A look in Skatin’ Rebel Brendan Manning’s game day routine

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Brendan Manning (9) awaits the puck on the ice during the second game against the Oregon Ducks on March 5, 2022. Photo by Lucas Peltier /// UNLV Hockey

Skatin’ Rebel Brendan Manning likes to keep his game day routine as flexible as possible to avoid it affecting his game performance very much. 

Manning’s morning starts around 9 a.m. when he slowly begins to wake up. He’ll make his way down to the gym inside of his apartment building. He will stretch and ride the bike for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Afterwards, Manning will return to his room and shower before walking to the Rebel Grill Cafe across campus. There he’ll order the broccoli and cheddar omelet with toast and pancakes on the side.

“All my roommates are still sleeping, so I’ll go alone,” Manning said, “ which is really weird… I order the same thing every time not because I’m superstitious, but because I just like what I order, and it’s an omelet.”

After breakfast, Manning reads a book for an hour. This week he’s reading “The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich” by M.J. DeMarco.

“I like to read personal finance books, so that’s kind of my thing,” Manning said. “So right now I’m reading Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco, which is a really good book, very informative.” 

The reading will take Manning up to his nap around noon or 1 p.m. depending on the day. He’ll nap for about three hours, before waking up to get ready to head to the arena. 

Manning will eat a light snack after waking up before leaving for the rink with roommate Hunter Muzzillo. 

“We go to the rink together every day,” Manning said. “We have a ritual where we stop at the gas station on the way there. He buys an energy drink and I either have a coffee or an energy drink- depending on how I’m feeling that day.”

“We do a tunnel tap with our drinks under the tunnel [getting on the 215 near the airport] because [Muzzillo] is very superstitious and makes me.”  

Once they arrive at the rink, Muzzillo will walk into the rink first with Manning following behind. 

Manning immediately changes out of his suit into his workout gear. He’ll make his way out to the back of the rink and shoot pucks around to get his hands warm and a feel of the puck. 

Then he’ll head back into the locker room and tape both of his sticks. After that, he’ll do a team warm-up off the ice . 

Depending on how hungry Manning is feeling, he’ll either have a granola bar or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

“Usually it’s the PB&J sandwich because I’m fat and then eat it at like five o’clock,” Manning said. “So by then I usually feel like I’ve had enough food in my system and I can feel like I have enough energy for the game.”

Around 7 p.m. Manning will hit the ice with the rest of the Rebels for on-ice warm-ups. There he likes to keep it loose and have fun with the team before the game. 

“During warm-ups [Muzzillo] and I- this is all because of Muzzi. Let me make that very clear. I’m not a superstitious guy,” Manning said. “Muzzi is very superstitious, and I just happen to be involved in them.” 

“During warm ups, I would say about halfway through Muzzi and I sit on opposite ends of the ice. He looks at me and I stare at him. We both have our sticks in the air, and one of us has to time it. He swings his stick to one side, and if I put my head to that side, I lose so I have to go and skate on the ice and he passes me the puck.” 

“Or if I do it to him, and he loses, I have to pass him the puck and he has to skate. It’s a very weird thing and it means absolutely nothing in hockey. It is just a very weird thing that we do together… he gets very upset if I don’t do it.”

Even when Manning isn’t playing in the game, he’s expected to participate in the little warm-up game that he and Muzzillo do on the ice. 

Earlier in the season during the Chicago Classic, Manning missed out on playing the second game against Minot due to an injury and he still pretended to swing his stick from the stands with Muzzillo on the ice. 

“I was not really paying attention to warm ups,” Manning said. “I was just kind of like, minding my business, I kind of zoned off and then I just happened to look at the ice and Muzzi was sitting on the ice staring at me in the stands with a stick into the air.”

“I was obviously completely confused as to what he was doing until I realized that he wanted me to pretend to swing my stick to a certain side. And of course, I obliged.” 

After warm-ups finish for the Rebels, Manning is second to last off the ice with forward Nick Flanders being the last one off the ice. 

Once in the locker room, Manning has a tradition with teammate Paxton Malone that they’ve done since Manning’s freshman year on the team. 

“We tell each other how awful that warm up was,” Manning said. “It’s not because we’re negative. It’s the only superstition that I have with Paxton. My freshman year, we did that once and then we had an unbelievable game. So now we started saying it as a joke. That’s my only superstition- that’s it.”

When the team travels the only difference is his routine is being stuck with whatever hotel breakfast is being served at the time instead of his broccoli and cheddar omelet. 

Manning and the rest of the Skatin Rebels return to action on Friday, March 11 as the Rebels play in their first Nationals game of the season. The game will be at 10:15 a.m. CST and be available on HockeyTV.

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