Salata shoots for success
January 24, 2022
Lakers hockey has been making a huge impact on the ice this season, but no one has been making waves quite like senior Braydon Salata. Salata first stepped foot on the ice when he was six years old after being inspired by the Chicago Blackhawks winning the 2010 Stanley Cup. Seeing such a monumental moment for Chicago fans was just the push he needed to find his passion.
After discovering his new passion, Salata still had a long way to go to get to the place where he is today. Hockey is a very unique sport that brings many adversities Salata would have to overcome. Hockey is one of the most physically demanding sports, requiring the athletes to exert a majority of their energy consistently. Athletes have to constantly sprint back and forth on the rink to keep up with the high pace of the puck.
The Lakers have been able to maintain their positive record this season thanks to Salata stepping up and inspiring the team. He is a significant influence on his teammates on and off the ice. He constantly pushes his teammates to be the very best that they can be.
“I think we have always had the potential to be good, but the chemistry or something was just off,” Senior Gavin Frank said. “I think Braydon was that final piece we needed to reach that potential.”
Salata manages to keep himself and his team together 24/7. Another big part of this is from the help of his coaches.
“I come to practice every day because I enjoy being around my team and coaches,” Salata said.
Salata’s coaches keep him motivated and at the top of his game so he is always ready to do his best.
His constant positive attitude and hard-working demeanor ensure that his teammates try their hardest.
Keeping himself and the team happy can be difficult to manage alongside other things in life like school and home life. Being a senior in high school, Salata has to place a huge emphasis on his academics as well. Balancing his academics and his love for hockey is a difficult but important task. It can be quite a tall order to manage so many activities.
“I try to get most of my school work done at school, in class or [in] study hall,” Salata said. “[So] I’m able to do pretty much anything like hanging out with my friends before practice.”
Managing time effectively can make or break a high school student’s schedule. Salata has found a way to make sure he can still enjoy his time after school with his friends, but also have plenty of time to keep himself ready for hockey.
All the physicality that comes with hockey can be threatening to athletes new to the sport. Overcoming that fear can be a challenge; Salata however, jumped right in and faced it head-on.
He began by starting with lessons at the RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie, home of the Lakers. The RecPlex is a host to all types of activities and sports with hockey being by far their most popular. The RecPlex provides an assortment of hockey-related activities for all ages. From youth lessons to high school leagues, all the way to their ‘Old Geezers’ league for adults to safely enjoy their favorite sport.
The RecPlex is the perfect start for young skaters, providing lessons and equipment rentals, making sure every skater is fully prepared.
Salata felt right at home at the RecPlex, as it became a new environment for him to show off what he has been working towards.
“One of my main goals for the current season is to keep my point streak going and have the most points in the league by the end of the season,” Salata said.
Salata is working to perfect his playstyle and finish the season dominating.
Sometimes though, games just do not go as planned, which can lead to disappointing results. No one takes these losses as hard as Salata.
“One of the most heartbreaking moments of the season has been losing to one of the top teams in our league in the last few minutes of the game,” Salata said.
Losing can be hard on an athlete’s mentality, but being able to keep going after an unfortunate game separates the good from the great.
The Lakers put in the extra mile during the offseason to be as ready as they can be for the season. They use a variety of methods to maintain their stamina.
“During the offseason, I usually just focus on my cardio and do lots of conditioning exercises off the ice to keep my stamina up,” Salata said.
Many athletes – Salata included – also have alternative ways to make sure they are in the right headspace before a game.
“I do have two superstitions, and that is when I am taping my stick before a game, I always tape it the same way every time,” Salata said. “When I am getting dressed, I always put my right skate on first and tie my right skate first.”
With the regular season having come to a close, this gives Salata the opportunity to really shine throughout the upcoming playoff season and further in his career.