Born to Skate
Jun 26, 2009
by Kami York-Feirn
What happens on the ice at hockey games is no mystery to die hard fans, but few people know what goes on behind the scenes. From players’ strict workout regimens to their favorite summer hobbies and activities, little is known about what happens during the AHL off season. Some players like to soak up the sun on a relaxing vacation while some like to spend time with friends and family. Still others like to play tennis and relax by the pool.
Admirals goaltender Mark Dekanich would certainly enjoy all of those, but this summer his focus lies on the 2009-10 season. To that end, he won’t spend this summer at home in North Vancouver. Instead he will be down in Nashville working out with other Predator players to improve his game and get ready for next season. Dekanich gives 110% during the off-season but it has been a long and trying road to get to where he is today.
From the moment Dekanich was born he was destined to be a hockey player.
“My father played professional hockey when he was younger and my mother was a professional figure skater. I was practically born on the ice,” Dekanich said.
Dekanich started playing hockey at age 10 when he and some friends put together a summer team. The group didn’t have a goalie yet so Dekanich volunteered, mostly because he thought the “gear looked cool.”
While in college at Colgate University, Dekanich saved pucks by day and hit the books by night. He took his first internship at a financial planning firm in Wellesley, MA with one of his teammates but was unsure of his real interest in the subject.
“I don’t know if it’s something I would want to go into. Hopefully by the time I’m done playing hockey, I won’t have to work, but we’ll see,” said Dekanich.
Attending college outside of Canada sparked an interest for Dekanich in a country that was anything but familiar to him. He decided to take an American history course during the second semester of his freshman year.
“Since I am from Canada, we never really learned American history in school so I started taking classes… by the time we had to choose our major, I thought, this was something I really enjoyed,” noted Dekanich.
But when asked what he would want to be if he hadn’t gotten a shot at professional hockey, he said he would like to help his dad out with the family business.
So does this all-star goaltender ever get a break from eating, sleeping and breathing hockey? Not really. Less than a month after the season ended, Dekanich is headed to the Nashville Predators training facility in Tennessee. While in Nashville, he will work with coaching staff to improve his speed and agility and mentally prepare for what could be his biggest season yet.
“I am excited to get the opportunity to possibly be the starting goalie for the Admirals next season. I’ll be working hard [in Nashville] so I can come back stronger and show the team what I can do,” said Dekanich.
While Dekanich will be on the ice for most of the summer, he is trying to make room for some fun, relaxing activities as well.
“Obviously I train a lot. I am in the gym several hours per day. I like to try and play golf as much as I can though I am not very good, but I get by. And I really like to visit with my family and friends since I don’t get to see them a lot during the season. I also want to make it down to Jamaica for vacation this summer,” said Dekanich.
With all these tiring workouts on his agenda, Dekanich sometimes needs a little extra motivation.
“I spend most of my time doing strength and conditioning exercises as well as plyometrics and riding the bike. I usually just listen to whatever is on in the training room at the time but if I had to choose a favorite artist, I would say T-pain is pretty hot right now,” said Dekanich.
Dekanich also gets a little superstitious before games and has several pre-game rituals. For starters, on each game day, he eats at the same time, takes a nap at the same time and gets dressed the same way. In addition, he does the same warm up on ice before every game. All these routines help get him both mentally and physically prepared for each game.
At the end of the day it comes down to the principle of you only get out how much you put in but Dekanich puts in 110 percent everyday. All his hard work will hopefully pay off next season as he is anxious to be the frontrunner for the starting goalkeeper position.
“Hopefully this opportunity will continue to move us [the team] in the right direction,” said Dekanich. “It will be exciting to go into training camp with the opportunity that has been put in front of me. I look forward to it and will be training hard all summer for it.”