The Olympic camps for several national teams are going on right now across the world, with the U.S. and Canada both underway in North America. If you didn't know, none of the teams can hold on-ice practices due to the fact that it costs a ridiculous amount of money to insure multi-million-dollar contracts for a few days of work.
That didn't prevent Team Canada's hopefuls from getting in some tactical work though. In Hockey Canada's facility in Calgary, head coach Mike Babcock got 40-plus grown men, who play this game for a lot of money, to run an entire practice in their sneakers.
Using only sticks, gloves, the all-important baseball hats to protect the “flow” and street hockey balls, some of the biggest stars in the NHL were running through drills and line rushes.
This is the elite of the world, people.
That's a lot of ground to cover without skates. They're probably just going to mess around for a bit, right?
Babcock is running a full up practice here. pic.twitter.com/jCIUj9wU1C— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) August 26, 2013
Nope. This is Mike Babcock we're talking about. Not a second wasted.
I know the NHL is getting restrictive on its new rules for goalie pads, but this seems a little extreme. At least let the guy strap some newspapers to his legs.
Cool scene here in Calgary at Team Canada Orientation Camp. Players going through walk-through of team concepts. pic.twitter.com/r0M51vqvKI— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) August 26, 2013
This may be the most Drew Doughty (No. 8) has run at one time in his adult life.
Sarnia, Ottawa, Oshawa/London. OHL alums. Pretty good lacrosse unit, too. pic.twitter.com/EIU0mfrzrT— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) August 26, 2013
"Hey, you guys think we're getting orange slices or bananas after practice?" -- "I don't care as long as I get a juice box."
Via Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, this Vine encapsulates the sheer absurdity of ball hockey on a full size hockey rink.
The one advantage Team Canada had over the rest of us who grew up playing ball hockey: No traffic.
So there you have it, folks. The defending Olympic gold medalists spent the morning chasing around an orange ball while wearing T-shirt jerseys with their names and numbers on the back. Hopefully everyone's mom was on time to make the pick up for car pool.