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.
For the last 15 years, Ian Walsh has crisscrossed the United States as an NHL official. In this Part 2 of our conversation with Walsh, the 42-year-old Philadelphia native fielded a series of questions discussing life on the road, his conditioning schedule, mentors, on-ice struggles, the evolution of the game and advice for aspiring officials.
USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?
Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.
USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season?
Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that.
The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.
USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?
Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.
USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official?
Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.
USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career?
Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.
USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?
Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.
USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?
Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.
USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career?
Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.