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Benefits of Going to Local Clinics

By Greg Bates, USA Hockey, 09/13/18, 12:00PM CDT

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Lomonaco’s confidence on the ice has skyrocketed. He was never a big hockey fan until his son picked up the sport and dad wanted to have a fun bonding experience.

Tom Lomonaco didn't care if he'd only been playing hockey for five months, he wanted to improve as quickly as possible.

So when he saw a local skills clinic on the calendar he jumped at the opportunity. Lomonaco was one of 12 players who participated in the clinic held at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina, this past winter.

“It was a great clinic,” Lomonaco said. “The instructors were great. It was just a great experience.”

That’s what Lomonaco really enjoyed – instruction in so many different areas of the sport. Lomonaco had some ideas prior to the clinic on what he wanted coaches to cover.

“I was definitely looking to get more stickhandling tips, shooting tips, just teammate work tips,” Lomonaco said. “I got all the above.

“I wasn’t expecting too much ice skating help, but they went over some good drills to run through on how to increase your skating proficiency.”

Lomonaco’s biggest takeaway from the weekend was working on shooting. He was instructed on how to create more power in his slap shots and wrist shots.

Each player at the clinic was given four hours of ice time over the two days. On Saturday, participants were on the ice for an hour and a half before taking a break to watch the Charlotte Checkers minor league hockey practice. After practice, the students returned to the ice for another 90-minute session. The next day, the players laced up their skates for an hour and then wrapped up the weekend by watching the Checkers beat the Springfield Thunderbirds. There were also off-ice chalk talk sessions where participants were able to ask questions of the coaches.

During Sunday’s session, the 12 players were split into four teams to play some games.

“I think I held my own,” Lomonaco said. “My team took second place out of the four teams.”

During the week, Lomonaco plays in the Old Time Hockey Association adult league in the intermediate division on Tuesday nights at the Extreme Ice Center in Charlotte. What he learned in the practice sessions will help him in games, he said.

“Before taking the clinic, I would get the puck and kind of look for the next person to pass to quickly,” Lomonaco said. “Which I still do, but I find myself taking the puck now and skating down ice, using some of the stickhandling tips that they gave and having a little more control with the puck and then passing often and maybe taking a shot myself.”

Lomonaco’s confidence on the ice has skyrocketed. He was never a big hockey fan until his son picked up the sport and dad wanted to have a fun bonding experience. But when Lomonaco’s son dropped hockey, he stayed with it.

“I love it,” Lomonaco said. “It would be great if I can be better. The better I can get, I’m sure the more I’ll enjoy it.”

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