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Nottawasaga Weeks 1 and 2: We Meet Again
August 24, 2012
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On a gorgeous August morning the 2001 Toronto Marlboros reconvened once again to revisit "the place where it all began"; the Nottawasaga Resort.  Coach Gialedakis, five chaperones and a team of eager beavers packed their vehicles and were on their way to create lifelong memories.


Very much like last year's camp the team faced long, very intense days of training.  Their days consisted of 2 ninety minute on ice sessions run by Coach Gialedakis, 3 off ice sessions run by Joe Costa of Mind to Muscle as well as the chaperones.  If you think that this sounds like a lot to handle, throw in class time every day followed by homework after dinner and folks we have ourselves a one of a kind, unique training experience that one would model after professionally run athletic camps.  The fundamental differences between the previous year's camp was that a) this camp would run for 2 weeks and b) Coach Gialedakis would introduce the boys to a high ranking official as well as former NHL hockey player to bring another facet to the team's learning. 


Coach Gialedakis' goal was to continue the high calibre training that his team grew accustomed to.  He set a foundation in the 2011 camp along with intense training throughout last year's season which would be a huge part of the upcoming season.  "Expectations are high" says Gialedakis, "we returned to Nottawasaga to treat our players like pros.  We chose this resort because it has all of the amenities to deliver top notch training in a high end facility." Couple this with five dedicated chaperones who feed, hydrate and support the team and we have a winning environment.  The chaperones also worked tirelessly to ensure that the players had optimum conditions in order to endure the physical components of their training.  This meant GREAT and nutritious meals followed by rest and relaxation.  Toss in the odd salt bath and bam, the boys were good as new! 


The team met physical challenges that tested their will to continue each and every day.  Their muscles ached, their minds were full of new information and new bonds were formed daily.  When asked what he thought of camp, one of the returning players said, "It's very hard and I feel so tired every night but I feel like I'm getting better every single day.  I know how to push myself and exceed my limits."  After speaking to a new player to the Marlboros and getting his feedback on what was a brand new experience, he said, "I had the best time this week.  It was hard work but I still had a lot of fun.  I can't wait until the season begins." 


Class time consisted of your basic game teaching skills as well as having the players learn the difference between being a hockey player and an elite athlete.  Coach Gialedakis' goal was to have the team think "big" and put zero limitations upon themselves.  Thinking like an athlete rather than just a hockey player encompasses every facet of great athletics rather than simply one.  This was reflected in the team's work books and self-evaluations.  The boy's notes had them "thinking outside the box" in a way that showed them that there are several paths to success and the hard work they put in today would be reflected in what they attain in the future. 


All in all week one was a huge success.  The players returned to their families late Thursday evening for a weekend of rest and recovery only to meet again for week two early Monday morning. 


Monday morning brought about a lot of excitement.  The team approached week 2 with even greater insight than the week before.  Their bond was stronger and their motivation was at an all-time high.  Coach Gialedakis had a few surprises for the team in their second week of camp.  A high ranking official came to the rink to offer some much anticipated advice pertaining to some "new calls" that would be a bigger part of this seasons games due to the introduction of contact.  He also had former NHL star, Jeff O'Neill come speak to the team and offer words of wisdom and encouragement.  The boys were very excited about being in the presence of a former NHL player that they picked his brain about hockey, sacrifice and expectations.   The team later gathered together in front of a large bonfire to exchange stories, sing songs and clinch the feeling of camaraderie that grew stronger over the last 2 weeks. 


As the week drew to a close the mental and physical growth of the team was apparent.  They thought twice about what they ate, they made exercise a priority and they treated one another as brothers.  A team united in the relentless pursuit of success.

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