By Jim Charshafian
For many, the summer is a time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the outdoors, and Rampage defenseman Nolan Yonkman has been doing exactly that.
Since San Antonio’s season came to an end in May, the 31-year-old Yonkman has been soaking up the sun and relaxing while getting ready for another run at the Calder Cup with the Rampage in October. Yonkman retreated home to his family farm in Punnichy, Saskatchewan for two weeks shortly after the season ended to unwind. A camping aficionado, he relished the opportunity to catch up with relatives and spend time outside.
“Going back to my farm was like a little vacation in itself,” he said. “It’s out of the city and it’s almost like camping. I really feel at home there.”
Following his trip to Punnichy, Yonkman traveled to Milwaukee, where he is currently working out and spending time out on Lake Michigan. In addition to his usual weight training and skating regimen, Yonkman has been riding his road bike, swimming, and playing beach volleyball to stay active.
“I’ve been working out in the morning and then I head to the beach on my bike,” said Yonkman. “I ride my bike everywhere. Nothing too crazy, but I just like staying outside.”
Yonkman, who will be entering his third year with San Antonio this fall, has also been swimming laps once a week to stay limber.
“There’s a swimming class taught by an ex-Navy SEAL there. It’s only once a week but I try to keep pace with him. It’s really good for my joints and my lungs.”
The blueliner has recently begun skating again after taking nearly a month off from being on the ice. While he may be lacing his skates up a little earlier in the summer than other players, Yonkman feels that the exercise helps him get his timing back.
“I like to start skating early,” he said. “As a big player, I always feel I need to be better with my hands and feet.”
Yonkman plans to spend a few more weeks in Milwaukee before heading to Arizona to ramp up his training and get ready for the season. The Rampage captain would like for the team to build on last year’s success, which included the franchise’s first ever postseason series victory.
“We definitely need to make the playoffs again,” he said. “We were happy to make the second round last year but we can always push to be better and push towards a Calder Cup. “I felt like I had a pretty good year last year and I want to keep being a good, solid defender. I always want to get better. I want to help develop the younger players and I always want to be a better captain than I was the year before.”
Until the fall rolls around, Yonkman will keep having his fun outdoors.