These are very uncertain times. The game of hockey doesn’t mean much right now in the grand scheme of things.
Talking and writing about the game has been a welcomed distraction.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been very fortunate to interview some QMJHL Draft Prospects, NHL Draft Prospects and NHL Prospects regarding the end of their seasons, their journey in the game and what they are doing to stay in shape.
Between balancing Zoom calls from scouts and shooting pucks all the youngsters I’ve interviewed have said they have gotten creative with their workouts.
In the high tech era of exercise equipment and specialized programs some of these players have gone so far to ask their family members or communities for old unused gym equipment.
Which in itself is pretty damn awesome when you think about it.
There’s something great about going old school.
The friendly confines of their basement where so many of their hockey dreams started playing mini sticks or skating on roller blades has now turned into a make shift workout facility to keep those dreams alive.
When the game returns I think we are really going to find out who put the work in and who didn’t.
Who got creative to get ahead and who got left behind.
I know personally, I should be doing a hell of a lot more than I am during right now to get in some sort of shape.
Actually I worked for three to four weeks straight clearing brush around or property, going on walks, bike rides and playing with various sports with the kids.
My daughters are making run quite a bit, but that’s not near enough, especially when there’s a cold beverage waiting with my name on it.
But honestly, those around the game are going to quickly find out which players were committed and dedicated to their fitness.
They are going to find out which players understand how to target certain sport specific muscle groups.
In the scouting world, especially at the NHL Level their watching and observing everything.
I might be making it sound like these young players are alone in all of this, they are certainly not.
I’m sure their agents or family advisors and personal trainers are definitely connecting through Zoom to ensure things are going well, but the real question is do players in this era know how to workout independently or do they need someone there watching over them.
I guess in some cases that all depends on the kid, but we are certainly going to find out.
With small group on ice sessions on the horizon, players are cautiously optimistic about getting back to some sort of normalcy in life and in their training.
Clearly getting creative with their workouts doesn’t mean watching old reruns of the Caribbean Workout!
Maybe they’re channeling their inner Rocky IV without the snow of course
For your viewing pleasure 👇
Being creative has taken on an entirely new meaning in these uncertain times.
“We have a little gym set up in the basement.”
“My brother and I have been working out every day and I try to squeeze in shooting some pucks in the backyard.”
“We also have access to a great running hill.”
“The combination of that stuff means that I’m taking strides to get better actually right now.”
“It is uncertain times, but I know I’m getting better and I’m taking strides towards my goal, said Evan Nause of the Sioux Falls Stampede.
Right now I’m trying to train the best I can,” said Jakob Pelletier of the Moncton Wildcats.
“It’s hard being in the gym without a trainer, but I’m trying to figure out some new stuff.”
“There is a lot of question marks for me.”
“If I come back in the Q, am I going to get traded at the Draft or at the deadline.”
“We are going to know or have that answer so enough.”
“Either we come back in September or in January, but my main focus is on playing in the NHL.”
“I think I have to be ready if the chance is there,” stressed Pelletier
“I have just been working on everything really,” admitted Brayden Schmitt to trying to stay in shape.
“I’m outside taking shots, stick handling and working out.”
“I’m just trying to stay on top of everything,” said Schmitt, who’s one of the top Maritimer defensive prospects ranked for this years QMJHL Draft.
Braeden MacPhee is driven by his pursuit to play at the next level.
“I’m a goal setter and love training off ice.”
“I’m looking to build muscle and quicker feet so I’m faster and more explosive when I get back on the ice,” said MacPhee of the Moncton Midget AAA Flyers.
MacPhee is ranked between the 6th and 8th rounds of this years QMJHL Draft.
Luke Woodworth is driven to improve so he can have an impact at the next level.
“Building muscle has been a big thing for me as I’m not the biggest guy.”
“I get a daily workout in and runs are what I’m doing until I can get back on the ice and in the gym,” said Woodworth who is ranked 7th overall in the QMJHL Draft rankings by the CSR.
“When the season ended I have been running and lifting weights to do as much as I can to push myself to become the best possible player I can be when camp comes around,” stressed Carter Ansems, who’s listed at 57th overall by the QMJHL CSR for this year’s Q Draft.
From a hockey perspective Moncton Flyers defenceman Dyllan Gill is trying to get in the best shape of his life.
“Since the season ended, my main focus has been to get stronger and put good weight on.”
“I am very fortunate to have such an organized training program that has provided us with a home training program through Peak Fitness App,” explained Gill.
“The program was developed to help us train properly up until the end of this pandemic and give us the basics to prepare for an intense summer of training.”
“Everyday I work out at least two hours, do cardio and work on shooting.”
“Combined with this has been the opportunity to eat healthy home made meals daily. The combination of both diet and training will help me to add muscle and strength in the offseason.”
“My family and I are doing great during this quarantine,” Sherbrooke Phoenix foward and NHL Draft Prospect Patrick Guay said. “We are staying active by playing outdoor sports and keep training for hockey.”
“I’m doing a lot of biking right now in my neighborhood with the hills. I’m doing a lot of sports outdoor like shooting pucks and playing basketball and I also play alot of ping pong.”
“Late in the day I usually do a workout to stay in shape as well,” confessed Guay.
Benoit-Oliver Groulx’s final season in the QMJHL may have ended in bitter disappointment, but the Ducks Prospect is eager to start the next chapter of his career and accomplish his lifelong dream of playing in the NHL.
“I’m looking forward to my summer and get ready for next year.”
“I have a big summer in front of me right now.,” Groulx said.
“We are still in the unknown right now, but with five to six months to train and get ready I’m trying to take it day by day.”
“I’m trying to do a lot from home right now and watching a lot of video from this year and last year.”
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen at training camp or when that might be, but I have a big training summer so I’m going to be ready for my camp.”
What’s Cape Breton Eagles defenceman Adam McCormick doing to stay in shape?
“My parents have been asking other family members for gym equipment they don’t use so I guess that’s the only thing we can do right now.”
“We have a pretty big basement so we have a bunch of gym equipment down there, so I’ve been doing that everyday plus going for runs,” McCormack said.
“I’m just trying to stay busy.”
Building muscle, working on foot speed and endurance should always be the top priority for any player during the off season, but especially those players who want to make the jump to the next level.
We haven’t even discussed eating habits and nutritional intake, well personally I don’t even want to go there.
If and when the game returns we could see a definite spike and a entirely new appreciation for fitness and those that provide it.
For now Zoom calls, creative workouts and watching game tape seem to be trending in the hockey world.