VOORHEES, N.J. — When the lights went out at the Toronto Maple Leafs practice facility on Wednesday in suburban Toronto, coach Mike Babcock continued to skate his players in the dark.
Hard. As in bag-skated.
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It was punishment because the Leafs got spanked 7-0 the night before against the LA Kings.
“Hope that never happens here,” Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said.
Guess what? It could happen at Skate Zone, as Flyers coach Dave Hakstol admitted on Thursday. He’s done this in the past as punishment after some bad games at North Dakota.
“Don’t ask my former players because I’ll just deny it,” Hakstol laughed.
It happened more than once, too.
“There was an old tradition at North Dakota, and I’ll use that loosely, ‘tradition,’ but something called the Black Sunday,” Hakstol said.
“I better be careful on that to be politically correct. I don’t know what terms I can and can’t use. Get myself in a lot of trouble here.”
Like the Fighting Sioux nickname the school banned?
“There was the odd Black Sunday, but not very often,” Hakstol added. “Sometimes the best way to clear the minds of everybody is just go out and do some work. That’s one simple way of doing it.”
He said it was “old school mentality.”
Told his current players are hoping they won’t ever have to skate in the dark, Hakstol replied, “Me, too.”
Skating in the dark was made legendary by Team USA coach Herb Brooks who did it to his “Miracle on Ice” squad in 1980.