February 7, 2008

Women’s Hockey Pregame Meals Have All the Right Ingredients for Success

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Some things never change. Babe Ruth is said to have consumed a hotdog before every game in his heyday. Years later, Popeye the Sailor was noted for squeezing open a can of spinach and swallowing it in one giant gulp before rescuing Olive Oyl. Athletes and cartoon characters are very similar in that they must ingest an energizing and nutritious meal in order to perform their best. The women’s hockey team is no different.
“I like having the pregame meal just because it’s good to have a routine,” said junior defenseman Steph Ulrich. “I like to always do the same thing before games just so I can get myself into game mode. We usually eat pretty similar things.”
That routine has remained constant for every game played at Lynah Rink this season.
“For home games, if we don’t have class, we have a pregame skate around at 11,” Ulrich said. “After that we have a pregame meal around 1 or 1:30 at Appel. We can eat whatever we want, but a lot of times we choose to eat chicken and pasta. Then we head over to the rink at 5 [p.m.] if the home game starts at 7.” [img_assist|nid=27451|title=Zamboni or Rigatoni|desc=Junior Steph Ulrich (3) and the Red plan their pregame meals.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
These pre­game meals have become a tradition for the Red, a tradition that began with the players. No coaches or athletic trainers are present for meals at Appel as the players coordinate the carb-rich meals themselves. Although the coaches partake in pregame feasts on the road, neither meal nor routine ever change.
“Typically, for an away game, we will get there Thursday night and unload our stuff at the arena,” Ulrich said. “Then we go back to the hotel, usually eat something and head to bed around 11:30. In the morning we have breakfast at the hotel. Then we go over to the rink for a little pregame skate. It’s only a half hour practice in which we do the same drills every time. After that, we come back to the hotel and have lunch, which is always, always, always chicken, pasta and usually salad. Then, we have a little bit of down time before we have to be at the rink at 5 for a 7 [p.m.] game.
In order to maintain peak performance, Cornell understands it is not merely enough to eat properly. It is also vital to drink a lot of fluids to remain hydrated through a strenuous 60-minute contest.
“We drink a lot of beverages,” Ulrich said. “We like to load up. Coach always tells us we need to be peeing clear before a game. He doesn’t check though, thank goodness.”
For home games, sophomore forwards Laura Danforth and Liz Zorn ensure the entire team is properly nourished and hydrated even after taking the ice.
“This year, we decided that we wanted to try mixing the Gatorades,” Danforth said. “Usually they’re just one flavor, and usually it’s not very much flavor when our trainer does it. We asked her if we could do it and she gave us permission.”
Danforth explained that most of her teammates were hooked from the very beginning.
“The first time was a success,” she said. “We used a little more powder than usual, so they liked it more. It varies every week in terms of flavor. We usually mix two different colors together to make different ones. A few people are into it and like to try it, but some people don’t drink Gatorade during the game. One of our assistant coaches, coach Dani [Bilodeau ’01], actually tries the Gatorade after we make it.”
Danforth and Zorn each stressed that their Gatorade concoctions are a luxury enjoyed only at home, as assistant athletic trainer Linda Hoisington is in charge of filling the water bottles on road trips.
Although there are still a few players who do not drink the Gatorade, everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid as the team continues to fight for an ECAC playoff spot.