Off-Season Hockey Development

As the chaos typical of off-season hockey training starts to die down, I wanted to share some “Wednesday Wisdom” with you.

1) Hockey Development includes, or should I say necessitates, taking time AWAY from hockey! My friend David Lasnier talks about this and other great hockey training tips in a podcast he recently did with Perry Nickelston. Check it out here: Stop Chasing Pain Podcast with David Lasnier

2) I recently got an email question from my colleague Dennis Adsit asking about heart rate responses to slideboarding compared to shuttle runs. There is a very long-winded response to this question which outlines what we’re really looking for out of our conditioning, but the simple answer is you can get comparable heart rates if you really push the tempo. While this isn’t always possible as fatigue really starts to infiltrate, this is the tempo we want to aim for on EVERY interval (at least, every interval under 30s).

20s Slideboard

3) About 6 weeks ago, Robert Morris University goalie Marissa Angel set a personal record with 2 chin-ups. The next week she set a PR with 3 chin-ups. The next week 4. The next week 5. Last week 6. And just yesterday 8. I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work she’s put forth this Summer. Getting strong isn’t only for male hockey players. For most females, doing 8 chin-ups seems like a tall feet. As with any long-term goal, the most important step is the first one!

4) Being an explosive hockey player on the ice starts with being explosive off the ice. Check out the videos below. In the first video, where (from left to right) Dave Macalino (URI), Jeff Buvinow (Brown), and Charlie Vasaturo (Salmon Arm Silverbacks; BCHL) perform a 1-Arm DB Hang Snatch with an 80, 90, and 90 lb dumbbell (respectively).In the second, Colby Cohen (in the Colorado Avalanche system) does a Hang Clean with 230 for 2 reps.

1-Arm DB Hang Snatch

Hang Clean

5) You don’t need to wait until a certain age before you can start getting strong. This video is of ’96 Conor Landrigan doing DB Reverse Lunges with 65 lb DBs. Conor had zero lifting experience before starting with us about 3 months before this video was taken. We have about a half dozen ’96 hockey players that are of comparable strength. It’s no coincidence that these players are amongst the top players in the country. The work ethic that goes into building strength like this also transfers into other aspects of hockey.

DB Reverse Lunge

6) Last week I was driving on a state highway in Maryland and was abruptly stopped by a red light at a 4-way intersection. One of the “ways” was a parking lot. The quick red light caused about a half dozen cars on each side of the road to come to screeching halt. I looked at the perpendicular lights to see who triggered it and saw it was the car coming from the parking lot. I looked at the driver, who was texting on a phone inconspicuously positioned on his lap. I looked at his green light. I looked at him, back at the green light. Hilariously for him, and enragingly for me, he glanced up to see if the light had turned green right after it returned back to red. This struck me as a great symbol of current sociological norms. As we make an effort to occupy every second of our time, life is often passing us by.

7) Speed training with a crossover and transitional emphasis is a must in any hockey training program. I outline a lot of the dynamic starts and transitional speed drills in my hockey speed training manual Breakaway Hockey Speed.

10-Yard Sprint (5-Yard Back Run Start) 1

10-Yard Sprint (5-Yard Back Run Start) 2

To your success,

Kevin Neeld


Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!