is. Everyone has played with everyone or a friend of everyone at some point in their career. It is very easy to find common ground and we have a great group of guys.
Finally, it was time for our first skate. It was and is a great feeling putting on the red, white and black as I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and have been a lifelong fan since I knew what hockey was. However, that had to be pushed back because as a camp invitee I am not here to get autographs. All of the invitees are here for one reason, to make an impression on the coaches.
The first practice went well and the pace was very good. It felt good to get back into the flow of things with a good number of guys as summers are mostly spent working on individual skill and conditioning. Once practice was over we grabbed a quick meal and headed back to the hotel. It was a bit easier to sleep getting the first day out of the way.
DAY 2: Monday was a work day. We started out with a “skill” session in the morning which focused more on individual habits and techniques. It was great to learn new drills and work on some things that most every hockey player can afford to improve upon. Skill work is hard work though. I went right back to the hotel and took a long nap that was much needed!
After that it was right back at it for an afternoon skate. The pace really picked up as it seemed like everyone was well rested from the morning session. A group of the invitees got some pasta together and had a few laughs. Everyone is more relaxed now and getting to know each other. That should only help the quality of play on the ice play.
It’s hard to not get ahead of yourself when you have the support of old coaches, friends, and family telling you what you can accomplish. But as a camp invitee I can’t worry about what will happen in a couple days, a week or next month. All I can afford to think about is that next practice, shift, and play. It’s getting late now and it’s time to get some rest. Tomorrow is Tuesday and the day before our first preseason game! I’m sure practice will be even more competitive.