I'm writing to you today from the Chicago O'Hare Airport. My connecting flight from Winnipeg to Newark, NJ has been delayed for thirty minutes, so I thought what better way to fill that time than write about preseason with the New York Riveters!
Last week we began to practice as a team but unfortunately I couldn't be there. I did have my teammates send a couple snapchats before and after practice so I kind of feel like I was there! :) Can I just take a minute to say how grateful I am that we have a locker room this season!
Snapchat taken before practice by Bray Ketchum.
Stall of Bray Ketchum, #17 for the NYR IG: @bdk27
For my blog this week I gave fans an opportunity to #AskTheRafter any preseason questions and I tried to answer as many as I could. I have about twenty five minutes left until I board my next flight, so i’ll get right into the Q’s and A’s!
@tdtori95: What can you bring to a very loaded New York Riveters team?
I love this question. I am stoked about the lineup we have this year. The best thing about having a team filled with talented players is that everyone can trust each other to do their own jobs and you can focus on what you need to personally bring to the table. For me, that means using my size and speed.
@BazoozooTV: How many times a week do you do weight training?
Over the summer I lifted twice a week. With working, coaching and studying this summer I found that was the magic number for my schedule as it was pretty hectic. I accompanied my workouts with skating a few times a week as well. I'm not sure what our in season programming looks like yet, but since we usually play one game per week I would imagine 3-4 lifts!
@Rivs_Fans: What jersey number will you be wearing for us this season?
I decided this summer that I needed to start over. I didn't have the impact I was hoping with the Beauts last season and really wanted to set myself up in the best possible way for the upcoming year. This is how I approached my training and the same mentality applied when I chose my number. I went back to basics and decided to wear #7, which was one of the first numbers I wore as a young hockey player.
@Djrutherford: When do you plan to visit Belfast #AskingForAFriend
This is actually a question tweeted at me by one of my best friends, Dave. We trained together this summer and he's currently playing hockey overseas for the Belfast Giants in the EIHL. The team is based out of Northern Ireland and I am hoping to visit during the week of American Thanksgiving. He might get chirped in the locker room for what I'm about to tell you, but that just makes me want to mention it more! He recently launched his brand in an outside the box way. He created an app - DJR91 - that's available on android and apple! Check it out.
@Rivs_Fans: Also, favorite type of cookies? We are a fandom known to occasionally bake.
As long as there are no raisins, almonds or gluten, anything is fair game. Gotta love allergies! Well I'm not allergic to raisins but something doesn't feel right to me having raisins in baked goods! You can never go wrong with an oatmeal chocolate chip though. That may be the winner.
@casey_dulson: What are you most excited about the preseason?
I am mainly excited to just get to Jersey! I have been itching to get back to playing for a couple weeks now. I am also excited to get to know my new roomies. I'll be living with Fitzgerald, McMillen and Johnston. Fitzgerald and McMillen are actually picking me up from the airport when I arrive in Newark and we've never met in person before!! Haha. I have a feeling this season is going to be a wild ride..
@hockeyfisch:Which new teammate are you most excited to play with?
Definitely the goaltenders. They are always the most interesting and as you know, goalies are always a little.. different. Haha! All jokes aside, I'm really pumped to just meet everyone. I'm a week behind in terms of team bonding so I'm looking forward to playing a bit of catch up!
@jaysanw: How you do like your new home venue @PruCenter?
Hi Jason! I'm practicing with my team at the Prudential Center this Thursday. Although I haven't skated there yet this year, the Isobel Cup Finals were held at the Prudential Center last season so I have played two championship games in the arena. The stands are only on the right side of the arena, so I'd imagine this setup will create an energetic atmosphere for the fans and players. For anyone that doesn't know what the Isobel cup is, it was named after Lord Stanley’s daughter and it serves as our league's equivalent to the Stanley Cup.
Photo taken at the Prudential Center prior to the 2015-16 Isobel Cup Championship Game. Rafter with three fans who drove 6 hours from buffalo for the match up.
I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit about #RivsNation! I love putting these articles together and I’m always open to answer additional questions. I am going to submit this now because I'll be boarding my flight any minute! Haha. Talk about time management skills right?
You heard it here,