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The neuromuscular, mitochondrial and structural changes involved from resistance training have been investigated by several researchers  (Holloszy & Coyle, 1984; Kraemer, Deschenes, & Fleck, 1988; Kraemer, Fleck, & Evans, 1996; MacDougall, Sale, Elder, & Sutton, 1982; MacDougall et al., 1979).

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Skating can be described as a bi-phasic activity involving both a support phase and a swing phase  (Garrett & Kirkendall, 2000; Marino, 1977; Upjohn, Turcotte, Pearsall, & Loh, 2008).  The support phase may be further subdivided into both single leg support, corresponding to glide, and double support corresponding to push off.   Propulsion occurs during the first half of single leg support and commences during double leg support as the hip is abducted and externally rotated and the knee is extended (Garrett & Kirkendall, 2000; Marino, 1977).  Skating is a skill, and the differences between elite and non-elite skaters have been investigated by a number of researchers  (Budarick et al., 2018; McPherson, Wrigley, & Montelpare, 2004; Shell et al., 2017; Upjohn et al., 2008)  

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Recently, there has been some fruitful dialogue by several close collogues regarding how best to lace up a pair of hockey skates for increased performance on the ice.  The idea of leaving the first eyelet untied in hopes of producing greater speeds was reinforced in a December article titled “The NHL’s best young skaters all have something in common-how they tie their skates” in The Athletic.  The purpose of this blog is to briefly outline the biomechanical considerations involved in this decision.  Prior to moving forward, we must first define a hockey stride. According to Marino (1977) a hockey stride is:

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Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923), an Italian polymath/economist was credited with the “Principle of Unequal Distribution.”  Management consultant Joseph Juran suggested the principle and named it after Pareto, who at the time showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.  The Principle of Unequal Distribution has been used to describe:

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There is currently a limited amount of information for the sport performance coach pertaining to stride mechanics and bio-motor mechanisms in competitive ice hockey.  The goal of this article is to briefly outline several research articles that may be used by professionals to steer decision making and/or gain a deeper understanding of the kinematic and bio-motor applications involved in the sport.  In other words, here is my brain dump!  A mixture of brief research findings sprinkled with some pragmatic takeaways.  Let’s start out by defining the hockey stride:

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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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