We all know what the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs Midget AAA team can do on the ice but what this team does off the ice in the gym plays a big role in the team’s success.
“It’s changed so much,” said Al Parada, owner of Can Pro Athletic Training Centre.
“You know if you’re not doing it you’re a step behind so you really have to focus on off-ice training in the off season and now even during the season.”
With a busy schedule between practice and games it’s hard to imagine players having the time to fit in these sessions but Parada says they make it work.
Depending on the number of games the team is playing during the week the Chiefs will work out about twice a week on average, he said.
There is a lot of circuit training these days for athletes and the players will go through drills including flipping huge tires and rope training.
“We still do some of the lifts (weights), body weight stuff with the TRX. There are so many tools you can use these days it’s unbelievable.”
Chiefs forward Trey Degraff says the back to back championships for this team is proof enough for him that what they’re doing in the gym in conjunction with the ice practices is working.
“If we didn’t do this stuff we wouldn’t be as good as we have been the last few years I don’t think.”
Parada says the workouts are designed to increase the players’ performance on the ice and certain areas are targeted.
“Really focusing on the explosiveness. Trying to get them stronger in the upper body is what we’re doing, in the core,” he said.
A big payoff for all this training in the gym shows up on the ice as the Chiefs have a habit of being able to wear teams down throughout a game, said Parada.
“By the end of the second period and into the third period we just try to dominate in that part of the game. We try to play at a high intensity, at a high pace that nobody else can play at.”
The players are certainly buying into this philosophy and are motivated enough to work hard in the gym in order to see the success on the ice for the present and the future.
“Yeah there’s no point in coming if you’re not going to put in the work so when you do that it’s really worth it all in the end,” said Degraaf.