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By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer
Some athletes hate to practice. They would rather be anywhere but the gym or a training facility.
Don’t put Ryan Horvat in that category.
The Simcoe native recently entered training camp with the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm one year after establishing himself as a full time player and producer with the squad. To improve on his efforts from last season — which included 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in 55 games — the forward has taken to putting the work in at the gym, and the rink.
“I actually can’t wait to get going to Guelph, get into training camp and see all the guys,” Horvat said prior to heading north, adding: “Not only to start training camp, but to start the season and start practicing and getting it going and see how good we are this year.”
Horvat, 19, expects Guelph’s roster to contain many of the same names it had during last season’s 31-31-6 finish. The group is planning on improving on seventh-place with the work they’ve put in this offseason.
“When we left last season (the coaches) sat us all down and said, 'We want to be the hardest working team in the OHL, we’ve got to make sure we’re preparing all summer,'” the six-foot, 200-pound forward explained. “We had a lot more fitness testing that we had to send in. We had to go to Guelph a couple times and do the fitness testing, so they’re keeping a closer eye on us this year and I think it’s all good because the better conditioning we have, the better we’ll be.”
That fitness testing has become second nature to the Holy Trinity graduate. He’s spent the summer doing on-ice training with longtime local power skating coach Kathy Jankowski-Slegers and off-ice workouts with Dave Lane of Fast Lane Fitness.
“Throughout the summer we did 5:30 a.m. workouts,” Horvat explained of his second full summer alongside Lane. “Some mornings I’d get up and say, I don’t want to go to the gym, but you know that the other guys are going to be there and you’re going to get better, and that other guys are training just as hard and you have to make sure you’re going every day, going on the ice all the time and not taking days off.”