Posts Tagged ‘soft tissue’

The Olympic hockey tournament is in full swing. And no disrepect to the women’s competition but I’m following the men’s side more closely for that reason, competition. On the men’s side Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czechs and USA all are expecting to be in the run for medals. Currently the US is playing Norway and Canada is up next against Switzerland.

For many the NHL players competing in the Olympics their training is fairly consisent. Every NHL team has a strength and conditioning specialist on staff. In addition players move around as a result of trades, drafts and signings. And when a coach is fired during the off-season, the new coach is able to put together his team of assistants. So s&c coaches move around the league from time to time as well.

This results with the players from the NHL coming from a fairly common background to their hockey training. As for the European and Asian players in the tournament sometimes the training methods are still Eastern-based dependent on the background of the coach, where the players came from as well as the budget of these teams.

When it comes to the Olympic tournament it is a huge benefit to winning your pool and advancing directly to the quarter finals. Talent alone won’t guarantee you a spot in the QFs. Instead it will be a matter of which teams come together  the quickest, which ones have a goalie that gets hot as well as which ones have players that might normally be stars on their NHL teams but are prepared to accept a less glorious role for team success.

In addition to these factors are the intangibles related to training. Which team adapts to their new surroundings the best? Which teams have the best nutritional and supplemental support? Which team applies the best soft tissue management to recover most quickly between games and are at their highest level every time out?

Obviously there will be a variety of styles and philosophies applied when it comes to addresssing the above. While none of them will guarantee gold. But when the competition is that tight and so many games must be played to win gold the value of all the factors that go into training become that much more important.

Obviously my money is on Canada. What about you?


One thing I really enjoy about my job is being able to see the impact it has on a player’s game. While a player may make huge gains in the weight room and put up some impressive lifts this can be all for naught if in the end the player isn’t performing when the puck drops on a new season. I feel privileged to be able to watch the hockey players we work with during the 0ff-season play during the year. From spending a couple hours almost every day with these players I know their strengths, the weak links they worked hard to address, their work ethics, their attitudes and every else that is important to success in hockey. And once a player moves on to the next level I may make a trip to catch some of their games and see how everything is going. Recently I had chance to sit down and grab some breakfast with one of these hockey players that has moved on from the WHL and is now playing in the AHL.

After spending some time catching up and sharing stories I asked this player what he thought was one of the biggest differences to jumping fromt the ‘dub’ to the AHL. There are lot of things that he could have said from the speed of the game, to the age of the players, to the amount of travel or the amount of preparation that goes into every game. But here’s what he said.

The biggest difference he noticed at the next level was the attention the veteran players put on their preparation. Whether it be proper dynamic warm-ups, to foam rolling to adequate cool down and regeneration after games and practices there was a significant difference at this next level. Players recognize and put more attention in the soft-tissue work that helps keep everything in alignment, keeps what should be mobile, mobile and keeps what should be stable, stable. In other words these players had figured out that the best way to get your body prepped for top performance and to recover most quickly was by doing the little things. Gone are the days of playing sewer ball and singing in the showers as a pre-game ritual. Now it was seeing what is going on at the next level, modelling those who are having success and reaping the rewards as a result.

Cody Almond

Cody Almond – Minnesota Wild

***Update to this story. Since we had that breakfast Cody Almond has been on a tear in the AHL. This hasn’t gone with out notice by the Minnesota Wild and today Cody was called up to make his NHL debut.***

Sometimes it’s hard to see where all the little things factor in to the game of hockey especially when it involves something done off-ice. So whenever you have the chance to see a player up a level doing the little things pay attention and look to see how you can incorporate this into your routine.