Kim Muir and her team were back in Raleigh on Wednesday for a pair of power skating sessions at the Carolina Hurricanes Prospects Development Camp, and, of course, there were free hugs, too.
Muir has over 20 years of power skating instruction and has worked with the Hurricanes in both development camp and training camp, the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) and the Plymouth Whalers, among other teams and clients.
Many of the 27 prospects on the ice Wednesday were familiar with power skating, some having already skated with Muir.
“Josh [Wesley] skated with me all year long,” Muir said, crowning the Canes’ 2014 fourth-round draft pick her best defenseman. “He knows all my drills.”
Brendan Woods, who completed his first full professional season with Charlotte in 2013-14, worked with Muir on essentially a monthly basis.
“She put me on the spot a couple times today,” he said. “She’s great, and I love her to death. It really does help you, and you notice it in game situations.”
Muir, who comes from a hockey-playing family in Detroit, designs her instruction with purpose in mind.
“At the highest level, to teach basic forward skating or backward skating or stopping and starting, that’s not what they’re doing in the game,” she said. “There’s a lot of creativity. Body positioning and puck control, it all goes together. It’s not just skating. Hopefully when I’m out there, they see that it’s purposeful for the game, for their position.”
Though power skating – like anything – is more impactful the earlier in life it is practiced, it can still become significant in development through recurrence.
“Obviously, the younger you start anything, the better you’re going to be. But it’s never too late, as long as you want it,” she said. “But you can’t do it once a month; it has to be pretty consistent, at least twice a week. The progression of any drill or anything that you’re doing, you start off basic and keep adding on and building through repetition.”
Goaltender Logan Halladay is not unfamiliar to power skating, something he’s integrated with his development and training for years.
“I’ve actually been doing it for a while. That was one of the big things developing us when we were growing up,” he said. “We had an awesome coach who put a huge emphasis on the power skating, not only for the players but for the goalies as well. It’s something we didn’t like too much as kids, but I can look back and say that I’m extremely glad that I did it. It’s helped me tremendously.”
His experience was evident. Even in his full gear, he remained quite nimble.
“We just have to try to make with what we have and hang with the players,” he said. “We try to have fun with it and focus on getting better.”
Defenseman Haydn Fleury also regularly works through power skating drills during the offseason.
“I do it quite a bit during the summertime,” he said. “It’s been something I’ve really had to work on in the last couple of years, so now it just comes easy. But you still challenge yourself with the things you can do out there.”
Muir, as is her tradition, ended each session on Wednesday evening with hugs.
“[Hugs] are free, right? When you make a connection with someone, that’s what it’s all about,” Muir said last summer. “If that’s what connects you and you make them feel good, then you had a great day.”