'It was an amazing feeling': Kitchener's Loren Gabel shares her experience at PWHL's training camp
The 1st game in league history is scheduled to be played on Monday, Jan 1
Players with the newly formed Professional Women's Hockey League hit the ice earlier this month as training camps got underway.
It's the first time players on the six teams are on the ice together getting to know one another. The first game in league history is scheduled to be played on Monday, Jan 1.
CBC Kitchener-Waterloo spoke with Kitchener's Loren Gabel shortly after she was drafted to Boston and then checked in with her two weeks into training camp.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
CBC Kitchener-Waterloo: Training camp kicked off two weeks ago. What was that first day like when you hit the ice?
Loren Gabel: It was an amazing feeling, Happy to be a part of the group that I am and they're a great group of girls. And I think we're all eager to get that first game under our belt.
But, putting in the hard work on and off the ice every single day and it's great to see and I'm excited and looking forward to the start of our games in January.
CBC Kitchener-Waterloo: You've played at a pretty high level for a long time, but walk us through now what a typical day looks like for you. What happens during training camp?
Loren Gabel: We're usually at the rink from 8:30 a.m. until close to 2:00 p.m. So three days a week we have strength and conditioning and then the rest of the days we're on the ice.
We have the ice until 1 p.m. Sometimes a little bit later you can stay out and do what you want or work with the skills coach. So I don't really get back into my apartment until about around 2:00 p.m.
CBC Kitchener-Waterloo: How does this compare to some of the other teams and leagues that you've played in?
Loren Gabel: It's pretty comparable to the PHF (Premier Hockey Federation) which I was in last year, except practices were at nighttime with them. We didn't have all of our gym, physio, massage all in one place.
We had to go different places for that. So it's nice to actually be able to have that in one spot and also practice in the morning so that you have the rest of the day to do whatever you want.
CBC Kitchener-Waterloo: What's it like playing with your new teammates and your new coaches? Are some of the teammates people you've played with before?
Loren Gabel: Yeah, I've played with them on the national team. I've obviously played against them because a lot of them are with the USA Hockey and I've played against them in college as well.
I do know a lot of them. Five or four of the players were on my team last year that have been at training camp, so it's nice to see them again, but most of them, I do know.
CBC Kitchener-Waterloo: This is just the beginning of all of this, but where do you see women's hockey going in the next five years or in the next 10 years?
Loren Gabel: Hopefully in the positive direction. We've already been through this multiple times and I'm happy to see it kind of flourish in a positive way.
We did set a CBA (collective bargaining agreement) for I think eight years, so obviously we're going to have women's hockey around for eight years.
I hope after that CBA is over, we'll be able to still have this league and it'll be even better than it is now.
CBC Kitchener-Waterloo: Your team plays its first game on the 3rd of January against Minnesota. What are you looking forward to the most for that first game?
Loren Gabel: I think just putting on the jersey and playing for the city of Boston. Obviously I'm Canadian, so that's funny to say, but I'm happy to be here and I'm excited to see the fans and hopefully get the W against Minnesota.
CBC Kitchener-Waterloo: Are you nervous at all?
Loren Gabel: No, it's literally just like any other game. I never really get nervous with games, except if it's like a championship game.