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Battle Born Hockey School Pt. 6: Four Perspectives on BBHS

By Phillip Goodman

Sept 7, 2023


Reno Ice Raiders’ play-by-play broadcaster and team writer Phillip Goodman takes a deep dive into the Battle Born Hockey School in this six-part series. In Part Six, Phillip interviews four camp attendees with very diverse backgrounds yet common threads. The four conversations held over Zoom have been edited for time and space.


Jerry Pierre is a Deputy with Harris County Sheriff's Office Homeland Security Bureau Maritime Division. The Houston resident works hand-in-hand with the Coast Guard patrolling the waterways of Texas.


I just got back into hockey a year ago. I played as a kid growing up in Boston  through a non-profit that gave kids that didn't have the means to play the opportunity to get on the ice. I did that a few seasons around seven or eight years old. Then I couldn't get transportation to the ice so had to give it up. Then just a year ago, I said "I want to get back on the ice and try it out." So I found a novice league in Houston. I was still able to stand on two feet and went on from there.


I had been looking for a camp for a while. I saw a big following with BBHS and they had great marketing. I was able to see the videos on Instagram and it caught my eye. These guys are semi pro, they got a school going. From the videos I saw in the drills I thought this school would be great for me. It was everything I expected. It was great.


My expectation was to become an overall better skater, puck handler, and I think I got that. They slowed me down and pulled me aside and explained to me what I was doing wrong or doing right. I didn't want to be in a huge camp where they just run you through drills but don't have the people or time to explain to you what you're doing wrong to fix it or correct it. Big shout out to them for pulling me aside and telling me what I was doing wrong to fix it and I liked that.


Biggest takeaways? From skating, to puck handling, to shooting, to me you have to have all three in order to be an overall great hockey player. I felt I didn't have those but now I feel I've definitely developed better from BBHS. I thought I was an okay skater but after going through those drills I realized, "NO, I'm not."My biggest takeaway was slow down, think about what I'm going to do play by play. The videos in the coach's corners were also big takeaways. Playing the game 20-25 years ago I don't remember the game the way I should and for them to explain the positioning I loved that. Not a lot of guys in the beer leagues are gonna sit down and watch films on positioning. That opened my eyes to where I should start doing that at home–start watching some films and that will make me a better hockey player.


Everybody was great and made me feel at home. Everyone seemed family oriented. Everyone talked, asked questions. Everyone helped each other on the ice. Definitely coming to an Ice Raider game in the near future. I felt at home. I felt I had no worries. I'm usually a shy and quiet guy but I felt like I could talk to everyone. I didn't know about the Ice Raiders until I found the camp and that it's basically the Ice Raiders that put on the camp.


My advice to anyone attending BBHS: pay attention, work hard, do what they ask and you will see results. When they pull you aside and give you little tips, apply those methods and you will see results. Those guys definitely know what they're talking about. Go in with an open mind. 




Julius Samson is a 39-year-old engineer originally from Reno now living near Portland, OR. His favorite team/player is Boston Bruins/Patrice Bergeron.


I grew up in Reno for middle school and high school and moved to Portland about seven years ago. Prior to that I was playing hockey in South Lake Tahoe but there was just an adult league and not really any adult camps.


I chose BBHS over others, and there's one around here in Portland, because of a lot of great recommendations from friends that live in Reno. I have a couple of buddies that are just starting to play hockey and they did the camp last year. They highly recommended it. And more importantly I really wanted to support my hometown. It's so nice that Reno has its own rink now. Reno is a hockey town again. There are other camps available closer to me in Portland but the vibe I got wasn't like, "Yes, I should do that." I felt that the Battle Born camp had a lot of very experienced coaches that are still playing nowadays and coaches that have played around the world.


I wanted to learn the basics of hockey that I knew I had missed like positioning. I was kind of self taught. I would pick up some stuff just watching hockey, or at stick time I'd get some pointers from guys that might have played in college. But it was super basic. 


The coach's corners were such valuable sessions. I cannot express how much knowledge I've soaked in. I've been skating for eight years and I've learned about 70% of it but having a coach looking at me and seeing that missing 30% and would just tell me that little bit like "bend your knees or lean forward." It's that little stuff you don't realize until you have a super-experienced coach look at you giving you that one-on-one feedback on the ice. 


Watching the coach's corner videos, looking at examples on the videos,  understanding why a player might curl one way or the other, getting to ask those questions and having a back and forth with the coaches–those are very underrated things to learn. And then transferring that knowledge onto the ice. Super underrated and super valuable how that translates to your adult league.


I really liked the fact the drills from Thursday to Saturday were a buildup to the next drill. As we're going through drill to drill, everything started to kinda make sense. The rink I skate at now has a 75-minute drop-in skills clinic and the drills are all over the place. It's just whatever they can think of. But at BBHS, the drills build up to the next and the next one and as you gain more confidence you can translate it into an actual play and an actual game. Even after camp was over I can still remember the drills I have done. It wasn't just, "I did something and it's gone."


My other takeaway is the supercool camaraderie you develop through the camp. 

The camaraderie is awesome. I exchanged contact info with some of the guys in the camp so when I come back to visit friends and family in Reno we hope to play a pickup game together. I built a connection with the coaches. They're so easy to talk to, like being able to ask those little questions one-on-one to get some pointers.


BBHS really helps you alot to progress in your game so you enjoy the game more. Knowing the best possible way to attack a certain play to be successful in different situations. I played a game yesterday and it was like night day. Knowing where to cut back, knowing where to support the defense. I've gotten a lot more passes from the defense because I've been more available to catch those passes and take it to another level on the plays. It's given me a lot more confidence.




John Morgan, is the owner of Opening Solutions, LLC in Reno, NV. He supplies and installs electronic and security door openings for storefronts. His favorite team/players: Reno Ice Raiders and Raiders' defensemen Andrew Peterson and Dana Navratil.


My whole history of sport has always been individual and racing sports not team stuff. I was a swimmer in high school. Team sports never clicked for me. Tried to play football and baseball and it just never worked. Then by chance I found hockey. I used to race cars with Jess Peterson (Ice Raiders' General Manager) and started going to the Ice Raiders games and just absolutely fell in love with the sport. When the season ended we were like, "Now what do we do? Let's start skating."


It was after the first Ice Raiders' season in 2022 we started skating then it was on Father's Day I got my first set of hockey gear. Started at the Reno Ice Learn to Skate 30-min sessions then got into the Ice Breakers clinic. Now I'm on the Ice Breakers intro to hockey league. 


Since our introduction to hockey was the Ice Raiders and they earned so much of my respect watching those guys play, it was just simple that those are the guys that I wanted to be trained by. Andrew Peterson also works at Reno Ice and has coached my son. I was really impressed by what he's done. I really wanted the opportunity to work with Petey also.


I'm very new to the game of hockey so getting a better understanding of the game was a big expectation for me and that was very much accomplished.

Just getting more comfortable doing maneuvers. I catch myself doing drills and doing harder maneuvers during the drills but then it gets into the game and I don't use any of it. That has changed. I've played  a number of games since BBHS and my skating has definitely changed.


I started on defense, went back to offense, now I'm back on defense. In game situations I found myself lost and not really knowing what I should be doing. The drills that we were taught were game situation drills maneuvers that you will use in a game that teach you where to go and where to be during a game. I'm not afraid anymore to put more complicated maneuvers into a game. Essentially back-to-front and front-to-back and crossovers to get speed going as a D-man. Also improved, the speed at which we need to be playing the game. In the games we've played recently as a team we're moving faster, spreading out, and passing the puck creating a huge amount of space on the ice.


I don't think the coaches could have done a better job, especially the way that they set up the camp with the basics of power skating with hockey maneuvers that translated to the whole camp and then translated in the final game.

You had to work hard and I think they purposely kept us very busy to maybe teach us we can skate harder than we think but at the same time they understood how hard they were pushing us and were extremely supportive whether you did it right or wrong. I thought they did an amazing job and I would love to work with them even more.

 

I didn't do this camp last year because I was so new and didn't think I would get much from it. I really wish I would have. Much like the mentality of hockey, I was very much accepted [by the other players]. I never was made to feel like I wasn't good enough to be there. Incredibly supportive at all levels. Hockey will accept you no matter your level. Enjoy the game. Don't question your ability to skate. Be bold and go out and do it. It's a great opportunity to skate with these guys. Don't let your inhibitions stop you from doing the camp.



  

Andy McNamara, 53, is a university administrator in Eugene, OR. He attended Univ. of Maine from 1989-1993 when U. Maine won it all. Being a New Englander, his favorite team is the Boston Bruins and favorite players are Patrice Bergeron & Jake DeBrusk.


I learned to play on the ponds in New England after moving there as a teenager but never really played organized hockey until joining a beer league for one season in my mid 20s. I just recently started playing again this past year after a 25-year hiatus.


As a sports fan and as someone that wanted to get into sports broadcasting, my best way into those games was as an announcer. I ended being the sports director for the college FM radio station. We broadcasted football, basketball, and a little baseball. Students would camp out overnight for tickets to hockey games and Maine was really good at the time. We had Paul Kariya and Jim Montgomery then. I'll never forget a game against Boston Univ. and Tony Amonte scored this crazy game winner in overtime. Maine didn't win but it was one of those games that you just never forget. That really solidified my hockey as my favorite sport to do as a broadcasting sport.


I love playing hockey. It's almost like you're two different people when you're watching or calling a game. Then when you're on the ice in any area with teammates and opponents and how you sort of survive that play or time that you're out there it's a different experience. That's why I was so eager to do a camp this year. I just got back into paying after decades. For me to get the most out of playing again, I needed an on-ice refresher and that's what Battle Born was able to provide for me. There were a few little things each day that I took away that I'll be able to sort of put myself back in that spot. Even as someone who was a fan and as a broadcaster I could see it and I could understand it but once you put on the pads and have a stick in hand it's a totally different deal.


I was looking at other camps in the Seattle area and couldn't get into those so I posted something in a hockey forum. I got a reply from someone that had done the BBHS and had great things to say about it. It's only about an eight-hour drive from Eugene and that was enough to sell me on it. I'm so glad that I did because it was a great camp.


My goals were to utilize the ice time to work on my skating, positioning, breakout positioning, faceoffs, things that happen during the game during my league play where I found myself thinking "I don't think I'm in the right spot here". Also to learn more of the strategy of the on-ice game. And it certainly delivered


The level of play among the campers was really impressive. I felt like I was challenged and pushed. The coaching staff was so positive and supportive. It didn't matter if you did it perfectly or completely botched the drill. They'd come over and point out what you did wrong or right. They would give you the confidence to go and try it again.


On the faceoff drills, Simon made a little comment about how to anticipate and it just clicked for me like immediately then I won like four or five draws in a row based on that one little mental tip that I'll take away. Now I have not only the confidence but I have some actual tools that I can use back in my adult league games.


To be on the ice with these coaches and great players was really cool. They're legitimate coaches. The instruction was clear even in the complicated drills. I can't say enough good things about the coaches and the quality of instruction. You felt comfortable about going up to them to ask certain questions and ask what you just did. It was really impressive.


Breakout positioning was big, how to break the puck out from the defensive zone. I hope I'm not too much of a nag when I get back to league play telling people where to go and where to be. NowI have a much better understanding of what it looks like and feels like to move the puck up the ice as a unit.

 

We were supporting one another through those drills and everyone enjoyed seeing others make great plays or making a play you weren't really expecting. It was a really supportive environment.

 

I wouldn't be surprised to see some of these guys in next year's BBHS. I'd absolutely like to get back to Reno next year for another camp. If you're going to do the BBHS, you're going to be tired. You're going to be stuffing your face trying to eat enough calories because you're on the ice alot. It felt like you were either on the ice, eating, or sleeping. At least that's how I felt over the weekend. When it's over, you're gonna have so much new knowledge and confidence to take back to whatever level of hockey you are in and it's well worth the experience. I'll be an evangelist for BBHS and I can't wait to tell some of my folks back at my rink when we take the ice again in September.

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