Interview with CanAm Sponsored Athlete - Max van Rechem

What excites you about UWH ?  Playing a 3D sport, underwater, holding my breath, battle a puck on the wall, without communication and sharing a great time with friends, teammates and opponents. No other sport in the world can give you all that on the same time! UWH is a new sport (60 years old is a young age for a sport), there is so many things to develop, create, change, improve… When you realize that you are taking part of that as a player, as a coach, as a referee then it makes sense.

Why play the Worlds in Eger ? I wanted to come back… I needed to come back. You know, when you have been playing at the highest level, it’s really hard to see your friends going and watching games online. Playing UWH is a like a drug, when you have to work out twice a day, play at tournaments for a while etc… you cannot say “okay that’s it“. Plus since I moved to the US, playing with new players, sharing our experiences together, it was just the best excuse to come back!

How did you train for the worlds ? Two years ago, I developed a new UWH training program based on UW workouts. I did between 2 and 3 UW workouts per week plus 1 or 2 hockey games. Then you add a daily TRX gym and stretching routine. I would like to do more but it’s always really hard when you have a family, are working and especially because we still are non-professional.

How did your team do at worlds?  We did okay- Considering that the Team USA did not play at World level since 2006, 9th is a good rank. With a majority of inexperienced world level players, we managed the pressure, games and tournament well. I am pretty happy about what we did and about my new team mates. I think we are all on the same page and are on the good way to build a strong team which is not easy when players are spread across the entire country!

What will you focus on to improve your game/team game for next worlds?  It's hard to say... We have so much work to do! You know, it's great to start from the bottom because you realize and understand what you have to work on and that you will have to work really hard to be on the top. So based on what we did, I would say that the fitness part will come first and will take a long time. Watching and analyzing games, working on specific individual skills and for sure playing games will be a big part of my weekly training as well. Team's game will come later and I let the coach figured out what will we do and how we will work to achieve our goal. The most important thing for me is to be able to do whatever he wants me to do. If I am fit enough and on the bottom I then will be able to do anything and follow the coach’s plan. That's the way it should work. 

What did sponsorship from CanAm mean to you?  This is the first time in my hockey player's life that I felt supported and helped by a Professional, especially by an UWH pro. And I am really thankful for that. Being sponsored by CANAM means a lot for me, it's all about trust, support and help. It's working both ways, CanAm helps me to go and play at tournament and I represent the brand. I am giving feedback on products CanAm wants me to try and I also share my idea on new products. I also try to support and attend all events CanAm is doing like HPSTC and CMC's.  CanAm is dedicated to develop UWH in the US & Canada and around the world and I am glad to being part of that.

Interview with CanAm Sponsored Athlete - Kim Skukas

I started my Underwater Hockey career in 2001 at the University of Illinois. In Champaign, I was lucky enough to watch and train with many of the world’s level athletes at that time. They introduced me to training for Hockey at the highest level. After moving to the West Coast in 2007, I am now proud to call myself a part of the Oregon Team where I have been inspired by teammates near and far. I have played for the US women at the 2010 America’s cup in Medellin, Colombia. The 2011 America’s cup in Milwaukee, USA and the 2013 Worlds Championship in Egar, Hungary where we placed 6th out of 16 teams.

The Underwater Hockey community excites me. So many different people united by the love of one sport. We are right now at an exciting point in our history where passion has overflowed and athletes are actively spending their time and money to make our tournaments strong. I am so motivated when I see an experienced player re-invigorated by this tide. I am even more inspired when I can be a part of rookie’s first experience.

I went to play for our world’s team in Hungary because I have been wanting, wishing, and dreaming to be a part of US Underwater Hockey at the highest level since my first week in Huff Hall. I had viewed Worlds as being my ultimate “life-goal” up to this point and I was not disappointed. What I learned however was that worlds was not the final event. My hockey career has just begun! I have come home to an excited and motivated home team. I have rediscovered the fun of playing hockey for hockey’s owns sake and I can’t wait for the next practice, tournament, or worlds!

Sponsorship from CanAm was huge for me. Not necessarily because it helped me pay for worlds. I was going to go anyways and I was prepared to pay for it whatever the cost. What the Can Am scholarship provided was knowledge that I could come back home, pay rent and take my team to PCC’s. Riding this wave of hockey energy after worlds through the following tournament was huge for me and huge for my Oregon team. By helping me, CanAm has invigorated hockey at all levels.

I am ready for whatever is next… HOCKEY TIME!