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Hilary Knight Explains How To Compile And Prepare An All-Star Hockey Team For Worlds

By Hilary Knight, Two-Time Olympic Silver Medalist | April 02, 2016, 7:26 p.m. (ET)

I am currently writing from IIHF Women’s World Championship in British Columbia, Canada! I am assuming you have been following all the fun tournament action. Our team is currently 3 and 0 and getting faster, stronger and more precise by the day. We have had a lot of on-ice success throughout the course of this tournament. Part of our on-ice successes during tournament time can be attributed to our pre-tournament preparation: training camp. Let me break down the process for you!

March 17:

All of the post collegiate players and the NCAA players who finished their seasons met in Everett, Washington for a pre-worlds training camp. We hopped off the planes from our respective homes and headed to the gym for some off-ice testing. Our strength and conditioning staff (Mike Boyle, Kevin Neeld and Sarah Cahill) keep close tabs on all of our off-ice training regimens. Testing is probably one of the last things that you want to do once you hop off a long plane ride, but it is a necessary part of our team’s development. Through close monitoring our strength and conditioning staff pushes us to get better (even though we are already a very competitive group!). After a handful of personal bests for multiple teammates we then head over to the rink to do some on-ice testing and then round out the day with a short practice session.

Day 1 in the books, but we are still missing our NCAA players competing in the Frozen Four tournament. And our Patty Kazmaier winner, Kendall Coyne. They won't join us for another few days, but we still have a ton of work to do. The U.S. national team gets together a few times throughout the year and we only have a finite amount of time to work on some of the skills together. Imagine a dream team comprised of the most talented players in the world, from all over the United States…that is our team. We have to come together from training in our respective locations and for our respective teams, some in college others in the National Women’s Hockey League or with the White Caps or even the men’s league – seems easy right? It’s actually really difficult figuring out how all the pieces of our puzzle work together, but we have an excellent coaching staff that prepares us for our opponents: the rest of the world.

We use our training camps as a way to re-familiarize ourselves with one another, our team systems, the way our D partners or how our forward linemates play. In addition to polishing up on our own talents and skills and collaborating with one another, our coaching staff teaches us new techniques and helps each one of us unlock new levels of our current skillsets. And with all this on-ice technical stuff happening, we are reunited with our national team family. See, most of us have grown up together in the U.S. program and we are all like family, so it’s great to get back with this group and not only play great hockey, but have a blast enjoying one another’s company.

March 25:

We load up the bus and head to Kamloops, British Columbia.

A lot happens on our bus ride. First we stop for some food and then we make an unscheduled stop. On the highway our bus passed by a car that had rolled over. Our team staff instructed our bus driver to pull the bus over so they could see if the people in the accident needed help or medical attention. I mean how about that — goes to show how lucky we are to have professional staff who are willing to help people, especially in emergency situations!! The driver of the overturned vehicle was shaken up, but assured our staff he was OK and help was on the way. Our non-eventful bus ride continues.

Since our bus ride there has been a lot of eating, sleeping, competing, laughing, and a whole bunch of foam rolling, warming up, cooling down, protein shakes, ice baths, cupping, massages, etc., and now we find ourselves three games played, three games won, and heading to the semifinals.

The second half begins...

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