A look at pre-game hockey rituals then and now
You’d be hard-pressed to find a sport in which its players at the highest level don’t display some form of pre-game hockey rituals. It may not be every player, but several driven stars have their own set of specific actions and rules they follow that allows them to get into the right mindset. And recreational players are no different in incorporating new rituals to help them get their head in the game.
Many of hockey’s greats have divulged the details of their pre-game strategies that help them prepare to compete with the best. And while pre-game rituals still exist, some more updated activities have joined the list. Let’s take a look at a few of the pre-game hockey rituals of the past greats and future franchise legends. Perhaps these will inspire you to include something useful in your own routine.
Pre-Game Hockey Rituals of Past and Present Greats
There’s only one place to start when looking at a legendary hockey player who realized the benefits of sticking to a pre-game ritual, and that’s The Great One himself. Wayne Gretzky’s most famous ritual was applying baby powder to his stick, as explained by thehockeywriters. But he also had a bunch of other requirements, which may even have bordered on OCD. The winner of four Stanley Cups had to dress left to right; he would always fire his first warm-up shot wide right; and would drink a Diet Coke, water, Gatorade, and Diet Coke after warm-ups—in that exact order.
Many storied rituals come in the form of what most would perceive as a lack of trust and possessiveness. Legendary goalie Eddie Belfour wouldn’t allow anyone to touch his equipment; he would pull apart segments of his kit if he had a bad game. Sidney Crosby is similarly possessive—or rather, a perfectionist—not allowing anyone to touch one of his customized hockey sticks once it was taped. It’s clear that if you want to make sure that you can perform at your best, you need to be certain that everything is done correctly from the get-go.
Getting Your Mind Right the Video Game Way
Sometimes, getting focused for an important upcoming game is more about clearing your mind of doubt and worry than setting your mind to the contest ahead. If you’re always relaxed coming into a game, you’ll always be able to react to game situations more naturally. This would allow your training and natural talent to come into play.
As is being found in professional circles, many of today’s top young stars are turning to gaming to get in the preferred mindset. Patrik Laine himself had even told nhl.com that he plays video games before home games. Video games have become such a commonly used medium in pre-game hockey rituals that some teams, like the Vancouver Canucks, once looked to ban the activity.
Of course, not everyone can take extensive gaming platforms with them; luckily, there are other options. (Anyone with a laptop or smartphone in Canada can claim the playamo bonus of 150 free spins and up to $1,500 in playing funds. They offer quick doses of entertainment that can help you take your mind off the game ahead.) Gaming has long been a time-honored entity in the entertainment industry.
It seems NHL teams and staff are coming around to encourage playing games as a way to prepare for their own hockey games. As noted by sportsnet, it used to be that the players would head out to clubs and bars. Naturally, that sort of thing isn’t ideal for anyone looking to perform at their highest level each night. Gaming presents itself as the perfect option, with athletes remaining indoors and relaxing with a game.
Many of these pre-game hockey rituals come down to one’s own personal superstitions. But there’s certainly some logic to making sure that everything is in check, and getting into the right head space before a game.