In between the Victoria Royals’ pre-season and regular season schedule, the players are still training hard.
After a morning of conditioning on the ice, they headed over to the CFB Esquimalt Naval Fleet School (Pacific) Friday to run a series of drills at the Naval Boarding Party Cell.
The drills are designed to simulate boarding an enemy ship, and included climbing a loose ladder, shooting targets through an obstacle course, and running through a simulated ship filled with smoke and strobe lights, with an aim of shooting rival hockey team logos, and even a military member in thick protective gear.
The players were armed with real C-8’s filled with Simunition – fake ammunition similar to those used in paint ball guns.
For head coach Dan Price, the drills offered yet another way for the team to come together.
“You know [there are] so many, I think, similar circumstances when you’re training in a military context or athletic context,” Price said. “You’re relying on each other from a teamwork perspective, you have to build trust and respect for each other and there’s always a competitive and physical and mental component to it as well.”
Some of the players had run similar drills in previous years with firefighters, but they said the navy training something entirely different.
“In the firing range I thought it was pretty unreal to experience what the soldiers are experiencing out there,” said Royals forward player Dante Hannoun. “Just going through this little exercise was pretty cool, and like video games I’d say.”
Defence player Ralph Jarratt felt it was a unique way to continue building team spirit.
“I think they’ve gotta do the exact same thing, they’ve got to work together, team building and it’s the same as us on the ice in my opinion,” Jarratt said. “I think it brings us together as a team .”