Off the ice and online: Raleigh teen uses virtual hockey workouts to keep up with her training

Sports

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There isn’t much hockey practice 14-year-old Laura Radford can get in these days. One of the few activities she can still do is working on puck handling and shooting into a net on the street outside her house.

“Yeah, basically that’s my life. I live, breathe, and sleep hockey,” Radford said. “So, the fact that I can’t really do what I love and I spend most time doing it’s definitely frustrating and different.”

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down Radford’s time on the ice and her ability to work out with teammates, so a virtual off-ice workout is the next best thing. It’s 30 minutes and it tailored specifically for hockey players. They aim to work core muscles most used on the ice.

“It definitely helps during this time because you get to see your teammates. You get to see people you don’t get to see during the quarantine,” Radford said. “And it lets you get more motivated the fact you’re doing something with your teammates.”

Still, the virtual workouts can’t take the place of actually being on the ice. Radford began playing hockey when she was 5 years old. Now, nearly a decade later, this 30-day stretch has been the longest she’s been out of her skates.

“Even over the summer, she stays very active and does summer programs,” said Laura’s dad, Jerry. “This is the only time I’ve ever remember her going more than a couple weeks without skating. It’s been difficult because she misses being on the ice.”

Uncertainty comes at a time when Radford needs to make a decision on her hockey future. She can stay in Raleigh and play for the Junior Hurricanes with teammates and coaches she loves, or she can head to prep school like many Triangle players have done in the past.

“It’s hard because just thinking that, if I go up to prep school, I’ll be on the ice most every day,” Radford said. “I’ll get more ice time for free just being able to go and just the education there.”

Until then, Radford is going to keep doing what she’s been doing for almost 10 years — train for the sport she loves, even if it means putting in the work on the sidewalk in front of her home.

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