Josh Pauls: ‘This season, I intend to be great’

The American forward shares why the summer is not a time to slack off from ice sledge hockey. 06 Aug 2013
Josh Pauls

The USA's Josh Pauls takes the puck away from Russia's Vadim Selyukin in their semi-final game at the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool in Goyang, Korea.

By Josh Pauls

The offseason, for me at least, isn’t about taking time off. The offseason is a time of growth to get bigger, faster, and stronger.

Hey everyone, I’m Josh Pauls, a player for the US national ice sledge hockey team.

I’m 20, and hockey has been a huge part of my life for the past 12 or 13 years, but especially the past five.

Being on the national team had been my goal since I started playing sledge hockey, and the coolest thing was to be a part of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, where we went 5-0 and didn’t allow a goal throughout the tournament.

By far, this was the best thing I’ve ever been a part of, but I am hoping to top that in 2014 in Sochi.

I’m a college student in Missouri, but New Jersey is originally where I called home. I’m not sure where my college education will take me, but I am hoping my degree in sport management will lead somewhere involving hockey.

So, without further ado, the topic of my first blog is hockey in the summer time.

Summer is an awesome time of the year. There’s great weather, it’s a perfect time to go to the beach, and best of all, school’s out.

There is one problem, though. There isn’t any hockey.

The NHL season is over, IIHF World Championships are over, and a bunch of ice rinks are melting down the ice for repair.

So what’s a hockey player to do?

This is our offseason. A time to relax for some, and I’ll be honest, I took a few weeks off after I finished school for the year to unwind.

However, the offseason, for me at least, isn’t about taking time off. The offseason is a time of growth to get bigger, faster, and stronger. The gym is a huge part of the offseason, especially since ice is so hard to find this time of year. Working on the physical aspect of hockey as opposed to the technical aspect is the biggest part of the summer.

While ice is tough to find, it is not impossible. I keep a good relationship with local rink managers to ensure I get ice whenever they find it available and that really helps.

The most ice I get during the summers though, is the USA Sled Hockey Player Development Camp. This was my third year coaching the camp, and I went as a player before that.

While coaching doesn’t give as much opportunity to improve as being on the ice as a player, hopping into drills and working on the mental side of the game help improve my game while coaching. Tryouts followed the camp and that was where the most competition in the summer comes from. We played a series of games for the tryout and the competition was fierce. It really was the best on ice workout I’ve had this summer.

Summer is definitely full of minimal ice time and the polar opposite of hockey weather, but that doesn’t mean it’s a time of slacking off.

On the contrary, the offseason for hockey players is the time where improvement is made and work ethic is tested.

The offseason is what makes the good athletes great.

And this season, I intend to be great.

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