If you have sent emails or ordered the free online hockey tree plans, I have been away for awhile. I am back now and am updating the hockey-tree plans to correct some errors.
I will reply to emails as soon as possible, beginning today.
I stopped selling the hockey trees this past spring (2012) as I needed to turn my attention back on my career. However, we will be making a limited run of hockey trees available soon. We will still have the free online plans, but realize that many of us do not live in a place with a garage, own tools, or just don’t want the hassle of building a tree.
If you are interested in getting on the waitlist, please send me an email.
With Thanksgiving behind us we are on the home stretch to my favorite holiday of the year, Christmas. Entering the last few weeks before Christmas, many of us are looking for gifts for friends, family, co-workers, coaches, teachers, etc. I actually got the idea for this article by reading a blog post by one of my favorite hockey bloggers, Jeremy at How to Hockey.
My list is a little different than Jeremy’s though. It’s not a top ten list. I’ve broken it up into sections based on who you are buying for, and why I think it makes a good gift. Some of the ideas are training specific, while others are for say, the office. Many of the gift ideas are just for fun. But, all of them are hockey specific.
Gifts for the Hockey Mom and Hockey Dad!
While at the rink I get to talk to many kids about their hockey experiences. When they tell me about all the great tournaments they go to, the early morning practices, the late games, the different coaches they skate with, and how many hours a week they train, I think about their parents. We talk about the dedication and investment required for young hockey players to develop into highly skilled adults. It is pretty remarkable the financial, physical, mental dedication that can be found in the typical hockey mom or dad.
#1 A sincere thank you. Let them know that you appreciate the early mornings, the late nights, taking care of your smelly hockey equipment, lugging that hockey equipment all over, and the purchase of ice time, coaching, private instruction, new equipment. Let them know you appreciate that they love to spend their time watching you play.
#2 Do something that they normally do for you.
#3 Tell them you love and respect them, show them you love and respect them. If they ask you to do your homework, or clean your room, don’t resist, just say ok and do it.
#4 Here are some more ideas..
For the player!
Pucks. I like having lots of pucks available at my home shooting area. I like taking lots of shooting reps between walking back to the net to pick them all up. I buy them by the box and my goal is to find pucks for less than $1 each. Most local shops here sell them for over $2 per puck. Hockey Giant has a good deal on regulation pucks right now: http://www.hockeygiant.com/regicehocpuc.html (Often I’ll go in on a bulk purchase with other hockey players…)
Of course, for stickhandling training off the ice, these are two great products. The Green Biscuit which has been well reviewed by many different sources, as well as the Move Master Puck system. I use both…
A place to shoot at home not only allows your player to spend more time training, it allows them to train at home, reserving the on-ice training for stuff that can’t be trained off the ice. I like the EZ Goal and Back Stop. That’s what I used and it is built pretty well, though I was able to dent the main posts with my fairly tame (58mph) wrist shot. It’s a good net. It is available here: EZ Goal Net and Backstop
I’ve written a recent review on the shooting tarp, and I really appreciate everything about it. It’s money well spent.
Whether I’m shooting on the ice, or off, shot velocity (and accuracy) are two critical metrics for seeing how you’re doing. A simple and fun way to see how fast your shot is, is to use a radar gun to measure velocity. I use the SpeedTrak shown here:
I mount mine on a camera tripod and set it up behind the net. It’s great pulling it out at a stick and puck, everyone always has a blast.
There are many places online where you can buy shooting pads, I have some shown in my pro-shop you can look at. However, I think the problem with most shooting pads are that they are too small. Before I covered my garage floor in synthetic ice, I started with a small shooting pad. It took 1 shot to realize that it was too small for wrist shots. Don’t sacrifice form to accommodate poor training equipment! If you look for a local plastics supplier in your area, here we have a retailer called “TAP Plastics” you can buy large sheets of 1/8inch HDPE. It is slick, and you can buy it in 4×8 sheets…possibly larger by special request.
The local rink has these, and I use them at every opportunity. I am buying a pair (as I type this) for my garage. I keep meaning to get a pair, but always forget until I’m at the rink!
If you’re really ambitious, it doesn’t take much money or effort to build a home training area for training specific to ice hockey. It is actually pretty fun!
The last thing I’ll show today, for the hockey player is something that is kind of expensive, but in my mind…worth the money. It’s the Ultimate Hockey Skating DVD course by Sean Skinner. Having Sean Skinner break down individual moves, and then show you how to train, and the progression to follow is awesome. This isn’t a DVD collection you watch once and never watch again. I am constantly referring back to the DVD’s to help determine my training plans and progressions and to see how different moves are supposed to look.
I’ve got a hockey game to get to, but I’m going to be expanding this list through December.
Sports related concussions have been a hot topic for the past few years. Much of the discussion and data is specific to youth and professional level sports. There have been discussions about the rate of concussions taking place in the Adult Recreational Hockey, aka “The Beer Leagues”. Due to the nature of Adult Recreational Hockey, much of this discussion is on message boards, in the locker room, or at the pub following a game.
Opportunities for concussion exist even when body checking is not part of the game. Contact between players occurs, even though it may be incidental. Incidental contact can happen with one or both players moving at full speed. Players fall, and can strike their helmet covered heads on the ice with force. Players fall, slide, and run into the boards. The point is, the opportunity for contact between a players head and another object exists in hockey. The number of opportunities may be statistically different due to the absence of checking, but opportunities still exist.
Players who participate in organized hockey have the advantage of coaches, team administrators, and policy to help ensure concussion awareness and proper treatment. In the beer leagues, the burden is on a player and the player’s teammates to report or recognize the symptoms of a concussion.
Why is this important?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) are great resources of concussion information for parents, coaches, officials, and players.
These sources are unanimous in saying that concussions are serious, “there’s no such thing as a minor brain injury” (NFHS). Continuing to play while still recovering from a concussion puts the player at greater risk of subsequent concussions and potentially even death. It makes sense for recreational level players, especially beginners, to understand the signs of concussions, and what to do if a teammate (or themselves) have symptoms of a concussion.
Concussion Signs and Symptoms (Observed or Reported)
From the NFHS Concussion Course the following may be observed in a player who’s suffered a concussion. The player may:
• be dazed or stunned,
• be confused about assignments,
• forget plays,
• be unsure of the game, score or opponent,
• move clumsily,
• answer questions slowly,
• experience loss of consciousness (rare, less than 10% of concussions result in loss of
• experience behavior or personality changes,
• will be unable to recall events prior to, or after, the injury.
A player may report the following symptoms:
• a headache,
• balance problems or dizziness,
• sensitivity to light or noise,
• feeling sluggish,
• concentration or memory problems,
The King-Devick Test
King-Devick Test: A Sideline Screening Test For Concussions
Brooke Lench’s article “New Study Confirms Value of King-Devick Test in Sideline Assessment of Concussion” states the King-Devick Test is “a simple, two minute test given to athletes on the sports sideline provides an accurate and reliable method for quick assessment of concussion in college athletes, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and published online in the Journal of Neurological Sciences.”
This test requires each player to establish a baseline. Then, after an injury repeat the test. While I think this wouldn’t work for drop-in style hockey, it could easily be administered and used by organized teams.
Concussions are still not fully understood by the medical community. They are a brain injury that interferes with normal brain function at the physical and chemical level. A concussion can affect how a player feels, how they think, their emotions, and sleep.
What to Do When You Suspect a Player Might Have a Concussion
Every source I found was also unanimous in terms of what to do if you suspect a player might have a concussion. Sit them out, and get them out of the game and have them evaluated by a medical professional.
“When In Doubt – Sit Them Out!”
The situation should be considered a medical emergency, and you should call 911 if any of the following are observed:
• a loss of consciousness for any duration,
• decreasing level of consciousness,
• unusual drowsiness or inability to be awakened,
• difficulty getting their attention,
• breathing irregularity,
• severe or worsening headache,
• persistent vomiting,
You must continuously observe a player who may have a concussion and is not being sent for immediate medical attention. There has been a few times where I’ve witnessed players going to the locker room to shake an injury off alone. Doing so puts the player at risk if symptoms worsen.
Additionally, the emergency contact of the player involved should be told about the possibility of a concussion. You should provide them with concussion information so they can respond adequately if necessary.
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
National Federation of State High School Associations (Free Registration Required)
SnipersEdge states that the Sniper’s Edge Shooting Tarp is great for developing a harder more accurate shot, can be used in the garage or basement, and is extremely durable.
After using the Snipers Edge Shooting Tarp for the past 7 months, I agree completely.
I installed a small synthetic ice surface in my garage and had originally planned on using the EZ goal net and backstop for shooting. However, since the amount of space I had available was limited the depth of the EZ goal made it impractical. The shooting tarp requires minimal depth and I have it successfully mounted less than 8 inches from a sheet-rock wall. This allows you to maximize the distance available for shooting. (Image courtesy of SnipersEdge.com)
My biggest concern when purchasing anything online is quality of construction and the products durability. Especially considering this product is going to be catching hockey pucks at speed. I have been extremely pleased with the durability of the 18oz reinforced vinyl construction and stitching. After 7 months the only sign of use are the black puck marks covering the surface. There are no tears, rips, or signs of the material wearing down.
At the time I purchased the tarp, I didn’t really appreciate or care that there was a picture of a goalie on the tarp. What I know now is that it is important, and the picture of the goalie in addition to the bright yellow targets have helped me “look” for the open net areas rather than the goalie when shooting.
One note in regards to the black puck marks: Over time the black puck marks have helped me identify and correct problems with my training. For example, I noticed there were few black marks up high, while the black marks were really concentrated 5-hole and bottom right. This was a clear indication that I wasn’t practicing my top corners or bottom left shots as much.
Installation was simple and Sniper’s Edge provides detailed installation instructions online at no charge. They give you a variety of mounting options. The shooting tarp rolls up and can be stored up and out of the way using the included bungee cords.
The Sniper’s Edge Shooting Tarp has been one my favorite purchases. It’s not just a good value for the money, it’s a good product…period. If you have any specific questions about this product, and you want an independent, unbiased opinion, feel free to contact me.
By now, most people know the risks associated with smelly hockey equipment and other sports gear. Hockey gear bags can also take up a large amount of space. There are a number of ways you can store and dry your used hockey gear. One method is by using a hockey tree, or equipment storage rack. Unhappy with the products we found on the market, and after lots of trial and error, we developed the HU2000 Equipment Rack. If you want to build a hockey tree yourself, rather than have one built for you, we have free plans in the pro-shop. Edit: These plans were updated on 12/13/2011 and corrected an error on the cut list, additional photo’s, and some help on the pvc cement process. The free plans are for the HU1000, an early design. The HU2000 has a smaller footprint, is less expensive, and works very well. Constructed of 1 inch 450psi Schedule 40 PVC Pipe, the tree is lightweight, strong, and inexpensive. You can see the hockey tree on our Amazon page: HU2000 Equipment Tree This equipment tree provides a place to hang your jerseys, socks, sock and stick tape in addition to the rest of your gear. Check them out, and get organized!
Summer adult recreational league hockey is winding down. Fall/Winter season is just around the corner. Now is a great time to check your equipment for wear, broken straps and laces, and other damage.
Get a physical.
Take advantage of the nice weather, and final months of summer to get yourself in shape for the season. Maybe that means rehabilitation and rest of sore muscles. Maybe it means HIIT training at the local high school track. You still have time!
Retired NHL veteran Jamie Huscroft is hosting a conditioning camp for adults. The camp is going to be held at Castle Ice in Renton, and is $240 for 8 sessions. Sessions are weekly, Wednesday evenings, at 630pm and are about 75 minutes long.
I’ve signed up and will update the blog as I go. Currently, I’m working out using Jeromy Weiss’ S3 Program and doing both on and off ice conditioning to prepare for Winter season. I’m not playing competitive “league” hockey over the summer.
The camp should be good. This camp will provide a good opportunity to push ourselves beyond our current endurance and “pain” tolerance thresholds while at the same time improving our skating skills, improving foot speed and quickness, and taking our skating to the next level.
Combined with the S3 Program, Thursday Night Skill Sessions, and the Saturday Night Showdown series…it should be a great summer of hockey, and training!
Check it out!
We kick off the summer training series on May 12th with the 2011 Skills Challenge. The skills challenge is based on Hockey Canada’s National Standardized Skills Testing (NSST) program. We will measure our performance at the beginning of summer and then repeat at the end. The idea is to track our individual improvement over the summer.
Each week we will have training sessions at both OVA and Highland Ice. 301 sessions cost $20 and 201 sessions are $15 per session. There is no minimum number of sessions required, and it is pay as you go. There are a few planned sessions where we have guest coaches coming in, these sessions are $5 more and the extra 5 bucks covers the cost of the coach.
The Saturday Night Showdown starts May 14th. 10 people per team, referee’s, online stats, and a DJ. No minimum number of games required, it is pay as you go. $20 per game.
See you on the ice!
Hockey is an anaerobic sport. When we play our heart rates climb can easily climb to 80-90% of our maximum heart rate and our primary energy source is glycogen rather than body fat. Now, an acquaintance of mine who is younger than I am, recently suffered a heart attack. He was at work, and doesn’t play hockey. At the same time I was in the process of putting together a summer training plan. I read literature on Heart Attacks in Adult Athletes on the Hockey Canada website while researching drill progressions.
There is some scary data in the article linked above:
I thought it was scary. I mean, one of the main reasons I started playing hockey was to get in shape. Now, this little article tells me playing hockey puts me at greater risk of having a heart attack, and even dying from a heart attack. Say what?
This past week, I started suffering chest pains while picking my daughter up from daycare. The pain continued through the evening, but didn’t get worse. Before going to bed I basically made a deal with myself that if the pain persisted in the morning, I’d go see a doctor. The pain was there when I woke up, and to the emergency room I went.
I was expecting a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff, maybe a blood draw, and a urine sample. Instead, I was taken and immediately given chest x-rays, an EKG, along with blood work yes, the blood pressure cuff. I was still having chest pains. Now, I am supposed to be taking 20mg of Lipitor daily to control high cholesterol that runs in my family. I had stopped taking it 4-5 months ago. I thought to myself how stupid that was… Not to mention my diet still consists of a large amount of fast food.
I was admitted to the cardiac evaluation unit. Tests were coming back good. But, with my family history they needed to be certain.
Today, I took a stress test. There were two parts to the test. In the first part, they inject radioactive Thallium into your blood so they can take pictures of your heart. The second part, requires you to walk and run on a treadmill (while wearing a gown that opens in the back…sorry nurses and hooked up to an EKG) I was given the “Bruce” protocol where the elevation and pace increases every few minutes until your heart rate reaches 85% and then you hold there for 2 minutes.
This test was really good for me to take. Because it greatly reduced my anxiety. My heart checked out fine, better than fine, it is strong and ready for hockey. Now blockages or areas of constriction, no abnormalities, just a heart ready to pump all the blood I need.
I highly recommend getting your heart checked as soon as possible. It doesn’t take long, and it will put your mind at ease, responsibly.
But wait, there’s more!
If you have read the linked power point, then you know the two main causes for heart attack in adult hockey athletes; 1) Arterial Plaque, and 2) Blood clots. As your heart rate climbs the velocity of your blood circulating in arteries and veins increases. The increased velocity acts to shear existing plaque of the walls of your blood vessels. These loose bits of plaque then block, or partially block the blood passages and restrict flow and increasing localized pressure on vessel walls. We hear about this type of death regularly on the news. Blood clots can form due to the release of natural coagulants our bodies produce to cope with increased stress on our systems.
To reduce the risk of heart attack in adult hockey players the key is consistent and frequent exercise. We need to protect our selves and our hearts with frequent and consistent exercise. Exercising more than 4 times per week can reduce your relative risk by over 50%. Regular exercise strengthens your heart.
It needs to be consistent though. Protection gained through regular exercise is lost after just a couple of weeks.