Mark Richardson

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"There are so many young players with talent and good skills, but if they don't work hard the talent is going to go to waste".

Raise Your Game: Why ice hockey?

Mark Richardson: Good question. A lot of people ask that because it isn't that big over here. Someone took my older brother Lee, to watch a game and he was hooked. My sister played, I play, my younger brother plays - all of us play. Once you get started it's hard to stop.

RYG: Can you explain what you do out there on the ice?

MR: I'm a centre man. The centre man takes all of the face-offs after every whistle. The two centre men line up and everyone gets into position. The referee drops the puck and that gets the game going again. It's the centre man's job to do that.

RYG: What equipment do you need to play?

MR: There's a lot of equipment. The most important parts are the helmet and stuff like that for protection. Obviously you need your skates, the stick and gloves. You wear protective equipment everywhere, from your legs and body armour, to your elbow pads and gloves.

RYG: How much training do you have to do?

Profile

Name: Mark Richardson

Born: 1 October 1986

Nationality: English

Position:Forward

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 12st 12lb

Club:Cardiff Devils

Former Clubs (including juniors):
Nottingham Panthers, Swindon Leopards, Swindon Cougars, Swindon Lynx, Bracknell Bees

MR: It is a lot of hard work. The main thing is that we enjoy what we do, so that does make it a little bit easier. There are some days you really wish you could have stayed in bed and didn't have to practice.

We come to the gym during the season to avoid injury. You have to be prepared and in shape, otherwise you're going to be injured and out for a long time. It's a very high impact sport so we work hard and we practise. If we're not practising every day it's because we've got a game.

On the ice we try and work on our speed and individual skills. Then we move onto work with our lines. We work on breaking out, team power plays, penalty goals - stuff like that. Most players come to the gym every day. Some players prefer to go to the gym a couple of times a week. A lot of players feel, if they're going to be at their best on the ice, they have to work hard in the gym.

RYG: Are all the players committed to training?

MR: All the guys are 100% committed. You have to be or else people will get injured. That's the main reason you have to work out. No-one likes injuries. The worst thing is to be injured and watching your team out there playing. Everyone is committed.

RYG: What kind of injuries do ice hockey players get?

MR: You find a lot of shoulder injuries. Flexi glass is pretty hard and when people hit it hard there tend to be a lot of broken collar bones. There are a lot of groin injuries. It's pretty similar to football in that respect.

RYG: What is your training pattern?

MR: During the summer we work hard on the weights to bulk ourselves up. During the season you work on your groin and your core, just to make sure you're strong there. You have to work on your shoulders because you're getting hit a lot. Your legs take care of themselves, being on the ice every day, so it's mainly upper body work.

RYG: How does it feel when you're waiting to go out?

MR: The lights go out and it's good. You feel the adrenaline get going, especially when the crowd's big. It's a good feeling skating out there.

RYG: Have you got any advice for your younger fans wanting to follow in your footsteps?

MR: The main thing is hard work. There are so many young players with talent and good skills but if they don't work hard, listen to their coaches and do that little bit extra then the talent is going to go to waste.


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