Lyndsey Fry said she’s a “nut” when it comes to eating healthy. But over Thanksgiving, Fry, one of 23 women competing for 21 spots on Team USA for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, took a break not only from hockey but also from counting calories.
“Well, I’m a pretty big believer that sometimes when it comes to food, as far as the negative affects of eating badly for a day or two, I think the positive mental affects outweigh the negative healthy affects,” Fry said Tuesday, after she returned from her Thanksgiving holiday in Arizona. “I enjoyed my Thanksgiving. I definitely went for an extra plate or two.
“I didn’t track [calories] when I was home; I just made smart choices. Now I’m back to tracking it.”
The 21-year-old Harvard University student estimated that she burns close to 800 to 900 calories in a two-hour practice with the U.S. Olympic Women’s Team, which is training in Bedford, Mass., just outside Boston.
“It depends on the drills we’re doing and how much standing around,” she said. “It’s a lot of calories, and if you add an off-ice workout during the day you definitely burn a lot more.”
She said she takes in about 2,400 calories a day, not counting Thanksgiving of course.
“I could probably eat more and be fine, but I am still trying to very slowly lean out,” she said. “It’s been a long process over the years. I probably eat less than some of my teammates, but not to the point where I’m under eating.”
That mentality obviously went out the door during Thanksgiving dinner at her aunt’s house.
“I never used to be a stuffing kid,” she said when asked about her favorite sides. “I did not enjoy stuffing until now.”
But Fry, who also knows her way around a kitchen, said she didn’t totally pig out on Thanksgiving. She said she made an upside down pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving with more healthy ingredients than traditional pumpkin pie.
“I baked it myself, and instead of crust I used low fat gram crackers on top,” she said. “I made that. That was pretty good.”
She also made a breakfast hash while she was home and a spaghetti squash.
Fry said she heeded her coaches’ advice before the team broke up for the holiday break.
“When we left they said enjoy your break, but don’t forget this is a job,” Fry said. “When you take that mentality, I’m not going to sit on my butt eating turkey and ice cream at home. I’m going to make smart choices, and I’m sure most of us did.”
Fry didn’t bring her hockey gear home, but ice skating was mostly out of the question anyhow since she spent the long weekend in Arizona. Along with teammate Megan Bozek — who also spent the weekend in Arizona at her brother’s house — Fry believes she spent the weekend in the warmest climate of anyone on the team.
Going from the cold Massachusetts climate to Arizona and then back to the cold again made the team’s first practice after Thanksgiving a bit difficult on Fry’s lungs.
“My lungs were burning because I didn’t have any cold air in my lungs,” she said. “It was 65 [degrees] at home.”
Otherwise, she said she felt refreshed after the break, especially since they had two weeks of hard practice going into Thanksgiving.
“I think it was really good mentally and physically having a break,” she said. “I’m not sore from yesterday. I feel pretty good. I think the break was definitely needed.”
Especially since practices will only get more intense as the team inches closer to cutting the roster down to the 21 players that will go to the Winter Games. That roster will be announced during the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Detroit on Jan. 1.
If Fry makes the team, it would not only be the realization of her own childhood dream, but it would also fulfill a teenage pledge she made with her best friend and teammate, Liz Turgeon, who was killed in a car crash in 2010 near Albuquerque, N.M.
“It would be absolutely incredible for so many reasons,” said Fry, who is featured on the cover of USA Hockey Magazine this month holding Turgeon’s jersey. “There’s been a big focus lately with me and the story with Liz and the promise we had and that absolutely holds true.
“But it’s not just for her. It’s for my family and everyone who ever supported me. My Harvard friends, kids growing up, so many people. If I can take all that to the Olympics, that would be the greatest feeling in the world. It would be the ultimate way for me to give back to everyone who’s played a role in my life.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
When it comes to women’s hockey, there is no argument that USA Hockey and Hockey Canada have the two premier programs in the world. Earlier this month, their young talent took to the ice in Lake Placid, New York, as a part of the U18 and U22 Select Series.
While there were several athletes on both teams who competed for their country in such an event for the first time, it also marked a special occasion for Melissa Szkola. An experienced official who has worked a handful of International Ice Hockey Federation events, Lake Placid marked her first USA-Canada affair. USA Hockey caught up with the Michigan native to talk about the amazing international experience and her evolving officiating career.
USA Hockey: What was it like to be a part of the U22 and U18 Select Series’
Melissa Szkola: The experience was wonderful. It was fantastic. We’ve essentially got the two best teams in the world competing against each other, so the learning experience, working with the officials that we have, is always amazing. You leave here a better person, a better official; that’s what we’re here for. That’s what I look forward to the most at these big-time events: the level of hockey and what you get out of it as a whole.
USAH: How did you first get into officiating?
Szkola: It’s been nine years since I got my start. I was a competitive figure skater and my older brother played hockey, so I’ve always been around the game, but it was my husband who actually got me into the officiating side of it. When we started dating, he was a roller and ice hockey official. He asked me to come with one time and I said ‘okay.’ That’s how I got started. It’s something he and I have in common and he is my biggest supporter. I wouldn’t be here without him.
USAH: So nine years under your belt, how would you describe some of your past IIHF events?
Szkola: I’ve had a handful of experiences with international tournaments. Each one has brought a new set of skills to my plate. You learn a lot about yourself and you learn a lot from your supervisors from different countries as well. To get out and work with other female officials and learn from them and your supervisors is amazing.
Being in another country, where sometimes there aren’t people who even speak English, is a really unique experience as well. The communication that you learn to speak with non-English speaking officials really makes you appreciate what you have in common – hockey.
USAH: How did the Select Series compare to those events?
Szkola: The level of play, it’s definitely much higher at the Select Series than any of the championships that I’ve been to. I wouldn’t say that the intensity is much different, because at each level they are competing for their highest achievement. The intensity is the same, the importance is the same, but the level of play is definitely much better; it’s faster, it’s crisper. Your awareness just has to be that much higher.
USAH: Did calling a game with high-caliber players like those at the Select Series shake up any nerves?
Szkola: I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous before we got on the ice. I’ve watched Team USA and Team Canada compete before, so you know the level at which they intend to play. Being out there with it, you just know where the emotions can go sometimes. It was a little nerve-wracking before the start, but as soon as that puck drops, you have a job to do. USA Hockey does a fantastic job developing us; I feel like they wouldn’t put you out there if you weren’t ready. Once that puck drops, you’re kind of at home.
USAH: What’s next for your officiating future?
Szkola: The support that I have, not only from my hometown in Michigan, but also the support and development USA Hockey has given really sets you up for success if you want to take it in that direction. That is my goal. I do want to skate in the Olympics. Moving forward I am going to continue to improve upon each experience that I have, because you can always be better. Mistakes do get made, so you learn from those and improve yourself.