Late-Season Hockey Training

This past weekend I was up in Boston for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference with Devan McConnell (Head Sports Performance Coach, UMass Lowell Hockey). The conference had a few great takeaways that I’ll get to in a future post, but with youth, junior, and college seasons starting to transition into playoffs, and having just spent 4 days with Devan, I thought this would be an opportune time to share a guest article Devan wrote on how he’s training his players at this time.

Check out the article and post any thoughts/comments you have in the section below!

Late-Season Hockey Training by Devan McConnell

This time of year, playoff hockey is just around the corner. All the hard work during the off season and the first half of the year is hopefully coming to fruition. At this point in time, the overall goal is to be as fresh as possible going into the playoffs. Naturally, this means eliminating the weight room and off ice training from the schedule, right?


Off ice training at this late point in the season is just as crucial, if not more so, than any other time of year. The sad truth is that it only takes about 10 days away from training to begin to lose power and explosiveness. All that hard work throughout the year, and just a few days away from the weight room and you will start to slow down.

Training right up until the championship game should remain a priority if you want to play up to your potential when it matters most.

This doesn’t mean that endless hours need to be dedicated to off ice training or that exhausting routines that leave you with nothing left to give are a good idea at this point in the season. In fact, short and fast should be the rule of thumb. The point of late season training is to maintain or peak speed and power, not to continue to develop weight room strength. Training sessions should be 20minutes or less, and most if not all main exercises should be performed at loads around 60% of your 1 rep maximum, as explosively as possible.

Pre-practice warm-up with Speed & Power work
This brief, focused, and explosive training session performed 1-2 times per week (at least 2 days away from the next game) will allow you to keep your speed and power that you have worked so hard all year to develop, without adding fatigue at this crucial point in the season.

An example of this training session would look like this:

A1) Hang Clean 3×3@65%
A2) Ball Rollout 2×6
A3) Glute Stretch 2x:20

B1) Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat 3×3@60%
B2) DB Row 2×5@65%
B3) Standing Anti Rotation Press 2×6

C1) Bench Press 2×3@60%
C2) KettleBell Single Leg Deadlift 2×5@65%
C3) Suitcase Carry 2x10yards

Showing an RFE Split Squat and RFE Split Squat Jump Complex, another power development method Devan uses earlier in season
To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
– Mike Boyle, Head S&C Coach, US Women’s Olympic Team

“…if you want to be the best, Kevin is the one you have to train with”
– Brijesh Patel, Head S&C Coach, Quinnipiac University