Using his Twitter and Instagram accounts to highlight some of his high-octane offseason training sessions, Galchenyuk has been giving fans a glimpse into everything from his beach and gym workouts in South Florida to his Rocky Balboa-like efforts in the Belarussian countryside.
If Galchenyuk’s 400,000-plus followers weren’t aware of just how dedicated he is to physical fitness and coming into training camp in tip-top shape, they certainly are now. But, there’s a lot more to the Canadiens’ No. 27’s willingness to share exclusive content in such a public fashion than that.
“I want to show my younger fans that you’ve always got to push yourself and work hard. It’s for them to see that nothing comes easy. You aren’t just born to be a hockey player. You have to work at it. There’s so much to be done,” said Galchenyuk, who is currently training six days per week in the Sunshine State, and focusing primarily on off-ice workouts under the watchful eye of his father, Alexander, a former pro with over 20 years of playing experience. “There are a lot of people that look up to us as athletes. For them to see what we do, I think it’s really fun. If I was on their side, I’d be excited to see that, too. ”
And, what they’re seeing is a 22-year-old centerman fully committed to building off of a season in which he became the third-youngest player in franchise history to register a 30-goal campaign, with 16 of those tallies coming in his final 22 outings of the year. These days, Galchenyuk is training primarily out of Chamber Fitness in Davie, FL, an elite level athletic performance facility located just 20 minutes outside of Fort Lauderdale.
“I push myself every single day in the gym to achieve that with a great mindset and a positive attitude. Summer training is a marathon, just like the season. At the end of the day, no matter how talented you are, you have to put in work,” explained Galchenyuk, who believes effective training really does put his mind at ease when it comes time to lace up his skates for real. “If you do that, it makes your game easier. You don’t think about getting tired or being the strongest or the fastest. You just focus on going out and playing your game. This type of preparation – and being prepared – gives me confidence.”
Like most players, working on overall strength and explosiveness has been a primary focus for Galchenyuk since getting back in the gym in mid-to-late May after enjoying some well-deserved rest. He’s also managed to incorporate some football drills into his routine with the help of some up-and-coming NFL prospects on site at Chamber Fitness as well.
According to the former third-overall selection, the similarities between the two sports peaked his interest to the point where adding certain exercises to the mix made perfect sense.
“You want to try something a little bit different because the game of hockey isn’t just black and white. There are so many random things coming at you that you’ve got to be multi-functional. Football is fast and physical, and people are trying to kill you at the same time. It’s similar to hockey like that. So, I’m going out on the field and trying to translate my work in the gym out there,” said Galchenyuk, before taking that analysis one step further. “When you run a rout as a receiver and you’re trying to catch the ball, there’s always someone trying to stop you. It’s the same mentality in hockey. You’re going at top speed on skates trying to beat the defender and make a play. The mentality is exactly the same.”
That being said, the Canadiens’ second leading point-getter last season still very much appreciates a good “old school” workout every now and again. When Galchenyuk heads to Belarus to visit his grandparents with the rest of his family every summer, he takes full advantage of his surroundings. His father’s parents reside in a cottage outside of Minsk where forest areas and hills are readily available for workouts on a daily basis.
“My dad is really creative with those workouts. He takes a lot of pride in making sure that I reach my potential. I can work the cardio side of it by doing the hills with tires attached to my back, or we also worked on my core by throwing tires at the net. He was keeping me busy with all of that,” said Galchenyuk, who still stuck to his general program overseas, hitting a gym in downtown Minsk and spending quality time with his maternal grandparents in the area by day, before returning to the cottage in the evening for some additional work. “It was just about adding some variety. You kind of make it cool.”
That rural area has essentially been Galchenyuk’s training ground since childhood, which makes his annual return to the Belarussian capital all the more special. It was there, mentioned the reigning Molson Cup winner, that the fundamentals of physical training were passed along to him by his father.
“Each year, that trip makes you realize where you came from and what it took to get to where you are right now. I get to spend time with my grandparents, which is nice. It really humbles you. You remember how you trained there as a little kid and dreamed of one day playing in the NHL. Now, you’re doing it,” said Galchenyuk, who is hoping to bring both sets of his grandparents to Montreal this season to see him play live in the NHL for the very first time. “You’re coming back to those same spots, to those same roots. You’re almost doing the same kind of thing, but on a different level, a bigger stage. It’s tremendous.”
“Tremendous” really is the best word to describe Galchenyuk’s anticipation level ahead of his fifth NHL season. Despite registering career highs in goals and points last year, failing to secure a playoff berth with the Canadiens is something Galchenyuk hadn’t yet experienced in his young career. That just provided him with extra motivation heading into the 2016-17 campaign.
“Honestly, I’ve never been this excited. I mean, I’m always excited, but the excitement I have for this coming year is incredible. You’re just so excited to prove so many people wrong. We didn’t make the playoffs, but we all moved past that now. I think we’re all excited to show as a team what we really are,” said Galchenyuk, clearly fired up to help turn things around come October. “That drives me. Every day I think about coming in and being the best player I can be to help us win. We all have that same mentality. I can’t wait to get back to Montreal and make that drive to Brossard on game day. It’s been way too long.”
Just 60 days remain before Galchenyuk gets another chance to strut his stuff on hockey’s biggest stage, and with enthusiasm like that it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he was counting down the days until opening night in Buffalo right along with Canadiens fans across the globe.
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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