The Toronto Marlboros 2001 AAA team converged at Canlan York, Toronto on August 29, 2011, for pre-season training camp. Having just wrapped up a prior week at Nottawasaga Resort Inn in Alliston, Ontario, the players were in great shape, physically and mentally, and ready for a focused week of conditioning and hockey.
The players kicked off each morning with dry-land work-outs which included a run and exercises focusing on core strength, quickness and agility. Each day they had two on-ice practices led by Coach Gialedakis. These sessions were intense and fast and featured high level, high tempo drills built on a foundation of power, agility and strength. They also had a second off-ice session daily led by Joe Costa of "Mind to Muscle" located in Mississauga. Joe had conducted evaluations on the players earlier in the summer and had helped establish individual training programs to enhance their physical development. By combining that knowledge with this second week of training, the boys reached a whole new level of physical development. To see their growth, day by day was really quite outstanding.
Coach Gialedakis scheduled time each day for class room mentoring and knowledge sharing which assisted in building a challenging and inspiring environment in which these young athletes could realize their potential. Playbooks were handed out and much like an official classroom setting; the boys learned the fundamentals of what was expected on the ice. They encouraged one another's mental recap of plays and systems and got a better grasp of the game. Coach Gialedakis commented on how impressed he was with how quickly his new team was picking up his hockey systems in the classroom and hoped that it would translate on the ice as well.
During this camp, Coach Gialedakis managed to bring out one of his past players, Jamie Oleksiak, who was drafted last June by the Dallas Stars 14th overall in the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota. Jamie was able to talk to the boys and participate in our practice. Jamie’s father, Richard Oleksiak, mentioned that Jamie was never Coach Gialedakis’ top defensemen at this early age. His success was attributed through Jamie’s hard work, determination and perseverance throughout his mentoring years. Coach Gialedakis said that Jamie’s story is truly amazing and should be inspirational to our players and their families.
Upon completing the "in class" portion of their training, the players ate healthy lunches at noon and had time to share stories, a few jokes and really bond as a team. The real beauty of week two was seeing these boys become friends not just team-mates; it was exceptional.
At the end of the week feeling exhausted yet exuberant at the same time, the team and their coaches were ready for the puck to drop and the 2011-2012 season to formally begin.