Hockey is fast. The puck turns into a black dot jumping back and forth across a white canvas. Following it gives your eyes a workout. And if you blink, you might find that black dot settled comfortably in the back of the net — how it got there, you can’t be sure.
Hockey is loud. Skate blades scratch across the ice. Sticks tap. The puck makes a dead slap as it flies off the stick and eventually clangs off the cross bar.
Hockey is cold. There’s the chilly ambient air temperature when you’re down close to the ice, but it’s more than that. The mist of ice crystals flying off the skates of the players sends signals through your eyes, to your brain, which sends the appropriate shiver to your extremities.
But hockey is undeniably cool. Especially if you’re there, ice-level, your face reflecting in the clear boards that enclose the rink, watching the Utah Grizzlies, a minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames, gliding around the ice at the Maverik Center — a 10-minute drive from USANA’s corporate office — on a bright, crisp fall morning.
On this particular day, the Grizz were readying themselves for their home opener. During myriad drills you could see the future stars of the NHL flying past the pair of USANA Health Sciences logos that adorn the boards near the corners.
Although USANA is just a small part of the visual experience of the day’s practice, it’s an essential part of the daily routine for the men skating on the ice. USANA isn’t just a sponsor; we provide the Grizz with MyHealthPaks, Nutrition Bars, and Nutrimeal shakes.
Grizzlies’ defensemen Brock Wilson, left, said MyHealthPak is an important part of his morning and afternoon. Wilson also eats a bar before games so he has the energy to perform at his best.
Many of the Grizzlies we talked to use the bars and shakes before and after practices, games, or workouts. Jake Gannon said he even eats a bar between periods to stay fueled during the games. His teammate, defenseman Brian Kilburg, right, has had to rely on the shakes, though. Kilburg broke his jaw the first day of practice, and hasn’t been able to chew anything for a couple of weeks.
Whether it’s the shakes, bars, or pouches of MyHealthPak, the important thing is proper nutrition, Brent Gauvreau, left, said. Over his 11 years in pro hockey, Gauvreau has found that nutrition has to play a big part in the game. And he said he especially loves how the convenience of MyHealthPak allows him to take his supplements on the road with him.
USANA will be with all the Grizzlies as they jump into ECHL play in their quest for the 2011 Kelly Cup. To follow the Grizz this season, head over to www.utahgrizzlies.com.
Good luck Grizzlies!
Photos by Peter Iccabazzi