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Welcome To This Week’s Newletter

 

With tryouts finalized for most hockey programs, and most movement of players almost completed (except for Juniors), the world is beginning to slow down a bit.

Now it’s time to begin concentrating on helping players identify opportunities and make strategic decisions regarding next season, and beyond.We have already secured placements for some players for 2012-13.

I often hear about the “luck” that some players seem to have. Have you ever wondered why some players seem to have all the “luck”?

I often remind players that (likely) the harder they work, the “luckier” they will get…. (it’s one of my favorite quotes and is attributed to Samuel Goldwyn).

Although “luck” does sometimes play into it, the fact is that those players (and their families)  have usually made proper strategic decisions (and done their work) along the way. They are proactive in their inquiries and promotional activities and do not leave things up to chance. It takes significant time and know-how (or lucky guessing) to help leverage a player’s hockey skills and academic credentials to get to the next level(s).

One of the articles in this week’s newsletter mentions one of the tools that a player can use to be proactive in his search for future opportunities.

As a partner in the HockeyResumes project, we will be using the HockeyResumes.com website to help promote our clients, and will mention it to coaches on a daily basis, and ask them to regularly visit it to follow our clients and friends.

If you have received this message, you are invited to sign up for a Premium Account at the HockeyResumes.com website at no cost. This offer is being made to the subscribers of this newsletter and invites them to take advantage of the invitation over the next few days while the site is going through various trials during it’s upgrade.

If you ever think we can help, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience.


Sincerely,

David MacDonald, SPAD
Hockey Family Advisor


 

 

 

Posted in Newsletter

High-Tech Recruiting

On any given evening, in arenas throughout North America, professional watchers of hockey talent stand around in the cold, observing young men play the game, hoping to identify players that someday might play for their team.

Major midget coaches, junior scouts, college recruiters and even representatives of professional teams are constantly ducking in and out of rinks hoping that a worthy player will catch their eye.

In some cases, teams provide published programs regarding their hockey programs and it’s players, but in all cases a great deal of research needs to be done regarding the important facts associated with a prospective player.

According to “the rules”, college coaches and recruiters are limited in their personal contact with players. The NCAA, for example, forbids coaches from having face-to-face discussions with players prior to their senior year of high school.

The rules make it quite difficult for coaches  to identify players who may be serious about attending college (and playing hockey), and to learn additional information about prospective students.

If a coach attends a midget tournament, for example, and watches a game with 40 players on the ice, he often has no idea of which players may be interested in even attending college…, or who may be qualified for admittance…, or if a player may even be interested in a degree that his college offers….

Last winter/spring, we began experimenting with some concepts and  ideas that we felt would be effective for players and coaches. For several years, we had operated a website known as HockeyResumes.com and we has been using it to promote our clients, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to expand it’s reach and dynamics.

Following up on some of our ideas, we have now formed a partnership in HockeyResumes.com , which uses many of the same communication tools that today’s social media sites use and meets many of the requirements that coaches have identified as important to know about players.

As part of the HockeyResumes website, which is searchable by coaches and recruiters, players can upload “hockey and academic” information and credentials that would be of interest to those looking for future players for their teams.

We designed the site so there is no cost for a Basic Account . A Premium Account,  which allows for the uploading of video, etc. involves a small cost of about $75.

At the present time, only some of the aspects of the site are available for public viewing, but if you visit the site, you will get an idea of what it is all about. Programmers are finishing up some of it’s internal mechanisms and features, and migrating existing data.

A very unique  feature of the HockeyResumes program is that participating players can order crests and stickers with a unique player code that is linked to their profile on the HockeyResumes website.

These crests can be sewn onto players’ jerseys and/or stickers placed on their helmets, which can be scanned by a coaches through their smartphones.

Players and members of the general public will be able to view only a very small portion of a player’s profile (name, birthdate, position, team, league). Properly registered and accredited coaches will be able to view the player’s complete file, including video(s), stats, academic credentials, goals, references, admission test results, etc.

Coaches and recruiters can scan players’ crests and stickers and gather current and accurate information about players. Through the Program, coaces will be able to determine if a player is indeed interested in considering a prep school or college opportunity. He will then be able to determine if the player would meet the academic standards , and can view players stats and video, as well as the basic player information (birthdate, hometown, height, weight, etc.)

Subscribers of our newsletter are invited to visit the HockeyResumes.com website and sign up for a Free Premium Account which is being offered over the next few days, while the programmers finish off the site and migrate the data. This offer does not include the crests and stickers mentioned. There is an additional cost for these accessories.

Please visitt the site and have a bit of fun with it…, Please let the folks at HockeyResumes.com know your thoughts by writing them at feedback@hockeyresumes.com

You will begin seeing these crests and stickers and the codes printed in published programs at games, and you’ll remember that you heard about it here first.

The US High School Hockey Option

Most Canadian players and parents don’t consider the option of playing US High School Hockey. If you are an American, you likely would not think of any other route.

There are a number of state and prep schools that feed players into junior leagues, such as the USHL, and sometimes straight to the College route. In teh past few years, high school hockey state championships have become a big deal attracting large fan attendance and players moving on to the college and NHL ranks.

I personally have witnessed  high school hockey games with 5,000 fans in attendance, with marching bands and cheerleaders and the whole thing…., something most Canadians have never experienced….

For example….. Ice hockey is the most popular high school sport in Minnesota.

Approximately 256 schools iced sanctioned varsity teams competing in the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) last season, which are divided into two classes, AA and A.

Their season concludes with a four day tournament that features sixteen teams competing for championships in both classes.  For those who have ever questioned the quality of  High School Hockey in the US, check out this highlight reel from the 2011 Minnesota State Championship.

The next video provides a look at High School Hockey in the Boston area, complete with interviews of some alumni who went on to play college and NHL hockey.

One of the famous players to come out of the high school hockey ranks was Ted Donato who was selected 98th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins. He played hockey at Catholic Memorial High School, before moving on to play college hockey at Harvard University and then moving to the NHL for the 1991–92 season. He played 796 career NHL games, scoring 150 goals and 197 assists for 347 points.

During his career, Ted played for the Bruins, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, and New York Rangers, and now is the Head Hockey Coach at Harvard University.

Although the video talks about the advantages of playing for one’s hometown and staying at home, for those who leave home to attend a prep school, the environment is such that players fits nicely into the environment and are quickly accepted and immersed into the community. Itt’s just like being at home. In most cases, with the high quality of hockey and the high standards of academics, it’s truly the best of both worlds, and provides a wonderful life experience with the opportunity to meet friends from all over the world.

If you might have an interest in attending a Prep School for the next school year, you should know that players are already making inquiries, and we have already been involved in helping secure positions for the 2012-13 school year.

 

Nutrition and Fluids for Developmental Hockey Players

Hockey is an intermittent sport with high intensity skating shifts followed by brief rest intervals. The main fuel used by hockey players is carbohydrate (i.e., blood glucose, muscle and liver glycogen). Hockey players generally fatigue because of depleted carbohydrate-energy stores, dehydration and/or a build-up of lactic acid (muscle burn). Good nutrition habits before, during, and after hockey games and practices will ensure players perform at their best! Eating well all year round can help a young rookie to grow and develop as well as progress to a higher level of play (Fueling the Young Athlete).

Single Game Situation

Before
A high carbohydrate diet consumed 24 hours before a hockey game will top up energy reserves (From Training Diet to Meal Plans). The immediate pre-exercise meal and/or snack containing ample carbohydrates (with low-fat foods) will ensure optimal energy and mental alertness for games (Fluids and Foods BEFORE Training/Competition).

Generally allow:

  • 3-4 hours for a large meal to digest (e.g. pasta with meat sauce and salad)
  • 2-3 hours for a smaller meal to digest (e.g. sandwich, fruit and yogurt)
  • 1-2 hours for a small snack and/or liquid meal to digest (e.g. bowl of cereal with fruit)

Caution: avoid “energy” drinks which lead to short term energy that doesn’t last.

During
Players should sip fluids after every shift to prevent dehydration symptoms (i.e., elevated heart rates, fatigue, and muscle cramps); most players will need 400-800 mL for every hour of exertion (Fluids for Athletes). One gulp is approximately one ounce (30 mL) so four gulps (4 oz / 125 mL) taken after each of four shifts adds up to sufficient hydration (16 oz / 500 mL) over an hour.

After
Recovery nutrition begins within minutes after a game or practice and includes restoring energy (carbohydrates), repairing muscle (protein), plus replenishing fluids and electrolytes (i.e. sodium, potassium). Portable foods and fluids brought to the rink can speed the recovery process, followed by a nutritious meal (Fluids and Foods AFTER Training/Competition).

Tournaments

Players are challenged to have consistent energy during tournaments. Consuming extra carbohydrates days before a tournament begins, followed by the pre-game guidelines leading into each game are recommended (From Training Diet to Meal Plans; Tournament Tips). Snacks with fluids between periods (e.g. grapes, orange sections, bites of sports bars, sport drinks) can be helpful to maintain energy levels. Postgame immediate nutrition is critical so players are energized for subsequent games (Fluids and Foods AFTER Training/ Competition). Advice about suitable restaurant choices and travel concerns may be useful when playing away from home
(Nutrition Away from Home).

Gaining Muscle

Building muscle may be desirable since a muscular player may be faster on the ice and have more physical size to withstand “checking”. However, supplementation (e.g. creatine, protein) is not the short cut to gaining muscle; instead players should:

  • Do resistance training 2-3 times a week
  • Add 500-1000 extra calories daily
  • Eat 3 meals with 3-4 snacks, 24-7
  • Plan “mini-meals” as hearty snacks
  • Drink their beverages towards the end of meals
  • Choose energy dense foods (cheese, nut butters, trailmix, etc.)

Top 2011-12 NCAA Hockey Preseason Storylines


Minnesota Duluth 2011 NCAA championship
A number of top contenders have the ability to unseat Minnesota Duluth as national champions in the spring

Wide open – The chase for the 2011-12 national title seems wide open, as seven teams earned at least one first-place vote in the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine preseason polls. Defending NCAA champion Minnesota Duluth was one of those, but ranked no higher than eighth in either poll.

New leaders – It was a summer of unprecedented change behind college hockey’s benches as nine teams named new head coaches (10 if you include Penn State, which will begin Division I play in 2012-13). The newcomers:

– Clarkson hired former Cornell assistant Casey Jones
– UMass Lowell hired former Hamilton head coach Norm Bazin
– Michigan State hired former CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos
– Michigan Tech hired former Michigan assistant Mel Pearson
– Northeastern hired former NU administrator and Pittsburgh Penguins scout Jim Madigan
– Princeton hired former St. Lawrence assistant coach Bob Prier
– Providence hired former Union head coach Nate Leaman
– Union promoted former assistant coach Rick Bennett
– Western Michigan hired former NHL coach Andy Murray

Year of the d-man? – The return of Boston College’s Brian Dumoulin and Wisconsin’s Justin Schultz – arguably the two best defensemen in college hockey last season – for their junior years leads the way in what might be a larger trend. College hockey boasts a wealth of extremely talented defensemen in 2011-12. Twelve current college defensemen are listed among NHL teams’ top 10 prospects by The Hockey News, including Dumoulin (4th for Carolina), Schultz (3rd for Anaheim), Michigan’s Jon Merrill (2nd for New Jersey) and North Dakota’s Derek Forbort (2nd for Los Angeles).

Big stages – College hockey takes to some of the sport’s biggest stages, as usual, in 2011-12, with games scheduled for eight NHL arenas and two Major League Baseball parks. Annual events like the Beanpot in Boston and the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul highlight the schedule, as well as a return to Madison Square Garden for an inter-league meeting between Boston University and Cornell. Six teams will play outdoors this year, with a doubleheader set for Fenway Park and a single game at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. North Dakota will head over the border to host Clarkson in Winnipeg as well.

Staying power – Teams like Merrimack and Union held down spots in the top 10 of national polls last season and others – like Nebraska-Omaha and Western Michigan – weren’t far behind. Can those rising programs build on those performances? What will be the impact of new coaches at Union and WMU?

Age before beauty – Eighteen of the top 21 scorers in the nation last season in points per game were juniors or seniors, demonstrating the importance of experience in college hockey. What’s more, many of those players have either graduated or signed pro contracts, opening opportunities for underclassmen to step up and become the game’s offensive leaders. Contenders to emerge include rising sophomores T.J. Tynan (Notre Dame), Jaden Schwartz (Colorado College), Jason Zucker (Denver), Kenny Agostino (Yale) and Greg Carey (St. Lawrence).

Great goaltending – While many of the top offensive performers from last season are gone, eight of the top 11 goaltenders in save percentage last year are back in college hockey. Leading the way, perhaps, is fifth-year senior Shawn Hunwick of Michigan, a former walk-on who led the Wolverines to the national championship game in April.

Impact freshmen – College hockey welcomes several dynamic newcomers into the fold this fall. The highest-touted freshmen include elite NHL draft picks like Rocco Grimaldi (North Dakota), Tyler Biggs (Miami) and Scott Mayfield (Denver). Junior stars like last year’s USHL Player of the Year (Blake Coleman, Miami) and Rookie of the Year (John Gaudreau, Boston College) will test their skills at the next level as well.

Repeat performance? – Minnesota Duluth hopes to join fellow WCHA programs Minnesota (2002, 2003) and Denver (2004, 2005) as the only repeat national champions since 1973. Leading scorer Jack Connolly, Frozen Four MVP J.T. Brown and goaltender Kenny Reiter are back for the Bulldogs, although two-thirds of last season’s top line moved on to NHL contracts.

World stage – Nebraska-Omaha head coach Dean Blais will lead the U.S. National Junior Team in pursuit of the gold medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Alberta this January with a roster that figures to be heavy on college hockey talent. Blais coached the 2010 U.S. team that won gold in the World Junior Championship and had 28 college players attend the evaluation camp for the 2012 team this summer.

Road to Tampa – The Frozen Four makes its southern-most stop in its 64-year history this April, heading to Tampa Bay’s St. Pete Times Forum. The event has drawn sellout crowds each of the past 12 years (except when it attracted 30,000+ at Detroit’s Ford Field), but this will mark the furthest it has ventured from college hockey’s traditional footprint since it was in Anaheim in 1999. Tampa is a popular hockey market with former college stars Martin St. Louis and Dwayne Roloson leading the Lightning – and an attractive end-of-winter destination for cold-weather hockey fans.

300 level? – After reaching a new high with 294 alumni skating in the NHL last season, can college hockey’s representation at the top level of the game continue to grow? Some elite former collegians have hung up the skates, like Chris Drury, but with first-year pros like Andy Miele (Miami/Phoenix), Matt Frattin (North Dakota/Toronto) and Gustav Nyquist (Maine/Detroit) challenging for NHL playing time, college hockey could make up more than 30% of the NHL.

 

Posted in NCAA, News

In-Season Training for Hockey: 10-Minute Intervals

By Maria Mountain

The amount of off ice hockey training you will need during the season depends on how much ice time you earned in the off-season.  If you get 20 – 25 minutes per game and your team plays 3 games per week and your coach runs a fairly intense practice 2-3 times per week, then you should be maintaining your fitness pretty well.  On the other hand, if you tend to play lower minutes or maybe your coach spends little more time on skills in practice rather than scrimmage and hard skating, then you need to do some extra work on your stamina if you are going to be the go to player in the third period.

In addition to the number of minutes you play and the intensity of your practice. I can’t tell you how many athletes still say “Well I didn’t do my workout on Sunday because we had a game,” my response, “What time was your game?” “Ten in the morning.” Okay, so by the time the game was over, you had shower, went home and ate lunch, it was probably 1:00 o’clock and so what happened to the rest of the day?  ”Well, I played a game!”  When you dig a little deeper you learn that they played 12-minutes.  Not really a tough outing.  Immediately after a game is almost the ideal time train, because it’s the furthest you will ever be from your next game, which means you are maximizing your recovery time.  I know that when Peter Twist was strength and conditioning coach for the Vancouver Canucks – they did their strength training immediately after a game.

When we think about stamina training for hockey players; think high intensity, short, repeated burst of exercise. I don’t want you going out and jogging for 30 minutes or sitting on a bike plodding along for 60-minutes and think that that’s going to help you be a better hockey player.  You can certainly do a light 10-minute flush ride after the game if you feel it helps your legs. But that’s not stamina training or energy system training for hockey that is active recovery.

 10-Minute Intervals:

#1 – for this workout you can use any piece of equipment you wish; a stationary bike, a skipping rope, an agility ladder, or even just stair stepping.  Here is how it works.

– Perform a nice dynamic warm up including stretches for the quadriceps, hamstrings, hips flexors and torso.
– Perform a 15-20 second full out sprint on the equipment of your choice. I like the agility ladder because it allows you to work your legs in multidirectional patterns when you are fatiguing. If you do choose the agility ladder, select a fairly basic pattern so you can maintain your speed and intensity.
– Recover for 40-45 seconds – I will often do my core bridging holds during the rest interval.
– Repeat this 15-20s on: 40-45s off pattern ten times. That’s it!
– Make sure you are maintaining the intensity and quality of your movement throughout the workout. If you are getting so fatigued that your movements become sloppy, then increase your rest.

#2 – metabolic strength training is a different form of energy system training.  Rather than performing a traditional mode of cardiovascular training such as the bike, running, jumping rope, you will perform strength training movements.

– Find a space where you can see a clock with a second hand or set the countdown timer on your watch.
– Pick three to six exercises and you will to complete those exercises for 20 seconds with 20 seconds of rest in between stations
– During the time that you’re exercising, go as hard as you can, provided that you maintain perfect technique.
o Sample exercises might include: dumbbell squat, push ups with hands on stability ball, chin ups, squat jumps, single leg squat and bungee or pulley squat and row.
– It will only take about 4-minutes to get through that cycle. You will then rest for 1 to 2 minutes and repeat the cycle again. This sounds pretty easy, doesn’t sound like that much work, but your heart will be pumping by the end, you’re muscles will be screaming, it’s actually kind of like the feeling you get when you’re playing short-handed for 4 minutes.
– You can track the number of repetitions you get in the 20 second interval to monitor your progress.

Before I wrap this up, let me be clear that the goal of metabolic strength training is to build stamina or for energy system development, the goal is not building strength.  Part three of this series covered in-season strength training for hockey.  For the technique described above the athlete will select a much lighter weight.  You muscles will be burning by the end of each working set, but you can still maintain perfect form over the 15+ reps.

Push yourself and enjoy the workouts!

 

Posted in Health, Training

How to be the Best Player and Not Make a Team

There are so many different things that coaches look for in building a team. Player skill is just one thing and sometimes not even the most important. Coaches evaluate players on a variety of other criteria including:

Team Skills – Does the player grasp the way teams work together to win games?

Relative Physical Development – Is the player physically larger or smaller than his teammates?

Leadership – In tough game situations, could the player step up as a role model for teammates?

Listening – Does the player pay attention and understand things quickly?

Personality – Does the player’s personality fit with the other players selected?

Mentoring Ability – How much can the player positively impact others on the team?

Positional Knowledge – How much does the player know about the playing the variety of situations faced in regular game?

Unselfishness – Does the player make plays for the benefit of the team or build individual stats?

Level of Effort – How hard does a player work during tryouts?

Familiarity – Does the coach have experience working with the player?

Family Involvement – Does the coach have good or bad experience working with a player’s family?

Team Needs – How many players are needed for each position? Though last on the list, team needs are often the most important.  So even though a player may be a great positional player, the chances of making a team are greatly diminished if the coach prefers another player for that limited need.

While a tryout may look like a skills contest, coaches can observe these factors by the way the skills are carried out. Most coaches believe that skill deficits are much easier to correct than the issues listed above. Coaches will gamble with lesser skilled players that present the best overall package.

Good coaches can develop skilled players. Only the players themselves (with the help of their parents) can make skilled teammates. Special thanks to Sports Esteem for the above article.

 

Playing with Intensity on the Ice

by Patrick Cohn

On October 29th 2010,  the Philadelphia Flyers fought back to win “The Battle of Pennsylvania,” 3-2 over the Pittsburg Penguins. Pittsburg dominated the first period leading to 1-0 Penguin lead. The Flyers looked flat on the ice, and forward Danny Carcillo knew that something was missing. “In the first period we were shaky with the puck. We weren’t moving our legs, and weren’t good on the fore-check. We need to start the second period with a lot more intensity if we want to win this game,” said Carcillo.

Lead by Carcillo the Flyers came out in the second and third period looking like a completely different team. Carcillo scored the first goal of the second period to tie the game 1-1, and scored another goal in the third period for the win. Once the Flyers found the right level of intensity they were faster, more physical, and flat out playing the Penguins who controlled the first period.

Playing with the proper intensity helped the Flyers come back and perform their best on the ice. Intensity deals with how psyched up or pumped you are during a game.  In hockey when your intensity is inconsistent, so if your performance. Some games, you might be psyched up and ready to play while other times, you might lack interest or feel bored, which hurts affects your ability to concentrate.

Players with low intensity may have trouble anticipating the play, feel sluggish and just go through the motions. A lack of intensity can lead to mental errors such forgetting the play or losing the puck in your own end.

In order to increase intensity, you want to challenge yourself in the opening minutes of each period by setting goals that help you focus on your performance.  For example, you might challenge yourself to skate faster than your opponent, make crisp passes, or have two more shots on goal.

An excellent time to boost your intensity is during your pregame warm-up. Not only do you need to warm-up physically, but also mentally.  You want to use your warm-up and pregame routine to help get in the right frame of mind and emotional state before competition. Listening to music is one way to do this. If you need to increase your intensity, listen to fast, upbeat music. If you need to decrease your anxiety, listening to slower paced music might be more helpful to you.

In summary, it is important to monitor your pregame level of intensity and take the necessary steps to boost your intensity prior to the game. Get your heart rate up before the game. Challenge yourself to play well and set small goals to go after and don’t play your game.

 

Posted in Mental Game

Your Mental Game and Game Time Trust

by Patrick Cohn

Your mental game of hockey helps you balance both learning skills and performing in competition.

Do you have trouble bringing your practice game skills to competition?

Many hockey players tighten up, over think and try too hard during competition, which can cause them to under-perform.

You practice countless hours to perform your best in competition. But, sometimes your practice can backfire and cause you to lose trust in your game. If you are stuck in a training mindset, you’ll have a more difficult time taking your hockey game to competition.

When you’re practicing, you’re in an analytical mindset. You are trying to “fix” your mistakes and improve your skills. This mindset is appropriate for practice, but can hurt your performance in competition. When you’re focused on technique, you in a learning mindset, which is necessary to improve. However, at game time you have to trust in your skills. You want to be able to allow your performance to happen in competition, rather than forcing it to happen.

Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes knows a thing or two about how to let it happen.

“I’m just kind of letting loose and playing the game. I’m not thinking. I’m just moving my feet first and letting everything else fall into place. For me, it’s about making sure my legs are churning and knowing that when they are, things just start to happen. Then it’s just about reacting. That’s what I’ve tried to focus on — making sure I’m working my tail off in practice and working my tail off in games.”
~Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes

Staal has a simple approach to each game, react and think less on the ice. You too can simplify your game by thinking less and reacting on the ice. One way to do that is not over-analyze your technique or “how to” perform a skill. You want to save those thoughts for practice. Instead, think about reacting with your vision and feel of the ice under you. You might feel quick on your feet or see a good pass and hit it.

Your hockey psychology tip for today. Divide your practice into both learning and performing. Re-create the same situations that you’ll experience in competition. Allow your skills to flow and have a trusting mindset. At game time, you have to let go of technique and trust your instincts.

Posted in Mental Game