116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The routine. It’s as important for a hockey player as anything.
This is never a case of just showing up a couple of hours before a game and playing. There’s way more to it than that.
If you don’t get in your pregame rituals, you never feel right. You’re never going to perform well.
“I wake up at, like, 9 and make some eggs,” he said. “Then I usually head to the rink to get our morning skate in.”
For those unfamiliar with hockey, teams come in the morning of a game for a short practice, of sorts, something akin to a pregame shoot-around in basketball. It’s a chance to loosen some, go over the game plan.
“After the morning skate, I go home for a little bit, maybe pick up a Nutri-Sport smoothie on the way back to the house,” Hanley said. “Take my nap around 2:30, wake up at 4. Then get in a pregame meal, usually spaghetti and meatballs, maybe penne and chicken.”
Always pasta for these guys, light and high carbs. Then Hanley will head back to the rink, kick a soccer ball around in a circle with teammates to sharpen up the hand-eye coordination, stretch and all that, get dressed and play.
“A lot of people do basically the same type of stuff for every game,” he said.
In Hanley’s case, that has been quite a few United States Hockey League games. Friday night marked his 140th in the league, most of them with the RoughRiders.
There aren’t a ton of four-year USHL players around, but it definitely isn’t a disgrace to play in the league that long. Everyone develops at their own pace.
“It’s definitely not disappointing,” he said. “I could have gone on to college a few times, but I wanted to come back, improve my game and play more junior. I mean, there is nothing like junior hockey. It’s a lot of fun.”
Hanley first surfaced with the RoughRiders midway through the 2018-19 season as an emergency injury fill in, coming to town from his 16-and-under team in New York and playing well. He went back home for awhile but decided to take an opportunity extended by RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson to return here.
It wasn’t easy, as he not only had to leave home for the first time but change schools as well.
Hanley put up 10 goals and 25 points in 46 games for the RoughRiders in 2019-20 and looked to be a key member of last season’s team, only to find out there wouldn’t be a team. The Riders sat out last season, of course, because of derecho damage to ImOn Ice.
Hanley went in the dispersal draft to the Youngstown Phantoms, then was traded part way through last season to the Green Bay Gamblers. His USHL rights were returned to Cedar Rapids this season.
“It’s definitely great coming back to Cedar Rapids,” he said. “It’s by far the top place I’ve played junior hockey. It’s great playing for Carlson and being back in the city. Last season was a little hectic, the last moment realizing we had to go into a dispersal draft and play for another team. Then, obviously, I had to go to Youngstown, which is really far (from Cedar Rapids). Then I got traded midseason, which was also pretty hectic.”
A forward, Hanley has eight goals and 18 points in 30 games for Cedar Rapids, which hosted Dubuque on Friday night and hosts Chicago on Saturday night. He was recently named one of four rotating captains for the club.
Hanley will begin his college career next season at the University of Connecticut.
“I think I’ve definitely improved my game,” he said. “Mostly on the defensive end. I think I’ve become a lot more reliable defensively than I ever have been in my career. It was one of the top things I worked on this summer coming into the season, something I wanted to accomplish.”
Comments: (319)-398-8258, email@example.com