Hansen: It’s Tourney Time in Dubai!
“Sand in the Skates” is the personal blog of goalie Kristian Hansen, who is fighting to earn an NCAA D-I scholarship from all the way in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Kristian was born in Calgary, but his family relocated overseas when he was four years old. You can follow him on Twitter at @K_Hansen95 and follow his blog as he sheds light on his life in Dubai!
Well I have to start this week’s edition with the best news I’ve heard in a long time — the NHL lockout is over! Thank god I can finally change my homepage from NFL.com back to the good ol’ NHL.com!
Back out here in Dubai, over these next few months, my skills are going to be tested a lot! Our Under-20 team has been lined up with three, maybe four, tournaments in four months. The three confirmed tournaments are held in the regions of Al-ain (Abu Dhabi), Doha (Qatar), and here in Dubai! I’ll do special posts for all those tournaments, and you can also follow me on twitter for continuous updates @K_Hansen95.
Over the winter break, I got the opportunity to play a lot of hockey. With our U-20 team training for all of the upcoming tournaments, we took every ice time we could get. When I wasn’t one the Ice I was at the gym, and it feels like it’s working, as I’m much faster going down and getting up then I was last year!
The starting position is still up for grabs, and that’s my focus right now. I started the last game, which was a big accomplishment for me, considering it was only my second game on the team. It’s not easy being the youngest player in my division, my team, and on my tournament teams, as it can be pretty hard to earn the respect of the players. After that game, however, I felt really good about the chemistry of our team, and we’re going to need all the help we can get, especially during the tournaments!
During the game that I started, I had to focus a lot on not over-complicating things. I’ve been told that’s my major downfall. Apparently, I always go for the big glove save when I’m nervous, instead of just letting it hit me in the chest. We got off to a bad start, allowing at least 15 shots in the first 10 minutes.
Three or four times I swore the puck was in, just before I heard the loud “PING” of the puck bouncing off the posts. I swore I was going to start sending the posts Christmas cards after that game. After one big glove save, the momentum switched and we got a couple of quick goals, and after that I switched out with the other goalie. It’s still technically “pre-season”, so we’re still splitting the time so the coach can get a better idea of our skill level.
There’s a mental “zone” you need to get into before a game, because playing the toughest position in the world isn’t easy. Everyone looks to blame everything on the goalie, but it had to go through five guys before it slipped through the five-hole! Take Malcolm Subban in the World juniors for example; lots of people want to blame everything on him just because of the statistics.
But what you have to remember is that this isn’t a math test; this is completely different kind of test where your mental strength is just as important as your physical strength. That’s why I call this the greatest position in the world.
Yesterday I was at school, and on my way back to class, someone running past me hit me from behind. I wasn’t expecting to be hit, and landed on my back pretty hard. After a long sleepless night, I got into the physiotherapy office. It isn’t my first time in that office and it won’t be my last. I was waiting for bad news from Tim my physiotherapist, but received everything except bad news.
Tim told me it was really nothing, and it would be gone in a few days. The pressure moment was when I asked him if I could go to practice, and after a few more tests I was cleared for practice, which is a serious relief because we have a special tournament practice tonight! I’ll get you the updates on that next week.
Thanks for reading my blog! I really appreciate it. I have lots of stories to tell, and thanks to the continued support from Justin at The Goalie Guild, I get the opportunity to tell them. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter!