Self magazine has provided us with an unexpected holiday gift this week — a video called, straightforwardly enough, “Hockey Players Try to Keep Up With Figure Skaters.”
The hockey players in question are all part of the Metropolitan Riveters organization: Riveters center Nichelle Simon has competed on “American Ninja Warrior” and battled breast cancer — surely a toe pick can’t hold her back.
Riveters left wing Bulbul Kartanbay seems willing to give anything a go.
And Riveters head coach Ivo Mocek noted that NWHL bench bosses trying out figure skating moves is all the rage these days.
Mocek had a question right off the bat: was he allowed to swear on the video? The producers said he could, so there’s a running tally of “Ivo’s F-bombs.” (If you’ve been to a Riveters game, you’ve probably noticed that Mocek is always, uh, talking to his players from the bench.)
They were working with three figure skaters who teach at Chelsea Piers in New York City: Angela Chiang, Jennifer Gruver, and Eliot Halverson.
Chiang showed the hockey players how to do a spiral — which is just a one-leg glide, but pretty. Simon had the most graceful extension of the three. Mocek reached the boards and said, “Please tell me it was good.” Then he promptly tripped on the toe pick and fell face-down on the ice.
“Being in figure skates absolutely sucks — it hurts,” Mocek said. (I personally think that figure skates and hockey skates are both somewhat painful. He was probably reacting to the fact that he was wearing rental figure skates.)
Racking up some skills
For the next lesson, Gruver taught the hockey players a spin, which they were convinced they would not be able to learn. “I think I’m going to throw up,” Simon warned. But in the end they all managed to do multiple rotations on one leg. It looked like Kartanbay had the best spin — Gruver said, “She seems pretty fearless.”
Next Halverson set out to teach the bunny hop, which all the players found very confusing until they actually gave it a shot. “First it looked terrifying,” Mocek said. “But at the end it was actually the easiest one so far.”
Simon found it revelatory. “I was really scared of my toe picks before, but I kinda like them now — I kinda want to use them a little bit more.”
Lesson four was a waltz jump — which is pretty complicated! You have to land backward! Kartanbay, who up to that point was willing to try anything, said, “I don’t want to do it.”
Even after a successful jump, Mocek said, “I would rather block a shot with my face than do this again.”
Simon added, “I think we could do this a little better with some pads on.”
Putting it all together
For the final challenge, Halverson connected all the new skills into a mini routine. Kartanbay and Simon pulled off impressive performances. Mocek fell once, that we could see.
And the final count of “Ivo’s F-bombs” was 12.