Admirals and the Navy
Posted By: Aaron Sims
I’ve had many cool experiences in my time as the play-by-play announcer of the Milwaukee Admirals but the coolest may have happened yesterday.
The team headed to Naval Station Great Lakes
to train with a group of young men that hope to become Navy SEALs
. Admirals head coach Lane Lambert remembered when the Nashville Predators visited an Army base as a team-building exercise and wanted to replicate it with his team.
The day started at 8 a.m. in a classroom where the Chiefs explained what the SEALs do, what the training is like and what the Admirals could expect for the day. After 45 minutes, the team headed to a football field on campus to begin the workout. Milwaukee had 22 players and strength & conditioning coach Jason Nordby take part in the workouts. The team was split into five teams of four players and one team of three. Each team was joined by four SEALs hopefuls. The six teams were based on size. The smaller players were with the smaller SEALs and the bigger players were joined by the bigger hopefuls. As part of the warmups, players and SEALs carried one another 30 yards, then switched partners and came back.
On the field, three of the teams started racing sleds. The teams had to push a sled across the artificial turf 30 yards, turn and head back to the goal line. The other three teams ran a mini-obstacle course. There were hurdles spaced ten yards apart. At the 30-yard line was a small hurdle the competitors had to crawl through. They then had to crabwalk back to the starting line. Several coaches kept times and score. After a while, the three teams flip-flopped with one another.
After about 40 minutes of these exercises, one of the civilian coaches, Kyle Schlicher, held a field goal competition. Each of the six teams had the opportunity to kick a 25 yard field goal. The winning team would face Kyle in the finals. One team had four members make the 25-yarder.
Admirals defenseman Teemu Laakso was chosen to represent his team against the former Hawkeye. The distance was pushed back to 50 yards. Schlicher’s kick was perfect. Laakso, whose 25-yard make was the first time he ever kicked a football, also drilled it from 50. The distance was pushed back to 55 yards. Schlicher’s kick was dead-on. Laakso’s kick was dead center, but ended roughly two yards shy.
The group then jogged about ¾ mile to a beach on Lake Michigan for the next evolution. Cones were set approximately 25 yards apart with a total distance being roughly 150 yards. Players paired with a SEAL. The race started with a 25-yard fireman’s carry. The tandem switched positions and ran back to the start.
The teams then sprinted that same 25 yards to get to a giant tire. The teams had to flip the tire over for 25 yards then flip it back to where that segment started.
The next segment saw the teams crawl on their bellies for 25 yards and back to the start.
After the crawl was the piggy-back part of the race. One person carried the other for 25 yards while the other returned the favor back to the start.
The next segment had a 45 pound weight in the sand for each participant. Both had to lift the weight over their heads, run for 25 yards and return with the weight. The evolution finished with a sprint for 50 yards. It took the teams between seven and eight minutes to complete the tasks.
Admirals defenseman Scott Lehman earned a trophy as he was selected the MVP of the workouts by the Chiefs on-hand as witnesses.
After the workouts, the Navy grilled hamburgers, chicken and brats for everyone involved. A band comprised of Navy SEALs hopefuls played while everyone ate. It was so cool to see our players mingle with the young men that hope to become SEALs. They ate together and shared stories…a very cool scene.
After lunch, we had an “American Gladiators”-style joust competition. It was set up as a tournament where hockey players and SEALs would compete against one another. In the end, Admirals forward Kelsey Wilson won the joust.
The hockey players compared very favorably to the Navy SEALs hopefuls which was most impressive.
Admirals assistant captain Aaron Johnson told me how much fun the players had. He also stated the team has so much respect for the determination and mental strength the SEALs had.
All-in-all, it was a very cool day.