What’s an NHL Training Camp REALLY Like?
I’ve been to NHL training camp. It’s a mix of intense physiological testing, competitive on-ice practices, and relaxing recovery and nutrition sessions. The statistics say it’s an experience about .16% of youth hockey players will ever experience, but I want to give you a feel for what it’s like.
Teams at every level hold some sort of training camp to kick off the season. The NHL holds the most formal and standardized camps where all signed and drafted players, as well as a few camp invites, come together around the 3rd week of September to vie for a spots on a team in the world’s top league. These players are in the best shape of the year in order to perform well on rigorous on- and off-ice tests, and to dominate in fast paced, contact heavy practices. Fights in training camp are completely normal because of the competitive nature of the athletes and the high stakes environment of the tryout.
Sounds intimidating, but that kind of pressure is where top performers thrive. And that is how the organizations weed out the players who will not perform well under pressure to help them win games. Here is an example of the first day of most NHL Training camps.
Day 1: Testing Day
8:00am- Players report (although most are in much earlier preparing for the day ahead)
8:15am- Off-Ice Testing: this 60min session will consist of these tests to determine the strength and conditioning of the players
- Vertical Jump test
- Timed sprint
- Max pushups to a metronome- go until you can’t anymore
- Max pullups- go until you can’t anymore
- Single leg squat test- max weight for 5 repetitions (each leg)
- Wingate Test- a 30 second all out sprint under maximum tension on a specialized bike
- Treadmill VO2 Max test- a test of conditioning that involves repeated sprints with progressively decreasing rest intervals. Go until you can’t anymore
9:30am- On-Ice Testing: the protocols for each team vary, but most look something like this.
- Goal line to far blue line sprint (around 2.6sec is a decent time)
- Center ice, around net, to center ice sprint
- Max number of sprints to center red line and back. As many as you can do
- 16 lap test- endurance test for time
11:00- On- Ice session ends, player recovery time. Training camp time is strictly mandated at 3 hrs. After intense testing sessions like these, most players spend time in the training room with different modalities like ice water baths, massage, cool down, or foam rolling recovery strategies. This is essential to prepare for the next day of camp.
Want to experience training camp? Advantage Strength will be making a special announcement very soon. To get that announcement before the masses, Register Here to be on our Blue Chip list. You will get the information (and special bonuses other players won’t get) before everyone else and have a chance to act early.