As the hockey season ramps up, we wanted to take a look at what it takes to be an Allen Americans player. What does a normal day look like? What are the ups and downs?
Today, we have insights from three of the team’s players on everything from regular routines to their eating habits and hobbies.
“There’s really no such thing as an average day during the season,” says player David Makowski. “Every day is different and I’m always focused on preparing myself to be ready for a game. It usually consists of working out, stretching, eating well and resting.”
The team spends many of their days during the season commuting to games and traveling around the country, which can be draining, especially when combined with rigorous practices and other events.
“Rest is a weapon,” adds player Johnny McInnis. “I’m a firm believer in recovering the right way. Playing such a high-paced game makes it tough for a lot of us to relax and just let our bodies rest, but over the years, I have learned that staying off your feet and stretching can really help you get a mental and physical rest.
Sometimes, the players are on the road for long periods of time, which gives them many hours to prepare for upcoming games while also pursuing some of their own hobbies.
“I’ve had lengthy road trips for as long as I can remember,” says player Kevin Sundher. “It’s almost second nature now. It’s a great opportunity to bond with the guys, and as long as I have my iPad, laptop and headphones for the bus, I’m a happy man.”
The fast-paced schedules of the players aren’t just physically exhausting, but also mentally fatiguing. It takes a great deal of effort to keep your head in the game, especially when homesickness plagues you.
“The biggest struggle for me is always the time spent away from family and friends back home,” says McInnis. “The season gets so busy sometimes I can hardly keep up with communication from everyone. It’s tough when they don’t always get to see me play or I miss birthdays, holidays, etc. But you create such a bond with your teammates and staff that they become your family during the season.”
Staying healthy is also a challenge on the road. Players need to eat right, keep their bodies in shape, and stay mentally prepared for the games ahead.
“During the season, we burn a lot of calories, so I think we can get away with a little more diet-wise than most,” says McInnis. “But I do find that I perform better when I stick to my eating regimen. Personally, I love to cook, so my diet is usually a pretty good mix of proteins like eggs, chicken breast, steak, and even ground turkey. I also need to get some vegetables in me, so I stick to avocados, zucchini, and asparagus.”
Injuries are also common during the season, and for some players, they can pose a big setback for both games and practices.
“I’ve been injured most of the season,” says Sundher. “It’s an arm injury, so I haven’t been able to play with the puck at all. Being injured is always tough, especially at the start of the season. I spend less time skating with the guys, and we’ve had lots of road trips so I haven’t been able to spend time with them. I’m looking forward to getting back at in the near future and helping the team win some games.”
Despite the long days of travel and the continuous exertion the players face, they all understand that playing for the Allen Americans is a unique and wonderful opportunity.
“It’s a privilege to be here,” says Sundher. “There’s a great support system from the fans, and the organization has a history of success for a reason.”
After winning four championships in the last decade, the Allen Americans have established an impressive name for themselves in the world of professional hockey.
“This is such an unbelievable organization,” said Makowski. “Not many professional sports teams accomplish what the Allen Americans have done in 10 years. Our owner, management, coaches and staff provide the players with everything we need to be successful and make it such an awesome place to play. You can ask most of the players on the other teams in the league where their number one place to play would be and the answer is usually Allen. If it isn’t, they’ve never been here.”
To see these guys in action, along with their many other teammates, check out an upcoming game at the Allen Event Center. On December 1, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will pay a visit to support their favorite team. Then, on December 21, some of your favorite DC Comic characters will stop by.
Learn more about the Allen Americans’ game schedule or buy tickets by visiting www.allenamericans.com.
*Article sponsored by the Allen Americans Hockey Team