Bourne Discusses Practice In
Part 4 Of “A Hockey Player’s Life”

Former ECHL All-Star forward Justin Bourne is writing a seven-part series called “A Hockey Player’s Life 24/7/365” for

The trainer walks around the room holding a sheet of paper with four lines on it, colored jerseys in hand.

Your fate has been decided, your playing time altered, your future changed. It’s just a matter of finding out where you fit in now.

Most teams have a color scheme with the practice jerseys – as a University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolf, gold was the first line, green the second, white the third and grey the fourth. As is standard, D-men wear black, and injured players wear red. It’s like getting graded on a daily basis, where that grade immediately affects your potential for success.

The top two lines are usually fairly interchangeable based on chemistry, not talent. Either way it’s stressful, especially in pro, where if you’re in that fourth color, the next color down is a pink slip.

So at practice, players do what it takes to get that edge in coach’s eye, which in a sport like hockey, is hard work. Certain guys go out onto the ice crazy early if there’s something they actually want to work on. Others simply go out early trying to earn coach’s favor by being first out. The players know which teammate is which, and the respect-meter gets adjusted accordingly.

Click here to read the fourth installment of “A Hockey Player’s Life 24/7/365”.

Bourne, who is injured and unable to play at this time, played in the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game and had 31 points (16g-15a) in 50 regular season games and two goals in 13 Kelly Cup Playoff games for the Utah Grizzlies as a rookie in 2007-08. He also played in American Hockey League where he had five points (2g-3a) in 16 games for Bridgeport. features original columns by Stan Fischler, David Kolb, Debbie Erickson and many others as well as player blogs including Ron Hainsey of the Atlanta Thrashers and Blake Wheeler of the Boston Bruins.