Monday, October 29, 2018


One of the dominoes from Eli 17.2 not playing travel hockey this year is that the last two months have been very, very different for him.

Practices would have started in mid-August, and he would have played games every weekend from the first of September forward. His old team has already taken three trips for games longer than six hours, and another longer than four.

Basically, when you're playing AAA hockey, it's not about development--it's about display. You're on display, and you play a ton of games with scouts present (although for most kids, those scouts aren't there to watch you), but the schedule is so difficult that kids don't really develop during the season.

Why would travel hockey be set up so that kids don't have enough development time? Well, you already know the answer, and it's money. Teams need to play sixty games for everyone to make their money, and to hell with the optimum development schedule.

Not this year.

It wasn't voluntary, but Eli is making the most of his new situation. He's working out 2+ hours a day--hard, intense workouts. He's still skating 2-3 days a week.

This has changed him physically.

He was already a ridiculously strong kid for his weight (147 pounds of fury, as he likes to say), but his strength has gone off the charts. His back squat max now is 365. That's over a hundred pounds more than it was just a few months ago.

Also, we have a dunker in the family now (hint: it's not me).

So, at 6 1/2", he can dunk, which I think means his vertical leap is around 35". That translates directly into explosiveness, which is a huge part of what goalies do in the crease.

He had a lesson yesterday with two college players shooting on him. They scored twice in an hour.

Now, does this mean he'll be superhuman in net this season (team practices finally start this week)? I don't know. All I know is that his level of physical dominance is pretty unbelievable, and his technical skill is very high, and I hope that combines into something special.

Oh, and I'll get video of him dunking. He did it at school last week, so I didn't see it (although I've seen him dunk volleyballs with extreme prejudice, so I'm not surprised, because he was getting very close).

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