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A Day in the Life: Part 2

01/03/2018, 6:00am CST
By Breanna Simon-Seibel, Hockey Health by Breanna

What it really takes to be a D1 player

At some point in their lives most young athletes dream of playing college or professional athletics. However, the reality is that very few get the opportunity.

What does it take? How do you get there?

I interviewed Erin Krichiver, a DI goalie that graduated from the University of Minnesota-Mankato in 2015 after four successful years, to gather information on her journey to playing Division I ice hockey.

What is your favorite thing to do on the ice?

My favorite game is the rebound game. I also love doing breakaways before/after practice.

What was your favorite college hockey memory?

There isn’t one moment in particular but the feeling of making a BIG save that no one expected and really "robbing" the other player

In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between DI and DIII?

Speed: DI is a much faster game than DIII. While everyone may be able to fundamentally do the same things: pass, shoot & score, division I players do it at a much faster level. From a goalie’s perspective, DI players have harder, faster and more accurate shots.

What was a typical day like as a DI student-athlete? (A sample schedule would be awesome)

A day really depends on the semester and time of year. I took between 16 and 18 credits every semester and always had a night class. 

Typically, we practiced in the middle of the day so we chose our class schedule to work around our practice time.

A typical in season day would go like this:

5am - wake up & light breakfast

6am - team workout

8am - shower, breakfast and get ready for class

9am-1pm - class

2-4pm - practice

5pm - dinner

6-9pm - class

9-11pm - homework

I think during the season, schedules for DI and DIII players are pretty similar. In my opinion, the difference comes during the pre-season/post-season training and what types of training is expected from the athletes during the summer.

How hard were your DI workouts? Do you have an example workout that you had to complete?

Pre-season and post season workouts were extremely hard.

Pre-season training:

Monday: Weights

Tuesday: Sprints/Running Workout

Wednesday: Weights

Thursday: Sprints/Running Workout

Friday: Weights

Saturday: Spin Class

Sunday: Active Rest

During pre-season, we would also have captains practice 5 days a week & small ice sessions with the coaches when NCAA rules allowed (the NCAA has very strict rules about when you can be on the ice with coaches and how many hours a week before the season starts).

Once the season ended, we would have two weeks off and then post-season workouts would begin.

Post-season training:

Monday: Weights

Tuesday: Sprints/Running Workout

Wednesday: Weights

Thursday: Sprints/Running Workout

Friday: Weights

Saturday: Active Rest

Sunday: Active Rest

The goalies had additional goalie sessions every week and often stayed on the ice to work on other drills/games before and after practice.

When did you start preparing for college hockey? What did you do in high school to work towards your goal (shoot pucks every night, workout, etc.)?

I would say I started preparing for college hockey before high school. If you don't start preparing for college until high school, there is a high chance you won’t play in college. Hard work and extra work is everything! I was always going to different goalie camps and doing everything I could to get on the ice more. One thing that I think really helped me is I was always trying to be on the ice with players that were older than me. This got me used to, and expecting, harder faster shots. 

I was fortunate enough to attend Shattuck St-Mary's for High School. Shattuck is a boarding school in Faribault, MN that is an awesome environment for young athletes. In high school, we practiced every morning before classes, typically played 3-4 games a weekend & had goalie sessions every week. This meant I was on the ice at least 8 times a week. In high school, we also had the ability to go on the ice for "open hockey" whenever the ice wasn't being used. This was a great way to get on the ice with older players and continue to improve. We started a college-like schedule in high school and worked out as a team twice a week.  

Once thing I did in high school to work towards my goal of playing DI hockey was I tried to get on the ice early as often as possible. We skated at 7am every morning but made it a point to be on the ice by 6:50am every morning to work on skating drills or get in a few extra shots every day. Even something as small as 10 extra minutes every day makes a huge difference when working on the little things to make your game better! 

A lot of young athletes think they are working hard but don't really know what hard work means. Please describe what hard work looks like or what hard work is in your eyes:

Some young athletes will try to do more when they know the coach is watching or try extra hard because someone they want to impress is in the stands. This isn’t hard work. Hard work is going the extra mile when no one is watching. To me, hard work is all about the little things. Making sure you do the little things right until they become a habit and you no longer need to think about them. 

How do you think young people that want to play DI hockey should prepare? When should they start?

Young athletes that want to play DI should always want to be on the ice and do more to constantly challenge themselves. Always try to get on the ice with players who are better than you- (it can be always matching yourself up against the best player on your team or practicing with the team above you).  By surrounding yourself with players that are better than yourself, it will force you to push yourself to be better. Also, work on the little things. Make it a habit to be the first one on the ice and the last one off, coaches will notice. 

A lot of young athletes think that they can 'coast' into playing DI hockey. What do you think about that?

There is no way you can coast into playing any level of college hockey. There are thousands of players out there, if you aren't working - they are! If you have skill, don't take it for granted. Get on the ice and make yourself better!

Any additional information that you would like to share with young hockey players:

Have fun!! The demanding schedule of playing college hockey isn't easy. If you don’t enjoy playing hockey, you won't be able to push through the hard days. If you have fun with what you are doing, you will want to be on the ice more and you will want to make yourself better.

Give some advice to young hockey players:

Practice, practice, practice! Hard work pays off, it really does.

If you want to know what to work on, think about what you don't like doing.

You don't like skating backwards? You probably need to work on that more then.

You don't use your snap shot much? It probably isn't that strong and you should practice it more!

Take the weak point of your game and work on it until it is one of your strongest assets.

In short, here are the key guidelines:

  1. Start preparing for college hockey before high school.
  2. Do the little things.
  3. Hard work is everything.
  4. Weight train 3-4 times per week.
  5. Condition 2-3 times per week.
  6. Go the extra mile when no one is watching.
  7. Get on the ice as much as possible.
  8. An extra ten minutes can go a long way.
  9. Make it a habit to be the first one on the ice and the last one off.
  10. Have fun!


Erin Krichiver

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