Oct 142013

I have always been a proponent of implementing cross-ice only games at the mite level of hockey.  I believe in what USA Hockey is doing through the American Developmental Model (ADM) and I am a big believer in young hockey players also being young “insert another sport here” players.  Also, I believe that young kids shouldn’t subject themselves to the same rink specifications of NHL or international leagues.   Although I also believe in practicing what you preach, I must admit that I am guilty of questioning whether or not cross-ice games would be good for my own son.

My son started to learn how to skate when he was 3.  He participated in learn to skate and hockey programs and then began playing cross ice at age 4.  When he was 5, he played at the full-ice mite recreation level.  The year after that, he played at the travel full-ice level.   Although he played in 2 complete years of full-ice hockey, he also competed in several full-ice tournaments.   While his games were played in the full-ice format, all of his practices consisted of drills and games done in small areas.  Practices were done twice per week and they always followed the ADM principles.

At the time, I though the progression was fine.  My son is a little bigger than most of the other kids his age and I would consider him to be average to above average in skill and skating.  To him, it seemed like full-ice hockey wasn’t a big deal.

After his first year of travel hockey, we found out what was going to take place this season- one half of his games the season are going to be played in the cross-ice format, and one half of the season is going to be the full-ice format.  This is taking place because USA Hockey is mandating that mite level hockey is all cross-ice.  However, there is a transition period going from full-ice hockey to cross-ice hockey so kids in my son’s age group who have played full ice don’t have to make such a drastic transition.  For my son, the reality is that because of his birth year, he must participate in this.  If he was a year older, he would be eligible to play up to the next level.  For him, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing and most importantly, he could care less.

After much anticipation and wondering how it was going to go, we played in a recent cross-ice holiday weekend tournament.  After watching the tournament, I wanted to share my thoughts (Again, this is all new to a large group of kids around southern California):


–     More time with the puck- It seemed like the puck came to all of the players more frequently while more aggressive players got the puck much more

–     Players had more opportunities to display individual skills.  Kids had more opportunities to make moves and beat their opponents one on one

–     Quicker decisions- The game was fast and it seemed like there wasn’t much room to make plays.  Kids had to make quick plays

–     One minute and 30 second shifts which were controlled by the sound of a buzzer- This was great.  Equal ice time for everyone and both teams changed at the same time.  Brilliant.

–     No off-sides calls- I do like this even though the kids aren’t learning the off-sides rule.

–     Kids seemed much more confident with the puck- Don’t know if it was because of playing against a weaker team or not, but was still good.


–     When the puck went out of play, the clock kept ticking.  The ref didn’t have a back-up puck to continue play

–     The higher skilled players are still the higher skilled players.  Yes, the lower skilled players got more puck possession time, but the higher skilled players still touched the puck much more.  The higher skilled players still scored the most goals but I will say that since puck possession seemed higher per player, everyone had more opportunity to score goals

–     Lots of goals were scored and there were face-offs immediately after each goal.  Retrieving the puck and conducting a face-off is time consuming.  I like the pick-up hockey format where the team that gets scored on plays the puck out of their net.  This would allow play to keep moving.  If the score isn’t being kept, then who cares?

–     Growing pains are going to happen.  There were many times when it seemed like the facility was trying to figure it out while it was going on.  For example, some referees didn’t know some of the rules and the locker room situation was crammed.  I guess if you have 4 teams playing on the ice at once, you will need more locker room space.

All in all, I think this is going to be great.  There are lots of concerns from parents about possibly delaying their sons/daughters development.  However, when I offer my opinion on this, I tell them to think long term.  Don’t worry about their child being the best mite but rather think about him being the best bantam or midget.  When I think about my own son, I think he will benefit from this.  Since he is already a little bigger than most of the kids, he will learn how to handle the puck in small areas under pressure from the smaller and quicker players.  When I think about how much more time that he will have the puck on his stick versus times in a full-ice situation, it is a no-brainer.  Also, I don’t think 4 months out of their hockey development where they are put in competitive situations that suits their abilities is going to hurt them.  It can only make them better- especially when they return to full ice competition.

Sep 202013

We have had some great content additions to HockeySC.com over the past few weeks.  Mike, Kevin, Darryl and I have been posting some really good articles, videos, and programs.  We have also been getting some really good contributions from other Strength and Conditioning Coaches who work with hockey players and teams.  Here are some of the articles, videos, and programs that we have added recently:


Thoughts on Cross-Ice Hockey- a Parent’s Perspective by me

How I Use Testing Results by Darryl Nelson

Using Visualization to Prepare Before Games by Riley Fitzgerald

How We Use Subjective Stress Scores for Large Groups at DSC by Anthony Donskov


Posterior Chain Olympic Lifts by Mike Potenza

Lateral Core Dynamic Stability by Brian Sipotz and Darryl Nelson

Linear Plyometrics by Darryl Nelson


Final Off-Season Phase 2013 by Mike Potenza

We hope you enjoy it.  Also, we have had some terrific discussions on the forum recently about program design ideas, PRI, and testing.

If you aren’t a member, you can try us for just $1 for 7 days.  If you still want to be a member after that, it is $14.95 per month.  A really good deal when you consider all the information that you get.

Thanks! Sean

Jun 072013


This is the time of year when most hockey players are in the beginning stage of their off-season programs (unless of course you play/coach for one of the final 4 NHL teams of the final AHL teams).

I just wanted to post a quick update as to what is going on at HockeyStrengthandConditioning.com.  We have been adding some real good content over the last few weeks in the forms of articles, programs, and videos.    We have also had some great discussions on the forum including ones on surviving without bilateral lifts, power development, and athletic development.

Here is what we have added recently:


Surviving Without Bilateral Lifts by Devan McConnell

Hip Conditioning by Darryl Nelson

Training the Black Aces by me


Iso Lunge and Iso Push Up by Mike Potenza

Ice Hockey Plyos by Darryl Nelson

The Ultimate Hockey Test by Darryl Nelson

Lying Chin Tuck by Kevin Neeld


Off-Season Phase 1 and 2 by Darryl Nelson



May 162013

Yesterday, I had the awesome opportunity of being a guest on my good friend Matt Nichol’s podcast.

If you don’t know Matt, he is the former Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He now works with hundreds of athletes including several NHL players.  He is also the founder of Biosteel which is in pretty much every NHL locker room now.

To find out more about Matt, check out his website- www.paragenixsystems.com.

To listen and subscribe to his podcast, check out https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/matt-nichol-podcast/id631696696?mt=2.


Apr 262013

Wow- It’s been a while since my last post.   My schedule has been pretty crazy with the condensed schedule.  Posting has taken a back seat a little bit.

Now, we are a few days from the “second season” which is my favorite time of year.  I am hoping for a deep playoff run.

Over at HockeySC.com, we are still pumping out content in the form of articles, videos, and programs.   We will also be putting up some webinars real soon from coaches such as Kevin Neeld, Darryl Nelson, and Jeff Cubos.

Here is what we have recently added:


Understanding Core Stabilization Through a Respiration Lens by Kevin Neeld

The Elite Performer Pyramid by Brian Sipotz

Functional Training by Darryl Nelson


Pulling Variations by Darryl Nelson

Clean Pull/Snatch Pull Hold by Mike Potenza

Prone Hip Flexor Stretching by me


12-Week Early Off-Season Hockey Training Program by Kevin Neeld

There have also been some great discussions on the forum including ones on single leg Olympic lifting, continuing education options, and slideboard options for goalies.



Mar 052013

I realize that is has been a while since I posted something that isn’t associated with HockeySC.com.  The reality is that I have been really busy with my day job.  The time that I have been working outside of my daily responsibilities has been spent on the site. No excuses though-I promise to do my best to get more info out.

However, I must mention that we have had a ton of stuff going on at HockeySC since my last post.


Injury Prevention Strategies for Hockey by Me


Core Integration Utilizing PRI and DNS Approaches: Theoretical Constructs by Kevin Neeld

Understanding the Preparedness-Readiness Curve by Eric Schmitt

In-Season Lifting with Double Kettlebells by Me

Core Integration Utilizing PRI and DNS Approaches: Practical Approaches by Kevin Neeld

My Experience With Performance Therapy and A.R.T. by Lorne Goldenberg

Plasma Potassium Concentrations and Content Changes After Banana Ingestion in Exercised Men by Kevin C. Miller


Drive Sled Crossover by Darryl Nelson

Hurdle Warm Up by Mike Potenza

Crossover Squat by Darryl Nelson


Youth 2-Day In-Season Program by Me

That is a lot of new content in 3 weeks.  We really hope that you enjoy the site.

Thanks!- Sean

Feb 022013

Hockey is in full swing and it is great to be back.

There is a lot going on at HockeySC.  Here is what we have added since my last update:


We are planning on doing 1 webinar per month.

Considerations for a Developmental Hockey Program by Mike Potenza


Nutrition Knowledge Among Athletes, Coaches, Trainers, and Strength Coaches by Toni M. Torres-McGehee

Interview with Northeastern Strength and Conditioning Coach Sarah Cahill

Shoulder Mobility and AC Joint Separations by Jeff Cubos

How I Teach Cleans by Darryl Nelson


Double Kettlebell Press by me


U13-U15 Youth Hockey Training Program by Kevin Neeld

That’s it for now.  Thanks for all your help and support!


Jan 082013


Hi Everyone

Happy new year from all of us at HockeyStrengthandConditioning.com!

Sunday was a great day as the world woke up to the news that the NHL lockout was going to end.  I can’t wait to get going because its going to be a great season.

We are also looking forward to a great 2013 here at the site.  We are looking forward to many positive additions.

Recently, here is what we have added:


Youth Training by Darryl Nelson

Explosive Lifting for Hockey by me

We also added some classic research/review papers:

Physiology of Ice Hockey by David Montgomery

Applied Physiology of Ice Hockey by Michael Cox


Teaching the 1-Leg SLDL by Matt Siniscalchi

1-Arm Rotational Row by Mike Potenza

Double Kettlebell Swing by me

2-Arm DB Snatch by Darryl Nelson


Escalating Density Training by Mike Potenza

We have also had some good discussions going on the forum such as an interesting one on PRI.

Thanks for the continued support.  See you at the rink!

Dec 272012

Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Pat Riley has a quote in his book The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players, “If you’re not getting better, you are getting worse”.  I love this quote because I believe it’s true. I always want to see myself as a beginner in the Strength and Conditioning/Sports Performance profession.  Honestly, there is so much that I don’t know.  Which has just dawned on me that I think this is why I am not the biggest fan of some of the internet gurus who-  A- really aren’t coaching anyone and B- really haven’t been doing this for a long time.

2012 was another good year that brought about some life learning experiences both personally and professionally.  Here are 3 things among others that really stood out:

1-  I really enjoy coaching on the floor in the weight room and on the field/ice.  Professionally, this is what I love doing.  Interacting and coaching my athletes while they train is what I am passionate about.    This is what keeps me going.  When something is taken away from you for reasons way beyond your control, you realize how much you love to doing it.  Hopefully, I’m back to doing it soon.

2-  The diaphragm is a really important muscle to ensure that is functioning properly.  While I am still in the infant stages (no pun intended) of learning about its roles in breathing and in spinal stabilization, the reality is that I really didn’t give it the time of day up until a year or two ago.

The diaphragm is an important muscle in function because of its importance in creating deep abdominal pressure (in conjunction with other muscles including the pelvic floor and other abdominals) prior to movement of the upper and/or lower body limb(s) in function.  From an injury prevention perspective, I think this a huge area of importance because if there is insufficient intra-abdominal pressure, dysfunction can easily occur in a part of the chain of events that occur in movemdddddent.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I do know that I will learn more about this.  Thanks to my learning about breathing and my recent attendance at the DNS-A course, this has been brought to my attention and will soon be part of my daily coaching strategies.

3-  I really like USA Hockey’s long-term American Development Model which is I am pretty sure is going to be instituted at the mite level next year in Southern California.  One of the main components of this model at the mite level is that kids will be playing cross-ice games instead of full ice.

What I have learned is while that I agree with the change overall, I am not sure that I agree with it when it comes to my own son.  Please let me explain.  In his situation, he is now playing in travel mite full-ice game hockey at the age of 6.  Prior to this season, he played cross-ice mini games when he was 4 and then played full-ice In-House at age 5.  All of the time however has been spent practicing in mostly station-based drills and cross-ice mini games.  My question is, does he then spend the next 2 years (mites are ages 8 and under) playing cross-ice while he is now capable of playing full ice because he is as big, if not bigger than most of the kids in the mite age group while also being an average- above average skater?  Would this take him backwards as I feel that he can play full ice? Maybe in my eyes, his progression is going good, however he could benefit from the small area games to develop his skills.  I’m not sure, but I’m sure there will be some other kids with same questions.

Dec 142012

I hope you are doing great.  I want to update you on what is going on at HockeySC.com.  Recently, we had a survey on what the subscribers would like us to see more of on the site.  As a result from looking at the results and seeing some of your comments, we are going to be making some awesome improvements.  We will be doing more webinars, audio interviews, and also putting up much more content from other people in the field who may do things a little differently from the way that we might do things in some situations with our players.  We are really excited about this.  Stay tuned!

Here is what have had added to the site since my last update:


Sequencing by Anthony Donskov

Simplicity by Darryl Nelson

Working Effectively as a Staff by Ken Hetzel

Dissecting the 2-Way Skater by Kevin Neeld

Training With Velocity by Devan McConnell


Double Kettlebell Front Squat by me

Lateral Wall March by Kevin Neeld

Lateral Plyometrics by Darryl Nelson


In-Season U-16- U-18 Programs by Kevin Neeld

Phase 5 Lift and Pre-Practice Warm Ups by Devan McConnell

That’s it for now.

Happy Holidays!