CAMP­BELL-PASCALL UNIT­ING ATH­LETES AND PUB­LIC FOR WORK­OUT SES­SIONS

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - WES GIL­BERT­SON wgilbert­son@postmedia.com twit­ter.com/wes­gilbert­son

Cassie Camp­bell-pascall ad­mits her mind­set has changed a lit­tle since her days as cap­tain of the Cana­dian women’s hockey team.

Sure, she loves to see her name on the Pelo­ton leader­board, but it’s not first-or-flop.

“I try for a medal per­for­mance — gold, sil­ver or bronze,” said Camp­bell-pascall, who hung up her skates af­ter the 2006 Win­ter Olympics and is now a colour an­a­lyst for Sport­snet’s NHL broad­casts. “I’ve never gone for a sil­ver or bronze in my life be­fore, but I do with this. Even a top­five.”

With a Rolodex of high-pro­file pals, she’s not mak­ing it easy on her­self.

Camp­bell-pascall has been the ring­leader for what’s now be­ing called #Jointhe­move­ment, a call for all — from elite ath­letes to ad­mit­ted couch pota­toes — to come to­gether for vir­tual work­outs.

It started out sim­ple enough — Camp­bell-pascall and curl­ing ace Ben Hebert, each with a Pelo­ton bike in their base­ments, try­ing to find ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion for their at-home spins.

Camp­bell-pascall, now back in the fold with Hockey Canada as an ad­viser to the women’s pro­gram, has patched in many of the cur­rent na­tional team­ers via Facetime. (Only Pelo­ton own­ers are tracked on the live leader­board, but you can down­load the app and com­plete the same in­struc­tor-led classes on any sta­tion­ary bike.)

The ev­ery­one-wel­come work­outs have now grown to in­clude spe­cial guest sweaters and dozens of or­di­nary folks.

Wed­nes­day’s cast was head­lined by Roberto Luongo, third on the NHL’S all-time wins list among goal­tenders.

On Fri­day, Flames cen­tre

Sean Mon­a­han and de­fence­man Michael Stone will be join­ing the fun.

Melodie Daoust, Bri­anne Jen­ner, Meghan Mick­el­son, Marie-philip Poulin, Natalie Spooner and other Team Canada stand­outs have been spot­lighted.

Per­haps the most mem­o­rable ses­sion was a spe­cial wear-red ride — fea­tur­ing Nova Sco­tia’s own Jil­lian Saulnier and Blayre Turnbull — af­ter the tragic shoot­ings in their home prov­ince.

“That’s when it kind of es­ca­lated,” Camp­bell-pascall said. “The two Nova Sco­tia play­ers, they didn’t know but their whole team did it be­hind the scenes, too, so they all sent them their pic­tures wear­ing a red shirt and sup­port­ing Nova Sco­tia Strong.”

That team el­e­ment is im­por­tant to Camp­bell-pascall, who cap­tained Canada to gold at both the 2002 and 2006 Win­ter Olympics.

She spreads the word about the rides on her so­cial me­dia ac­counts and then shares post-work­out pho­tos of the big names, usu­ally soaked and smil­ing.

“Ath­letes, no­body re­ally feels sorry for them — es­pe­cially the Nhlers, be­cause they make mil­lions of dol­lars,” Camp­bell-pascall said of the chal­lenges brought on by the COVID-19 pan­demic. “But an ath­lete is so used to usu­ally work­ing out with peo­ple, whether it’s their coach or their trainer or their team­mates. So I think it’s been very dif­fi­cult to be se­cluded for ath­letes. You of­ten push each other. I know it’s your job to push your­self, but work­ing out with team­mates, they’re miss­ing that. This brings back some kind of nor­malcy, I think, as far as be­ing able to work out to­gether and push each other.

“And now we’re just en­cour­ag­ing all peo­ple to ride your Pelo­ton, ride your bike, run, walk, what­ever. It’s been fun for us, and I think we have a few peo­ple that have got off the couch to join us.”

In­deed, every­body is wel­come. This isn’t sup­posed to be a race, al­though it’s tough for any high-per­for­mance ath­lete to sim­ply switch off their com­pet­i­tive streak and treat this as a ca­sual cruise. Luongo, who re­tired af­ter last sea­son, must still be in tip-top shape be­cause his to­tal out­put stats — a com­bi­na­tion of re­sis­tance and speed — were un­touch­able on Wed­nes­day’s ride. Hebert, who never misses the group work­outs but in­sists he de­serves no credit as a co-or­ga­nizer, was among the closest in Luongo’s vir­tual rear-view.

“I heard that Monny is com­ing on and I was like, ‘Oh, I might have to be sick that day.’ I don’t want him to light me up too bad,” said Hebert, a gold medal­list at Van­cou­ver 2010, with a chuckle. “I’m cer­tainly not the Lance Arm­strong of curl­ing, I prom­ise you that. I just got into the spin thing and I’m re­ally en­joy­ing it.

“I think it’s cool, too — it’s not like ev­ery day I get to hop on the bike and chal­lenge my­self against Nhlers and other Olympic medal­lists from hockey and other sports,” he con­tin­ued. “It’s fun, and I wouldn’t say it’s a com­pe­ti­tion. Ev­ery­one can go at their own level. It’s just mo­ti­vat­ing when you know you have 30, 40, 50 peo­ple jump­ing on with you at a cer­tain time — you can’t bail on a work­out last-minute, be­ing lazy. You have to make sure you’re ready to roll. So it’s been some­thing to look for­ward to through these groggy days of sit­ting in and self-iso­lat­ing. We’re try­ing to stay pos­i­tive through this and keep the mind healthy and keep the body healthy.

“It’s a fun lit­tle es­cape. And the more the mer­rier. We would love to get as many peo­ple as we can.”

The num­ber of par­tic­i­pants should only grow.

Af­ter all, it’s pretty cool for a hockey fan to be able to say they broke a sweat with legends like Camp­bell-pascall and Luongo or cur­rent stars such as Poulin and Mon­a­han.

“I think that’s been unique for peo­ple to say, ‘Oh my god, that’s Sean Mon­a­han, I’m go­ing to see how close I can get to him,’” said Camp­bell-pascall, a Cana­dian Sports Hall of Famer and proud mother of one. “But it’s not a com­pe­ti­tion. Some of my girl­friends and my mom friends, who aren’t nec­es­sar­ily ath­letic, they’ve been on and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t keep up.’ And I tell them, ‘That’s not the point!’

“We’re not go­ing to post our scores or any­thing. That part is so in­signif­i­cant. It’s just to get off the couch and get a work­out.”

INSTAGRAM

Cassie Camp­bell-pascall, seen in in­set, chats with Bri­anne Jen­ner. Camp­bell-pascall has been spear­head­ing the ex­er­cise and fit­ness ini­tia­tive now be­ing called #Jointhe­move­ment.

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