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When it comes to programming for ice hockey we must ask ourselves…what qualities matter most in sport competition?  In other words, what qualities can we train off the ice, that make the most tangible differences on the ice?  What abilities make great players great?   In order to answer these questions, a good place to start is to look at some of the existing literature and attempt to see what correlates best with on-ice performance. 

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Injury rates in the sport of ice hockey have been investigated by multiple researchers as a means of assessing trends, addressing anatomical areas prone to trauma, and advocating for equipment/rules modification based on inferential findings. The purpose of this article is to a.) define what an injury encompasses in the sport of ice hockey, b.) outline the research pertaining to injury rate computation, c.) reveal anatomical areas that may be exposed to injury at a higher degree during sport competition and d.) briefly outline injury mechanisms and types.

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Suffering an injury can be a difficult time for an athlete.  The athlete may experience forms of depression from an inability to participate in practices, training sessions, and competition.  As a physical therapist and strength coach, it is essential that we find methods to keep the athlete prepared for a return to competition, physically and mentally.  One method to keep an athlete physically prepared for a return to performance is the application of blood flow restriction (BFR) training.  

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I must admit that I’m a principle oriented strength coach.  In other words, our principles dictate our program design and the way we train our athletes.  Our programs are basic in nature but every working part has a rhyme and reason set firmly on a foundation of what we call the BIG three. 

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I’ve been involved in the game of hockey my entire life, first as a player and now as a strength coach.  I remember the demands of testing, the competition amongst teammates and the feeling of self-satisfaction after the effort of exertion.  Testing was, and still is a rewarding time for me.  Looking back, one protocol that has stood the test of time, both past and present, in the sport of ice hockey is the 300-yard shuttle.  I endured this test for many years as a player, and have had it in my coaching arsenal during testing day to see “who was in shape” and ready for the demands of a long, drawn out, grinding season packed with 30mph collisions and large amounts of travel.   However, just like everything else in the biological sciences, the more you learn, the more you question yourself, the more you question your methods, the more you question common practice.  After all common practice doesn’t always equate to best practice.  Below are three reasons we no longer test the 300-yard shuttle at DSC. 

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The role of nutrition in sports performance cannot be ignored.  Eating the proper foods serves as a performance enhancer, recovery stimulator and has a profound impact on body composition and fuel efficiency during exercise.  We are what we eat, and poor food choices may have a direct correlation on the results we seek both on and off the ice.  During the course of the competitive hockey season athletes train at Donskov Strength and Conditioning twice/week.  That is NOT a lot of time when we consider that there are one hundred and sixty eight hours in a seven-day workweek.  It doesn't take a PhD in mathematics to figure out 1.19% of the week is spent in the weight room, leaving 98.81% of the time sleeping, eating, practicing, playing hockey and attending school.  The glue that binds all of these activities is will power and good decision-making. The purpose of this article is to educate parents on the importance of proper nutrition during the hockey season.  This article was written for you because more often than not, you are directly responsible for food preparation, grocery shopping and packing on the road.  So where do we start?  What constitutes a good meal?  What should my son or daughter eat before a game?  After a game? This article serves to answer these questions and provide practical solutions sprinkled in with a little bit of science.

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The hockey season is finally upon us.  The demands on schedule are just starting to ramp up; weekend hockey games, practices, extra-cirricular activities, school work, and travel will all be part and parcel of the process we call hockey season.  In addition to these hectic demands, there are also scheduled strength and conditioning sessions.  The purpose of this article is to educate the reader/parent on the unique demands placed upon the hockey player during the course of the season and how the strength and conditioning staff serves to aid on-ice performance during this time.  

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Dear 23 year-old Anthony,

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It’s that time of year again at DSC.  Another long, grinding summer of action packed, electrically charged energy in the weight room.  A time for PR’s, sweat equity, discipline, dedication and a one-day better mentality!  It’s also time for a brand new group of interns to begin their quest in the strength and conditioning field in hopes of gaining valuable hands-on experience and one day becoming a practitioner.   This will be the seventh year since the inception of our internship program at DSC.  The truth is, all interns want to learn, but what they need the most has nothing to do with strength and conditioning methodologies, exercise science, or set/rep schemes, and everything to do with people skills and accountability.   

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The sport of hockey is extremely demanding.  Players reaching speeds of up to 30mph is the equivalent of hundreds of small car crashes occurring throughout the course of a 7-8 month season.  Physiological, psychological and mechanical stressors mount during this time.  It is during this period that the strength and conditioning practitioner faces a major challenge; the law of competing demands; In other words, how to balance stress so that players performs optimally when it matters most on the ice.  This job changes during the off-season when the major stressors of competition are removed.  The off-season, although often limited in time, is paramount in terms of physical preparation and the application of additional stressors that may not be appropriate during the period of intense competition. 

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