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Success in hockey goes beyond what takes place on the ice, and the Connecticut Oilers have focused on making sure they are prepared in every way for the season ahead.
Steven Brown, the director of organization and team development for the Oilers, said the team has developed a training program that will help players get ready to be at their best during the grind of a long season.
“We’ve created a training model where we take a look at the entire year and take into account every possible scenario that can come up during a season, including injuries,” Brown said. “The players have really bought into it. The training model has worked out very well for us.”
During the off-season, the training model features four days where the players work on strength training and use one day for speed work and one day for cardio work. Players can still get time on the ice during the off-season, but the training emphasis is on off-ice workouts.
The schedule changes during the season, but there are still three fitness sessions per week.
“It’s roughly 90 percent fitness and 10 percent hockey in the off-season. During the season, it’s 60 percent hockey and 40 percent fitness,” Brown said. “The players are in great shape for the season. Not only does it benefit players during the season, but it benefits them in showcases where there are going to be scouts present. We want them to be at their best so that they can make a good impression and have a chance to move up.”
Brown, who has a wealth of experience coaching hockey in Europe and has seen how the right training efforts have paid off on the European hockey scene, said he is always looking for ways to improve the training model and often looks at the training procedures used by hockey teams around the world.
“It’s always changing and we pay attention to what is going on in the world of hockey,” Brown said. “We want to have the best model possible, and we believe the one we have this year is more advanced than in the past.”
Players do get a chance to have time off during Christmas, giving their bodies time to recover from the demanding training sessions and the first half of the season.
The training picks back up after the holiday, with the players well rested and ready to go again.
“You can’t take time off and expect to maintain your conditioning,” Brown said. “It has to be a year-round process.”