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Ask Wick

Members of Club Wick can submit their own questions to Hayley. Join Club Wick for this and more exclusive content!

Coach Sharon from Toronto asks: I am looking for a pre-game off ice warm-up for pee wee girls rep hockey team. Any suggestions for resources?

I suggest 20 -25 minutes formatted something like this:
  • 5 minutes of aerobic to get the girls warmed up, so running or line drills. 
  • 10 mins of dynamic movement such as leg swings, lunges, butt kicks and active stretching.
  • 5-10 minutes of neuro stimulation such as reactive agility and quick feet drills
Check out Coach's Bench for more links, videos and more

Kristen Peters is a hockey parent from Gatineau and asks: 

My daughter is 12 years old and plays PeeWee AA with the boys. So, there are no open ice hits but they can check into the boards. Is she better off with womens shoulder pads with the low profile caps, or boys/mens with the larger caps?

Since there is no hitting, I recommend using women's pads as long as the entire shoulder capsule is protected. The lighter, the better as you don't want her to be hindered by anything too bulky as long as her shoulders are fully covered. 
Thanks Kristen!

Here is a question from 13-year-old Shannen who plays both league and junior high hockey in Halifax. Shannen is looking for ways to work on her hockey skills in the off-season. 

My mom keeps telling me I have to practice doing off ice puck handling. I was wondering what drills you like to do so I can try them?

Your mom is a very smart lady, you should listen to her! There are many types of off-season drills and lots of cross-training you can do to help make next season your best season yet. Here are some of my favourites:
Throw 2 or 3 tennis balls against a wall and practice catching them.

Juggling is great for hand-eye coordination; this is also a hit at family get-togethers as it’s one of my hidden talents. 
Random stickhandling through pylons or obstacles will help you work on short and long reach and having your hands on different parts of the stick.

Stickhandle tennis balls and pucks and work on flipping the puck up and hitting it out of air.
Shoot from a LONGER ways than you would ever on the ice both front hand and back hand to work on power.
Be creative and have some fun with it!!

For strength and dry-land training, check out videos in The Player's Arena - Exclusive to Club Wick Members!

Thanks for the question Shannen!

My first question from a Club Wick member comes from Jaime from Edmonton! Thanks so much Jaime!

How did this year’s tourney
(IIHF in Vermont) compare to all the others in terms of magnitude and importance to you and what was the thing that made this tourney so exciting for you?

It was a great tournament and while every championship is important, each has its own challenges. The IIHF World Championships in April that took place in Vermont were an Olympic qualifier which means we had to be seeded first in it to be seeded first in the next Olympics. We have not won in four years so the senior players were really sick and tired of losing as you can imagine. We lost 9-2 on the Friday which made the gold medal win a great comeback story for fans and also for us as a team. The U.S. has never beat us on U.S soil so we were determined to keep that streak going when it came to the gold medal game.

Thanks for the question Jamie! 

What sports or activities make the best cross-training for hockey and why?

Good question. All sports are beneficial for cross-training for competitive hockey. The best players in the world are often the best athletes. For example, Crosby plays lots of sports besides hockey. Gretzky could have played baseball and lacrosse at a professional level. It doesn’t really matter what sport it is because each brings something new to your game. However, if I was going to single out a few that I would use to condition in off-season I would say:

1. Soccer is good for physical fitness and it’s a team game
2. Tennis for cardio and to work on hand-eye coordination and agility
3. Track and field and gymnastics for full body coordination and general athletic ability
4. Games like baseball and lacrosse are great for improving coordination.

I think the key is NOT to play hockey all year round. Put your skates away and get out a pair of cleats or a swim suit. For young kids I suggest kids play indoor soccer or intramurals that are not necessarily highly-competitive to give them a mental break, but staying active. I always played intramural sports.
How do you feel about checking in women’s hockey?

This is an ongoing issue demanding much attention at all levels and I don’t think there is a black and white answer. At the minor hockey level, it can discourage parents to enlist their girls and I think the system should do anything to avoid this. However hitting and body checking are skills players need to learn if they continue to play so I believe in phasing it in. Allowing some types of contact and not others at all age-appropriate levels, while ensuring the leagues implement skill development programs. Doing this correctly would take years of resources. It’s unnecessary right now while we are ‘fighting’ for resources for female hockey and we need to focus on development of skill before we introduce hitting to the game. For more see an article I wrote for Hockey Now.
What’s your #1 off-ice habit that contributes to your competitiveness on the ice?

Sleep is the #1 most important thing you need to do for yourself. Most people need 8-12 hours a night. It’s very important to be consistent on this because it repairs the brain and body, you function better and the hard work you do in training takes effect when your body is shut down. Sleep makes your muscles stronger and bigger. I aim to get ten hours a day and during focused training I nap regularly.

Ask Wick your questions! Hayley will periodically answer submitted questions from Club Wick members on this page. Go ahead, see what she has to say!