Oct. 1, 2012
John Kruse Studies and Trains In Spain by Kim Constantinesco
Senior forward and Air Force hockey team captain John Kruse had not taken a Spanish class for a year prior to traveling to Nerja, Spain last summer. Once he arrived in Spain, however, he was thrown right into the mix.
Kruse took four hours of Spanish class for five days a week as part of the Academy's summer language program which gives cadets 60 hours in the classroom as opposed to 40 hours on base. Kruse not only learned a lot in the classroom, but he learned valuable language skills from his host family.
"My host mom would take her time with me and teach me," Kruse said. "She didn't speak any English, but she knew what I was trying to say. Even though we took classes, I felt like I learned a lot more from my sponsor mom."
Kruse lived two minutes away from the beach with his host mom and two kids. On the weekends, Kruse traveled outside of Nerja to Cordoba, Malaga, and Frigiliana to do some sight-seeing and learn about the culture and history of Spain. While he didn't attend San Fermin, which is where they do the running of the bulls, his school did hold a San Fermin party.
Kruse felt like he experienced some of the best that Spain had to offer, including numerous beaches and the country's win in the Euro Cup.
While spending consecutive days on the beach playing volleyball after class, Kruse didn't let training for the season slip by. The gyms in Spain were a lot more expensive, so Kruse used his resources. He ran on the beach and swam to build upper body strength.
"Being out there, I felt like I stayed on top of it, but it was definitely more difficult than being here and just being able to weight room," Kruse said. "You can only do so much without weights. From what I had, I feel like I did pretty well."
Kruse is used to skating a couple of times per week in the summer, but that wasn't an option for him in Spain.
"I definitely would have liked to skate out there if I could have, but it was pretty impossible," Kruse said.
Kruse is coming off of a huge season where he had 16 goals and 14 assists to lead the team into the Atlantic Hockey Association Championship and advance to the NCAA tournament. He doesn't plan on backing down this season.
"Last year, I had a pretty good season for scoring," Kruse said. "I'd like to keep that up. Off season, I've always tried to work on improving my speed. I just want to be consistent throughout every game, and do what we did last year to get into the NCAA tournament."
Air Force opens the 2012-13 season with an exhibition game against the University of British Columbia on Monday, Oct. 8, at 6:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena. The Falcons, the defending Atlantic Hockey Association regular season and tournament championship, open the regular season at the Kendall Classic in Anchorage, Alaska, Oct. 12-13. Air Force opens the home schedule against Colorado College, Friday, Oct, 19, at 7:05 p.m. For tickets, go to www.GoAirForceFalcons.com.