OTF (Un) Official Survival Guide: Hockey and Health

<em>The staff at OTF understands we are all living through a unique and often trying period. Social distancing, shelter-in-place orders, and the new stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic cause major disruptions to the normal routines of life.</em>

Each of us at OTF has found unique ways to cope with the “new normal”, and we have compiled our experiences to create a completely Unofficial Survival Guide.

Missing Hockey?

“When hell freezes over, I’ll play hockey there too.” —Author unknown

Change has affected most every aspect of the American experience these days, and sports is no exception. With seasons suspended, players adjust to at-home workouts sans teammates, leagues devise contingency plans for possible playoffs, and fans struggle to fill the sports void COVID-19 has created. Finding a substitute for live, playoff-shaping hockey games isn’t easy, but the folks at OTF have found a few ways to still get a quick hockey fix. Here’s how.


NHL20. Chel, Be a Pro, GM Mode. Whatever I can do. NHL Network is also re-airing old games and those are fun to catch. I also catch myself browsing hockey gear clearance sales and wondering when we’ll get back to Ford Ice Center.

Ann K.:

In this desperate hockey state, I am enjoying the re-airing of Preds wins from this season. It has been interesting to be able to see how the team was playing at different points (and under different coaches) in the season, and secretly I like knowing the positive outcome ahead of time—much less stressful.

2019 World Para Ice Hockey Championships. These games can be found on YouTube and are WELL worth your time if you are hungry for fast, physical sports to watch. The US team is an international powerhouse in the para hockey arena. Keep your eye on Declan Farmer, who is considered by many to be the best para hockey athlete in the world right now, and Brody Roybal, who plays with a Zdeno Chara-like physicality. I recommend these two USA vs Canada match-ups from Ostrava, but all of the games from these championships are quality sports to watch.

Laura C.

I also enjoy the replays on FOX. It is a bit disconcerting that they have been going backwards in time. Also, I wonder how long until they run out of wins?


My son, Caelan, plays hockey in our hallway. Realistically, he’s outgrown the hallway, but that’s the best we’ve got for him right now. He plays constantly...of course, he’s been grounded from hockey for a few days, so it’s been a little quiet around here. The picture frames on the wall haven’t complained, though.


In addition to enjoying the Predators replays on Fox Sports TN, I’ve been so desperate for hockey action that I’ve tuned into the re-airs of games on the NHL Network and NBCSN. I really miss playoff hockey.

I’m also a big bookworm and about 2 years ago I discovered the Beartown series by Swedish author Frederik Backman. Beartown and its sequel Us Against You are set in a small Swedish town concerned with one thing and one thing only: hockey. It explores the complexities of the sport along with how it affects the lives of adults and children. It’s not just a book about hockey though, I will caution. Personally, I loved them both and it might help you fill the hockey void too.

Mind Your Health

“Get at least eight hours of beauty sleep. Nine if you’re ugly.” —Betty White

Maintaining good physical health is a challenge right now, and mental health is proving to be just as important if not more so. At OTF we are trying hard not to let ourselves go and to keep our wits about us. Here are some things that are helping us physically and mentally.


Playing “fetch” with a tennis ball and a hockey stick with my dogs is pretty fun. They’re not good at giving back the ball, though. They’re just fun to watch in the yard and I can wander around and get some steps in. I can’t really leave and do anything super physical, but the hubby and I can walk around the neighborhood.

Ann K.:

A few years ago I canceled my gym membership and saved up and got myself a Peloton bike, and that has helped me tremendously both physically and mentally.  I try to exercise some way each day—whether it is with the bike or a walk around our neighborhood. Getting outside the walls of the house at least once a day even if it is to sit on the front steps or walk with the family helps shake off a little of the mental heaviness of these days.

Kate R.:

At some point, we’re going to get around to assembling the exercise bike (not, alas, a Peloton) that my aunt got for Christmas. Really. We promise!

In the meantime, I’ve been walking/pacing around the house and getting outside in the evenings for walks through the neighborhood. I’m lucky in that Arizona tends to be sprawly in a way cities back east aren’t, but the streets are straight and wide enough that any other pedestrians and I can see each other coming without worrying about turning a corner and colliding, and people in their yards or cars and I wave to each other.

Mentally, I’m working to try to be kind to myself. If I work out the actual tips for that one, I’ll let y’all know.

Laura C.:

I have started a diet (with a wee bit of success so far). Also, I work out on the Wii and by diving in to Spring Cleaning. We also take the odd walk and pet sit our son’s standard-poodle-size labradoodle. Just trying to keep busy and on the days of mostly desk work—at least get up and take a lap around the downstairs every so often.


I’d love to say something about exercise, but it’s all been GTD-related exercise. The biggest thing healthwise that’s been going on around here is that we’re cooking all of our own food for every meal. There’s been no quick, microwaved frozen breakfast, no weird frozen lunch, and no fast food or take out for dinner. I’ve also stopped drinking sugary beverages. I had a pretty nasty Mountain Dew/Dr. Pepper habit (sorry, old friends). I’ve substituted these pretty sweet sugar free caffeinated drink powder packs from Walmart.

The downside is that some of them taste like caffeine and if anyone gobbled up caffeine pills like I did to stay awake all night in college, then you’ll know it’s not a pleasant taste. However, a few of the flavors are wonderful (will Dragonfruit and Pomegranate Lemonade please stand up?). When I don’t need caffeine, I use the sugar-free peach iced tea powder.


I’ve found the messages reminding us that we don’t have to be the most productive versions of ourselves during this time to be incredibly helpful. I try to go on daily walks around the neighborhood with my dog and boyfriend, and we’ve made green smoothies for nutrients (and we enjoy them) and make tea with lavender for calming purposes. I also have a room with some exercise equipment I occasionally use.

But mostly, I’m just using this time to relax and let myself breathe because in the normal day-to-day world I find that I get very focused on what ‘needs’ to be done and I don’t listen to what my body and mind need as much. Therefore, if I want to nap, I take a nap; if I want to read a book, I read a book. Self care is about what feels right to you.