Hockey is by far the most physically demanding sport out there. If you’re an athlete/coach of another sport, here me out before you send me hate mail.
I DON’T mean hockey players need the highest level of anaerobic or aerobic conditioning. I DON’T mean that hockey players need to be the strongest. I DON’T mean that hockey players need to be the most coordinated.
I DO mean that when you consider every aspect of athleticism, hockey is the most demanding sport. Think about it: All of the hand-eye coordination necessities of sports like lacrosse and basketball are present in puck handling in hockey. All the metabolic demands of most team sports are present in hockey (although there are some obvious slight differences between more aerobic-based sports like soccer and basketball and between more strictly anaerobic-based sports like football). All the strength requirements of high-speed contact team sports are required of hockey players.
So what sets hockey apart? All of these physical demands are tacked on top of mastering the art of skating-maneuvering on a thin metal blade with a forward-backward rocker and side-to-side hollow. Skating is an incredibly challenging activity by itself. Need proof? Throw an athlete from any other sport on a pair of skates and watch them learn (read: fall…hilariously).
Despite the limited surface area of the skate blade on the ice, I think many hockey players are making a huge off-ice training mistake. More on this soon…
Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.