Carry On Luggage Only

In August of 2017 I was the Creative Director of Perfect Skating, a hockey development company that works with NHL players from around the world. Their founder, Shawn Allard, asked me to meet up with him in Switzerland to document his travels and work as he trained players in Switzerland, Sweden, and then across the United States. It was a bit of a last minute decision and the itinerary of the trip was still being worked out as I was jumping between trains and flights to get from Ottawa, ON to Bern, Switzerland.

Prepping for the unknown

All I really knew was that I would need to be able to film on the ice, record podcasts, take pictures, and be ready for any impromptu adventures Shawn decided to go on to get extra content while he had me around. Those adventures, as far as I knew from what he had floated, ranged from altitude training in the Swiss Alps and Colorado Rockies, to the desert of California or fishing in Wisconsin.

Given I could only bring carry on luggage, I used my clothing to wrap cameras, drone, audio gear, and fit it all in a single backpack. I put my skates, extra clothing, footwear, and computer in a small suitcase. By the end of the trip I had mastered packing it all up given that at almost every airport security line I had to pull it all out to have it inspected. Apparently you can actually bring sharp skates in your carry on, who knew?

Finally, I got on the ice

After a 26 hour journey starting in Ottawa including four trains, two flights, and a bus through a tiny German town, I met up with Shawn in the capital of Switzerland (Bern). I had been on the ice once or twice before with NHL players, but not quite like this. In Bern I had full access. All the guys Shawn was training knew I was coming and were pretty easy going about me being around.

The first session or two I was a little more cautious, but as I got to know the athletes in a given city, I was able to get a bit more creative. I have always been a pretty good skater myself, so the challenge of trying to keep up and get interesting shots while skating at full speed was a lot of fun for me. I even got to pick up a stick and play around every now and then which was pretty surreal.

Always On The Move

Typically, we’d meet up with the athletes in the morning, do a quick workout in the gym and then hit the ice for a few hours. Then Shawn and I would head out to film more content based on the location we were in.

In Switzerland it was attitude training in the Alps. In Sweden, Viktor Arvidsson too us to his parents cottage home for a traditional Swedish meat and potatoes meal. In Los Angelas, we met up with Kevin Miller and did a quick podcast at a cryotherapy studio. Colorado was stair training at the Red Rock Amphitheater and in Wisconsin Craig Smith took us out fishing to record a podcast on his boat.

I got destroyed in Ping Pong by Roman Josi, got to fly my drone at the Top of Europe where they shot a James Bond movie, and ate a six course meal in a remote Swiss mountain village that was based entirely on the mushrooms they foraged for that morning. I never had a chance to adjust to a given time zone and probably never got more than 4 hours of sleep, but it was worth it.

I hope to create a mini doc of the trip from all the footage I have soon, but in the meantime you can checkout this quick video that focuses on a lot of the work Shawn was doing.

NHL Off-Season