UND moving hockey practices to mornings this season
UND coach Brad Berry noticed something during holiday breaks last season: Practices seemed to be excellent.
Whenever there was no school, the coaching staff would move practice from the normal mid-afternoon time slot to mornings.
"I thought we were sharp on a daily basis," Berry said. "We were getting up in the morning, coming together as a group, and starting the day that way."
That change will now be permanent.
The Fighting Hawks will now regularly practice in the mornings -- roughly 9 or 9:15 a.m. -- instead of the mid-afternoons.
Berry said the change is two-fold.
No. 1: He hopes to get sharper practices from the players.
No. 2: Morning practices will open up the late morning and entire afternoon for classes.
"We thought about it," Berry said. "Other teams in college hockey are practicing in the mornings and going to classes in the late morning and early afternoon. It's more of what teams are doing nowadays.
"Academics are very important and preparing for the weekend is very important. This is a change we wanted to make to maximize both of them."
The hockey team isn't the only one trying this change.
The UND football team also moved practices to mornings this season.
Although the hockey coaches have only been able to be on the ice with the team a few times this fall, Berry said the change has been positive thus far.
"It's been very good," Berry said. "We're very limited with our (practice time) right now, but in saying that, it's been intense. Guys have been ultra-focused. I'll give them credit. They've done a good job getting up early, getting to the rink, focusing on practice and getting to class in the late mornings, early afternoons and throughout the day.
"It puts the onus on them to make sure their hydration, nutrition and rest are good. I think it's been good so far and it's something we're excited about moving forward here."
UND opens with an exhibition against the University of Manitoba on Oct. 5. It opens the regular season at home in Ralph Engelstad Arena against Canisius College on Oct. 11-12.