It was a long hard season for Ben O’Connor. After starting with Swedish side Leksands Ben returned to Sheffield mid-way through the year and then completed his season playing at the Pool A world championships, helping the national side secure their status in the elite group.
The summer has seen Ben spend time away with his family and friends whilst the batteries are recharged. Now, as he says in his own words he is getting “Twitchy” about the new season and training is in full flow.
“We say every year after the World Championships that we should just go on holiday,” Ben said, as he left the gym at the Institute of Sport to drive home. “So after the Wolrds ended on the 23rd May Davey, myself and our families jetted off on the 24th. It was so the right thing to do.
“After all the games, the stresses of the season we needed just to be away, it was only for 5 days but it was just what was needed.
“Better still after we got home Tess, Hallie and I were back on the plane and off to Spain for the family holiday. I think the body needs a rest and the mind does too
“Whilst in Spain I started running and the mind turns towards a new season. Once back home then the boys here in Sheffield meet every day to work out.
“Danny has a plan for each one of us, we start at 8.30 and go for a couple of hours. Our routines are different. Jonno can lift a house so he has a different plan from me for sure. Monday is legs for me. Tuesday upper body and cardio. Wednesday is conditioning, Thursday back on the legs and Friday it’s upper body and cardio again.
Benny hard at work every day in the gym.
“We’ve now even been on the ice a few times which is good. When you get to mid-end of July that’s when the “Twitch” gets going.
The summer though has seen Ben doing the “Normal” things and he likes it “I think people forget that we live hockey so much leading into the season and then through the winter. We are together every day and it’s 24/7.
“Sometimes you have to try and turn off, It’s nice to golf and we are lucky to be invited to some great golf days
“We’ve had BBQ’s, I’ve travelled up north to see my Mom, we’ve just relaxed a lot. It’s been different but it’s been good. I guess as you get older the family time becomes more important and I genuinely think that switching off for a few hours or a few days will be good for hockey as well”
Ben has also spent time with new head coach Aaron Fox “his golf needs some work” he says “he seems a great guy and I like what his views are on how the game should be played. I guess though we are all great guys in the summer. I’m excited with the team we are putting together but it’s only when we are all here we find out about ourselves
“How we react to a loss to Nottingham or back to back defeats. Aaron will find that out about us and us about him. I like his style though
“I try not to get too excited at this time of year, we have all done that before. In fact, I stay out of that side of the game. I find out who we have signed on the web site and twitter like everyone else. I might take a look at where they have played and if our paths have crossed before but nothing more than that”
So with the new season just five weeks away it’s time for us all to get “Twitchy” and look forward to the season ahead “five weeks isn’t long is it” Ben says “It’s always a good week when everyone arrives and we get on the ice for the first time. I like our pre-season schedule. We will start finding out about each other then. I can’t wait”.
Tickets are just £10.00 each for the two games at ICE Sheffield against HK Poprad on Saturday 17th (7pm) and Sunday 18th (5pm).
The following Saturday will see the Steelers return to the FlyDSA Arena to take on MAC Újbuda. All tickets for this game are just £5.00