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Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Back to basics: Power Skating Part 1 - Stance, Stride

Wednesday, 10.17.2012 / 1:00 PM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Deborah Francisco - NHL.com Staff Writer

Back to the Basics is NHL.com's multipart series focusing on youth hockey skill development. During the coming months, NHL.com will feature a slate of guest coaches who will share their expertise on skill development.

Bryce Cockburn is the founder and coach of Next Level Training in Campbell River, B.C. Cockburn's hockey career started in Campbell River, where he played his minor hockey, before joining the Nanaimo Clippers of the British Columbia Hockey League. He played in the ECHL and AHL after spending four seasons with the Northern Michigan Wildcats.

He's s stickler for fundamentals when it comes to skating.

"The first thing I do in my camps is go over proper posture and skating stance so that you are starting things off right," Cockburn told NHL.com.

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Hitmen able to learn from Flames, inspire local kids

Wednesday, 04.25.2012 / 9:00 AM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- If there is a Calgary Flames practice going on at the Scotiabank Saddledome, chances are you don't have to look too far to find several members of the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen peeking in.

Sharing the rink with the Flames, the Hitmen get to see first-hand on a daily basis what it takes to play professionally at hockey's highest level. It's just one of the many perks to being roommates with an NHL franchise.

"Obviously it's really cool," said Brooks Macek, a draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings. "You get to see them almost every day. You get to see them practice and see how hard they work on and off the ice. Seeing them walk around, they're professionals."

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Six ways to improve your game this offseason

Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 9:00 AM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Deborah Francisco - NHL.com Staff Writer

Once the last outdoor rink melts and the final school bell rings, youth hockey players will want to start thinking about ways to stay in shape this offseason.

Nate Beveridge, the general manager and director of young athlete development at Hybrid Athletics in Langley, B.C., has some ideas.

Beveridge has worked with athletes from all ages and abilities, including athletes from the NHL, WHL, AHL, BCHL and the Olympics. Through all of this training he has developed his own philosophy of fitness.

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Battle ability, technique key for youth goaltenders

Wednesday, 03.21.2012 / 9:00 AM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Contrary to popular opinion, acrobatic Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is a big believer in the importance of proper technique between the pipes.

The goalie best known for standing on his head -- sometimes literally, it seems -- credits improved fundamentals for increased consistency during a long, winding path to NHL stardom.

Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and the reigning Stanley Cup champion and playoff MVP, sees the benefit in more efficient movements, and has worked hard to implement many of the basics of a butterfly style that didn't become popular until his first season as a pro. In the last five years he's added proper leg recovery to his repertoire when getting up and out of the butterfly, understanding now that the quickest way to move right is to lift his left leg first, and establish that skate edge to push -- and vice versa.

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Goalie position has evolved greatly at youth level

Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 11:03 AM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Vancouver Canucks' star Roberto Luongo fell in love with goaltending because of Grant Fuhr's glove saves, which is ironic -- perhaps almost blasphemous to some -- for a kid growing up in Montreal during the rise of both Patrick Roy and the birth of modern butterfly goaltending with his hometown Canadiens.

That didn't stop Luongo from dreaming of dramatic leather-flashing saves during street hockey games, or picturing himself as Fuhr playing in the basement.

It didn't take long, however, for the young Luongo to realize he needed to be more like Roy if he wanted to follow either goalie's path to the NHL.
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As girls hockey skyrockets, tips to develop players

Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 10:56 AM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Deborah Francisco - NHL.com Staff Writer

"The best coaches I've had are the ones who encourage me in the things I'm doing right, and take the time to single me out to do that. But they are also the ones who can then point out a few areas where I can improve and give me tips on how to do so." -- Krista Prins, head coach of the Vancouver Girls Ice Hockey Association midget team

Thanks to hockey pioneers such as Angela James, Cammie Granato, Hayley Wickenheiser and Cassie Campbell, the women's game is growing faster than ever.

"We didn't always get the exposure early on and there was always a sort of attitude that women's hockey wasn't any good, so for us, we were always trying to prove ourselves," said Campbell, a two-time-Olympic-gold medalist. "We were trying to take the women's game to the next level so we would be taken seriously."

Mission accomplished, ladies.

It's no secret that the number of female players in both Canada and the U.S. has skyrocketed since the first ever IIHF Women's World Championship tournament in 1990. Since that monumental year, the number of girls in Canada has increased from 11,341 to over 85,500 while in the U.S. the number has grown from 10,000 to over 65,500 while.

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Olympic captain Campbell reflects on stellar career

Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 10:46 AM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Deborah Francisco - NHL.com Staff Writer

Cassie Campbell is the only captain to lead Canada to two Olympic gold medals. (Photo: Getty Images)
Cassie Campbell is the longest serving captain in Canadian hockey history (2001-2006). She won 21 medals with Team Canada (17 gold, 4 silver) including two Olympic gold medals (2002, Salt Lake City and 2006, Turin, Italy) and one silver medal (1998, Nagano, Japan). She is the only captain to lead Canada to two Olympic gold medals. She notched 32 goals and 68 assists over a 157-game span with Team Canada. Her 100 points rank her eighth all-time with Team Canada's National Women's program.

NHL.com: How did you get your start?

Campbell: I started skating on the outdoor ponds and stuff when I was three, but I didn't play on an official team until I was seven. Actually, I started hockey in the U.S. in New Jersey. I played for the Ramapo Saints. My dad just got transferred there through work and I spent two and a half years there as kid.

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Ability to make sacrifices key for serious youth players

Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 9:00 AM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Zack Wainman traveled 546 miles from Peterborough, Ont., to play goal for the Long Island Royals Under-16 Midget National hockey team based out of Superior Ice Rink in Kings Park, N.Y.

It's just one example of the sacrifices taking place on the youth hockey levels throughout North America.
 
"I just wanted to come down and showcase myself for a very strong team … it's not every day you get the opportunity to be coached by two NHLers [Pat LaFontaine and Steve Webb]," Wainman said. "It was hard to get used to being down here, but sometimes in life you have to make sacrifices to get to where you want to get, so I see this as a sacrifice."
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Comfort, feel top concerns when buying equipment

Wednesday, 01.18.2012 / 2:35 PM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

Viktor Stalberg still remembers the first pair of hockey pants he wore while playing as a child in Sweden.

They were just perfect, except for two little details.

"They were too big and there were no suspenders," the 25-year old Chicago Blackhawks forward said, laughing at the memory. "So, I was skating around for a full game trying to pull my pants up. My parents keep telling me that story over and over again now. It was pretty funny, I guess."
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Officiating offers new skills for youth players

Wednesday, 01.04.2012 / 10:50 AM / Hockey Skills presented by Canadian Tire

Deborah Francisco - NHL.com Staff Writer

There's a reason that 15,000 of Hockey Canada's 35,000 registered officials are under the age of 16 -- officiating hockey is a great way for players to see the game with new eyes.
 
The benefits of youth players learning to officiate are threefold: it gives them a new perspective on the game, it teaches them life skills and it's a way for them to give back to the hockey community.

"The game needs officials, we need good officials, and those are people that often come from a background of playing, and have a desire to have a positive impact in the game," Todd Anderson, Hockey Canada's Manager of Officiating, told NHL.com.
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