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So what are your predictions for the Stanley Cup playoffs? Is your team in the running? As with many other Canadians those of us in British Columbia are not represented in this year’s run to the Cup. Being a patriotic Canadian I will cheer for the Canadiens.¬†

And Montreal has the makings to have a good run deep in the playoffs. First of all they are strong in net with Price and a competent backup with Budaj. They have players willing to sacrifice their bodies and block shots in Gorges and Markov. Pacioretty was fourth in the league in goal scoring and Subban was near the top in assists. And a number of players have playoff experience including Gionta, Briere and Moen who won a ring with Anaheim in 2007. Add to that the fact the Bell Centre is not an easy building to play in and things  could shape up well for the Habs.

These kinds of predictions are similar to where you can success coming down the line with young hockey players. For example, looking at the LTAD model for training we can see what should be happening with respect to training at the different levels. Because although in Canada we are ahead of what many countries are doing with respect to athlete development there are still hockey parents that:

* have their child compete more than they practice

* finish winter hockey and jump right into spring hockey

* finish spring hockey and then look for a summer hockey school

This is a lot of hockey specific training for anyone but would be counter productive for a player that is a peewee or lower. In other words if your son or daughter is under thirteen, or still playing peewee or physically small for their age than keeping them on the ice is probably the worst thing you can do for them.

At this stage of development players should be looking to acquire a broad spectrum of athletic abilities, movements and abilities. One of the best ways to do that is to play other sports. Young hockey players, that want to be the best future hockey players they can be, should maybe play soccer in the spring and then baseball in the summer. Any other sports will do be ones that are off the ice and require different skill sets than hockey does will work best.

Many of Nieuwendyk's goals came as a result of the skills developed playing LAX.

This not only helps them develop their athletic abilities to the max but it also helps prevent muscular imbalances and burnout. Additionally the athlete benefits by having to learn new strategies and tactics. They also form new relationships away from the rink and learn other ways to express teamwork.

Pitching in the Little League World Series may have helped Drury win a Stanley Cup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So getting back to the idea of predicting a Stanley Cup champion this year it is similar to predicting long term success in hockey. Until you reach Bantam or even Midget look to develop as many athletic, movement and fundamental sports skills as possible. These will ensure the development of the best possible hockey player in future years.

Chris

 

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