Maj. Dave Andersen, part time junior hockey league coach, and founder of the week-long hockey intensive known as Boot Camp Hockey, watches as his student athletes stretch after a demanding skating drill. Photo by: Cpl. Lameen Witter
Editor's note: Maj. David Anderson is a great Marine and an exemplary journalist. As director of Marine Public Affairs NYC, he authored the story which influenced my writing more than any other
"We Never Leave Our Brothers Behind". MB
Marine uses Corps techniques to train hockey players
(Reprint from Marines.mil, October 12, 2005)
Lake Placid, N.Y.(Oct. 12, 2005) --
'Left, right, left, right' Double Time!' And just like that, the pristine peace and quiet of the Lake Placid was broken recently by the cadence of a Marine as the young New York Apple Core's
Future Stars Junior 'C' minor team hustled down the town's main road for Boot Camp Hockey.
Maj. Dave Andersen, an active-duty Marine, part time junior hockey league coach, and founder of the week-long hockey intensive known as Boot Camp Hockey, said he drew his inspiration for the program from his years as a Basic School instructor at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va. Having played hockey all his life, Andersen began to see similarities between the demands of hockey and that of the Marine Corps.
'I just took the leadership techniques and principles I
have been studying for the past 19-plus years and put it into a school format
that all pointed back to hockey,' said Andersen. 'I then developed an ' operations and logistics' plan to support the concept and it was born. With my experience, it actually came natural,' said Andersen.
As Andersen cultivated his idea, he borrowed a concept from Officer's Candidate School and The Basic School where the students actually run the school on their own as they are supervised by the staff and then critiqued by their peers. Andersen then further intensified his program by making the training as physically demanding as possible while still focusing on the fundamentals of honor, courage, and commitment.
'I force responsibility on the student athletes by having them run everything,' said Andersen. 'They are supervised and through many different techniques, they come out better leaders. They learn a lot about themselves and then receive counseling on how they can improve certain aspects of their leadership ' most have never had this much responsibility!'
Andersen, having established a relationship with Lake Placid's Olympic venues, unleashed his hockey intensive at the Olympic Training Center and the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena. Trying to invoke the spirit of America's gold medal winning Hockey team of 1980, Andersen felt his decision would be inspirational to his athletes and hopefully create their own 'miracle on ice.'
'The relationship is unique, but it goes hand-in-hand with my message,' said Andersen. 'I let them know that where we literally stand is where the greatest sport's miracle of our century was accomplished by athletes not much different from them ' and that they have it in them as well!'
Now, in its second year, Andersen's Boot Camp Hockey continues to take shape. Mike Gestone, one of Andersen's student athletes, can already see how Boot Camp Hockey has enhanced his ability as a hockey athlete.
''I've been playing hockey for like ten years. One time we did a tournament up in Montr'al. It was tied up 2-2 with seven minutes left in the period and we scored. The pressure was there though. It's sort of like Coach Andersen says, hockey is like a battle in war. It gets frustrating and there are a lot of clashes and stuff like that, but in the long run this training is going to help us through stuff like that. Right now, it's tough, but eventually we'll get through it, and we'll have a better team,' said Gestone.
Now, nearing retirement in the Marine Corps, Andersen turns his attention further to the future of his hockey program.
'I recently reached an agreement with the State University of New York at Morrisville, just south of Syracuse, to run the camp full time next summer. The plan is for about 5-8 weeks, and I will have the camp for ages 12 and up,' said Andersen.
Andersen is also currently looking for Marines who will be free next summer to 'drill' his hockey recruits. Candidates need to have a quality hockey background, such as college or junior 'A' experience and be free for the entire summer. Andersen will be accepting applicants until May 2006. Those interested can email Andersen at Andersendc@hqmc.usmc.mil. For more information on Boot Camp Hockey visit www.bootcamphockey.com.