Exercises to Improve Hockey Performance

 

For hockey players who want to reach their peak performance on the ice, year-long training is necessary. In the off-season, it is vital to focus on training parameters that imitate the sport and hinder injury.

These two exercises are ideal for female hockey players who want to keep a competitive edge.

Even though it’s not as much fun as when you were a kid, loading a sled down and sprinting can help prepare you for being out on the ice. 

Sled Pushes

Besides being easy to execute, Sled Pushes are a good way to increase mental toughness, enhance conditioning, and increase power and strength. Further, by manipulating training parameters, it is simple to mimic playing conditions you will face on the ice.

For instance, put a moderate amount of weight on the sled and sprint as quickly as possible for 60 meters, rest, and repeat. As long as you are sustaining around a 1:3 or 1:4 work-to-rest ratio, you will be imitating on-ice conditions. 

What this means is that however long it takes you to do a 60-meter Sled Push, you should rest three to four times that long. This creates a lactic environment. The more your body can adjust to this in the off-season, the greater your performance will be on the ice.

A shoulder workout doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to be done consistently.

Sample Shoulder Exercise: Seated Dumbbell External Rotations

Sit on a bench with your foot flat on the bench and your right knee bent. Your left leg has to be off to the side with your foot flat on the ground.

Put your right elbow on your right knee and hold a lightweight dumbbell. Place your forearm so that it’s parallel to your body and to the ground.

Raise the dumbbell by turning your arm until your forearm is perpendicular to the ground. Sustain elbow and knee contact.

Turn your arm through the reverse motion to get back to the starting position.

Repeat for a certain number of reps and do with your opposite arm.

Best Field Hockey Teams in the World (Part I)

Australia has three world cups for the men’s field hockey team. 

Hockey is obvious a competitive sport. Where soccer (football to some) involves just running with your feet, hockey entails the added fascination of a small ball moved around by a long stick the players are always bent over. The game is a huge Olympic event, producing adrenaline rushes through the bloodstreams of its vast number of Field Hockey is the national sport of major countries such as India, Canada, and Pakistan.

Australia

With three World Cups under its belt (1986, 2010 and 2014), the Australian men’s field hockey team (dubbed the Kookaburras), is truly the apple of any hockey fan’s eyes. They held the top spot in the FIH World Ranking of 2018, earning a lucky 1906 points. They are the only team that has the record of five consecutive wins in the Champions Trophy from 2008 to 2012. 

The panache of the Australian national team can be noticed from the fact that while the top-ranking they have ever held is number 1, the lowest they have been put to is just number 3. No other team on earth possesses such stellar records.

Argentina

As their logo proudly shows, the Argentina men’s hockey teams are referred to as The Lions (“Los Leones”). Currently, they are in the second position in FIH World Rankings, right behind Australia, pushed there from their first position in late 2017. Argentina is the only team that succeeded in getting a gold medal for the Americas at the Olympic Games. In 2016 at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, they defeated Belgium with a 4-2 win.

The Argentina field hockey team is prominent in the fact that they have been in every Hockey World Cup since 1973, though their best position has sadly been 3rd, earning a bronze medal in the 2014 World Cup at The Hague. 

The History of Field Hockey (Part II)

Early field hockey was popular in Canada and still is today. 

Like in the early days, British Columbia today continues to be the major center for field hockey in Canada. Though, that isn’t to say the game wasn’t being played in other parts of the globe. Records show the creation of clubs in Calgary and the game being played in Halifax, Toronto, and Newfoundland in the 1900s. Presently, field hockey is enjoyed and played across Canada.

The Game Today

Hockey experienced its highest level of success in British colonial India, where Calcutta HC was created as the first professional field hockey club outside of England in 1885. The sport constantly grew at a quick pace in India during the 19th and early 20th centuries. When field hockey was reestablished as an Olympic sport in 1928, India went on to win the gold medal every year from 1928 to 1956. Also, field hockey has achieved excellent success in the former colonies of New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, Hong Kong, and the U.S.

Field Hockey Today

Field hockey is mostly practiced as a women’s sport in Canada and the USA where it is among the most well-liked women’s school sports. Since field hockey has been played by Americans since the time of British colonial rule, it has maintained being one of the oldest college sports in the U.S. 

Soon after the creation of the men’s professional field hockey teams in England, many women’s colleges in America created the first women’s field hockey teams in the U.S. College field hockey has increased in popularity to the point where it is now acclaimed by over 250 U.S. colleges and universities. All this success has made field hockey one of the most rewarding scholarship sports in the U.S.

Competitive opportunities come in the form of junior and senior leagues that are tiered into divisions that reflect every level of play. Yearly provincial, club and invitational tournaments complement league play and deliver a chance to enjoy the game.

 

The History of Field Hockey (Part I)

Field hockey is a popular sport across the globe.

The game of field hockey is played vastly across the world. In fact, field hockey is the second biggest team sport on earth, played in more than 100 countries. In Canada, it is a well-liked family orientated sport, played in clubs by both women and men. Also, the game is played in numerous schools and provides a lifetime of both social and sporting opportunities for officials, players, and administrators.

The History of the Game

The origins of the game can be trailed back to the earliest civilizations of the world. Though, the modern game of field hockey was established in the British Isles. The modern game began in England in the mid-1800s and the first formal field hockey club (The Blackheath Football and Hockey Club) was created in 1861.

Many concepts and rules changed during the early years as the game grew throughout the British Empire. From these origins came not only the field hockey nations of Pakistan, India, and Australia but the expansion of the game in more than 100 countries. As a result, field hockey became the second biggest team sport on earth after soccer.

Since the 1908 Olympic Games in London, field hockey has been a men’s Olympic sport. The women’s game is a current addition, first acknowledged at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Field hockey has women’s and men’s World Cup as well as competitions at other International Games such as the Commonwealth Games.

The History of Field Hockey in Canada

While the game developed around the globe in the late 1800s, so too did Canadian field hockey. Both men’s and women’s field hockey was established and growing in British Columbia before the end of the 19th century. Documentations show that as early as 1896, clubs on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver were enjoying regular games. Also, schools began playing the game with the earliest record being a 1903 Vancouver High School match played between a team of girls and boys.  

 

Greatest Montreal Canadiens Players of All-Time (Part IV)

Patrick Roy was one of the greatest goalies for the Montreal Canadiens. 

Goalie: Patrick Roy

Blame it on Ronald Corey.

He was the one who fired general manager Serge Savard and coach Jacques Demers four games into the 1995-96 season. They really wouldn’t have made the mistakes that their successors did. 

Corey then appointed Mario Tremblay as a coach and Rejean Houle as GM, even though Tremblay had never coached in his life. 

Six weeks into his coaching career, Tremblay left Patrick Roy in the net for nine goals against the Red Wings. Roy, who had a serious dislike for Tremblay even before he was hired to coach the Canadiens, requested a trade. 

Houle, the rookie general manager, was now put in the difficult position of having to trade one of the most well-liked players to ever represent the city of Montreal. The move he made with the Colorado Avalanche was one of the poorest decisions in NHL history. 

Roy, with his two Stanley Cups and 289 wins, as well as captain Mike Keane, was let go for Martin Rucinsky, Jocelyn Thibault, and Andrei Kovalenko. 

Even though Roy had already played in 551 games with the Canadiens, his career was far from over.

He would go on to enjoy eight seasons in Colorado and would improve his career record to 551-315-131. He had career goals- a .912 save percentage a .912 save percentage and against average of 2.54. In addition, he had 66 shutouts. 

From the time Roy left the Habs until he retired, the Canadiens would garner only two playoffs series. The Avalanche earned two Stanley Cups. 

Roy is always in debate as being the best goaltender to ever play the game of hockey. Therefore, he is worthy of being named Montreal’s all-time greatest netminder, regardless of how quickly his Canadiens career ended. 

Now, if only Ronald Corey hadn’t fired Savard and Demers…

 

Greatest Montreal Canadiens Players of All-Time (Part III)

Maurice Richard really made an impression on the ice.

Right Wing: Maurice Richard

When Maurice Richard came into the league in 1942-43, he scored five goals in 16 games before a broken leg finished his season. He had shown promise, but no one in the NHL at that time could have known what he would go on to do. 

When he came back to the ice the next season, The Rocket swiftly became the most thrilling player the NHL had witnessed in a very long time. His offensive skill set had never been observed before. Defenders didn’t know how to stop him.

Richard is famous as the first player in league history to score 50 goals in a season. He accomplished it in only 50 games and in only his second full NHL season. For his career, The Rocket scored 544 times in the regular season and an incredible 82 times in the playoffs. Both still are Canadiens’ records. 

Richard helped in bringing eight Stanley Cups to the city of Montreal, five straight from 1955-60. The Rocket played his last game in 1960 and was quickly voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Defense: Larry Robinson

Simply put, Larry Robinson was one of the best offensive defensemen to ever play hockey. 

A steal in the second round of the 1971 amateur draft (where the Habs also picked Guy Lafleur first overall), “Big Bird” would go on to play 17 amazing seasons with the Canadiens. 

After 1,202 career regular-season games played in Montreal, Robinson is perched near the top of all the Canadiens’ major offensive records. His 883 points put him fifth on the all-time list, while his 686 assists put him at fourth. 

Additionally, he was pretty good in his own end, completing his career a plus-730 (plus-700 with the Canadiens). 

Robinson earned two Norris Trophies, six Stanley Cups, and one Conn Smythe in his 17 seasons with the Canadiens. In 1992, he retired from playing hockey. 

Greatest Montreal Canadiens Players of All-Time (Part II)

Jacques Plante was one of the best goalies for the Montreal Canadiens. 

Goalie: Jacques Plante 

The pioneer of the modern-day goalie mask was also a great keeper himself. He’s the all-time leader in Canadiens wins with 314, completing his career with 2.23 goals-against average. Also, he won six Stanley Cups and posted 58 shutouts. 

Plante edges Ken Dryden as runner-up primarily due to the fact that Dryden’s career was way too short. 

Center: Jean Beliveau

Jean Beliveau is the most beloved Canadiens figure of all time and the best center in the history of this fabulous organization. 

Beliveau’s offensive statistics lead all centers to ever put on the red, white and blue. He earned 1,219 points (507-712) in 1,125 regular-season games. He sits second to only Guy Lafleur in career scoring with the Habs. 

Le Gros Bill played his first game in 1953-54 and would go on to play 20 seasons with the Canadiens. Ten of those seasons he served as captain. 

His celebrated career included two Hart Trophies, 10 Stanley Cup championships, an Art Ross and a Conn Smythe. 

He was an incredible hockey player and an even better human being. He’ll forever be known as not only one of the best centers to ever play the game but one of the most respected too.  

Left-Wing: Steve Shutt

Steve Shutt was a greatly recruited amateur who had a difficult time getting into the NHL. Until he was put on a line with Guy Lafleur. 

Once coach Scotty Bowman put wingers Lafluer and Shutt with center Peter Mahovlich, things just clicked. In their first year together, Shutt had 35 assists and 30 goals as a third-year player in the league (Mahovlich had 117 points and Lafleur scored 53 times). 

After 13 seasons, Shutt retired in 1983-84, but not before earning five Stanley Cups. In 1993, he was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

 

Greatest Montreal Canadiens Players of All-Time (Part I)

These hockey players are some of the best players for the Montreal Canadiens. 

In pro hockey, the Montreal Canadiens are considered one of the all-time greatest organizations. Picking the best player at every position is no simple task. However, it is still fun to do. 

Here are the all-time greatest Montreal Canadiens at each position.

The All Runner-Up Team

Center: Henri Richard 

The “Pocket Rocket” is 3rd in all-time Canadiens scoring with 1,046 points. Also, he has a club record of 1,256 regular-season games. His 11 Stanley Cup rings signify more championships than any other athlete in North American pro sports.

Left-Wing: Mats Naslund

Naslund was the first European to play for the Habs. He is remembered as one of the most thrilling left-wingers in Canadiens’s history. In spite of playing only eight seasons in Montreal (617 games), Naslund accrued 612 points, including 243 goals. He is still the most recent Canadien to score 100 points in a season, earning 110 in 1985-86.

Right Wing: Guy Lafleur

The Flower would be thought of as the best right winger in almost any other organization’s history, but the Canadiens had a Rocket who played this same position. Lafleur is the all-time top point-getter for the Habs with 1,246 in 961 regular-season games. He won five Stanley Cups in the 1970s as well as earning two Hart Trophies.

Defense: Guy Lapointe

Lapointe played 14 seasons in Montreal and aided the team in winning six Stanley Cups. He was one of the best offensive defensemen in club history and ranks second in points by a defender with 572.

Defense: Serge Savard

Savard will always be known for his famous “Savardian Spin-o-Rama. But he was way more than just a defenseman. He played in 917 regular-season games, earning 412 points from the blue line while completing his career at plus-492. He was a huge part of eight championship teams and earned the Conn Smythe in 1968-69.

In-Depth with Meghan Huertas

Meghan Huertas is from Florida.

In the hockey world, things change rapidly. Now Meghan Huertas is living in the Northeast practicing two nights a week and playing hockey on weekends.

She’s from Florida, went to college in Vermont, went to college in Minnesota. How’d did she get into hockey and make her way around the country for love of the game?

A little background on her family: no one played hockey. Her dad was born and raised in Cuba, she was born and raised in South Florida and when she was about four, her parents took her to a Florida Panthers game and she quickly fell in love with it. She was begging them that she wanted to play hockey. 

Her parents began panicking like ‘What in the world is this?” They took her to learn to skate and half the ice was figure skating, the other half was ice hockey. They put her on the figure skating side and her mom said she’d stand on the center ice red line staring at the hockey side. Her mom said ever since then she would not let it go. They let her play and ever since then she’s never stopped.

Meghan Huertas graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Huertas, whose dad is from Cuba, grew up in Florida. Primarily, it was her sport of choice, not her race, that made her stick out.

First Hockey Game

When he first took her to a hockey game and she begged them to let her play, they were like, ‘What do we do? Why, out of all the sports, do you want to play this?’” As she grew up in the sport, she swiftly realized that neither Floridians nor anyone with Hispanic/Latino heritage was famous in ice hockey.

This is why Huertas wants to be famous for who she is: a Cuban American.

 Trailblazer Blake Bolden

These women were incredible hockey players. 

Blake Bolden is a professional women’s hockey player who became the 1st black player in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). She has won championships in the NWHL with the Boston Pride. She also won with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (Boston Blades). She currently plays for the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL. Bolden was a player for four seasons at Boston College. She was captain of the team in 2012-2013.

The defenseman had 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) during the regular season for the Beauts, who were sadly defeated by the Minnesota Whitecaps in the Isobel Cup Final. 

How It All Started

Bolden became acquainted with hockey by a white man her mom dated when she was younger who had a somewhat different take. He liked that she was the only black girl. Her father told her to forget about the boys. Do what she wanted to do. 

Growing up, she didn’t see folks who looked like her playing hockey. It never mattered to her. She’s in it for the love of the game. She might have had a bit more to prove than others due to her race and gender. She believed if she worked hard and let her talent shine through, she would get the respect of her teammates and the folks around her, regardless.

Looking back, she feels the voice in her head may have said, “this game isn’t for folks that look like you.” However, that line of thinking was not part of who she was. Bolden has been successful throughout her development because of her positivity. She’s a hockey player as much as anyone else on the ice is. This is a game for anyone, and talent is everywhere and within everybody. She hopes her journey helps encourage other young girls, and young women of color, to get involved in hockey and show the world what they can accomplish.