As our summer stories series continues, today we look at James van Riemsdyk
who after a rookie campaign that saw him post 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points, including six game-winning goals (which tied for the NHL rookie lead and Flyers lead), went into the off-season with one goal: get stronger.
“I lived in Connecticut and trained there,” said van Riemsdyk. “It was a good summer for me. I got a lot stronger and I feel a lot better on the ice. I’m excited to get the season going and hopefully make some big steps there.”
The place in Connecticut he is referring to is Prentiss Hockey Performance (PHP). PHP is a training haven for professional athletes located in Darien, Conn., and has trained some of the best hockey players in the NHL today, including Martin St. Louis, Mike Cammalleri, Mike Green and current teammate Chris Pronger
|van Riemsdyk poses with a Flyers fan outside of fellow New Jersey native Jim Dowd's charity hockey tournament in Brick, NJ. (click photo to open a full gallery) |
“The trainer and Jimmy [McCrossin] were able to put something together for me. They both have done a great job helping me and making sure I’m at the top of my fitness levels.”
van Riemsdyk’s jump to the NHL included more than double the amount of games he had played the previous year.
In 2008-09, he appeared in 38 total games for the University of New Hampshire, including two games in the NCAA ice hockey tournament, plus another 11 games in the American Hockey League with the Philadelphia Phantoms for a total of 49 games.
Including the Flyers run to the Stanley Cup Final, JVR appeared in 99 games with the Flyers this past season, not including all seven preseason games. A total he hopes to reach again this season and be more of a force in.
“I wanted to be more powerful and explosive in my upper body and lower body. I wanted to be more dynamic so I can win more battles on the boards. Hopefully all the work pays off. I’m excited to see how I do. Now it’s up to me to go out on the ice and put it to good use.”
The training wasn’t all dry-land however. One thing that van Riemsdyk insisted on training was getting his share of ice time during the summer.
“I tried to stay on the ice. I like to skate to keep my hands working so I would skate two days a week and then towards the end of the summer I would do some conditioning skates with the trainers.”
Training up in Connecticut wasn’t the only activity this summer. van Riemsdyk still keeps close ties to his native Middletown, N.J. and its surrounding ice hockey community.
He, along with some local USA Hockey coaches and programs, helped out by participating in a charity hockey tournament "Shoot for the Stars" with another famous New Jersey, and former Philadelphia Flyer, hockey star - Jim Dowd.
"Me and Jimmy went up there to help out. We passed the puck around, stuff like that. He's been doing that for a while and it's been good for hockey in New Jersey, so its fun to help out."
Less than two weeks away from camp, we will no longer see a rookie James van Riemsdyk
, but a more powerful, faster forward ready for his sophomore season.
“I got away from hockey so I could decompress and it made me feel that much hungrier for the season to start. I’m excited to get back on the ice with the guys and be in the locker room. It was a short summer, but at the same time we’re excited to start playing again.”
Tomorrow philadelphiaflyers.com catches up with Claude Giroux
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