The Pittsburgh Penguins have named Andy O’Brien as the team’s Director of Sport Science and Performance and Andreas Hüppi as Sports Massage Therapist, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
O’Brien, 37, founder and president of O’Brien Sport in Canada, has built an outstanding reputation for training world-class athletes – from Olympic swimmer Dara Torres and Olympic figure skater Patrick Chan to Canadian women’s hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser and NHL standouts Sidney Crosby, John Tavares, Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene. He also served as strength and conditioning coach of the Florida Panthers from 2005-2009.
Hüppi, a native of Switzerland, was massage therapist for Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team in 2014 and has worked for Hockey Canada at 17 international events since 2003. He spent the last six seasons with Lugano of the Swiss hockey league.
The Penguins will hire a strength and conditioning coach to work under O’Brien as the team continues to refine its approach to training, nutrition, performance, injury prevention and rehabilitation.
“We are excited to add such highly-regarded specialists as Andy O’Brien and Andreas Hüppi to our staff,” Rutherford said. “We want to look at all aspects of how we train and prepare our players, how we can maximize performance and hopefully minimize injuries. We want to make sure they receive the best information available regarding training, nutrition, rehab and getting proper amounts of rest during a long season.”
O’Brien will be responsible for all of those areas and work closely with ex-NHL player Gary Roberts, who will oversee training at the new UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.
“I’m excited to work with an organization that recognizes the importance of training, nutrition and recovery, and is committed to an innovative approach,” O’Brien said. “We’re going to establish a methodology around how we develop and care for our players, and will work closely to study that system and make it better year by year. ”
O’Brien will work out of both CONSOL Energy Center and the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. He will travel with the team on occasion, although the new strength and conditioning coach will travel on a regular basis.
“I’ll certainly be working directly with our players, but I’ll also be spending a little more time cultivating back-end programming, refining our philosophy and adding layers of detail,” he said. “And while the UPMC Lemieux facility will be Gary Roberts’ primary focus, we want to work together to have synergies between what the Penguins are doing and what they’re doing at that facility.”
Hüppi, 45, a native of Jona, Switzerland, has worked more than 1,000 games over the past 22 years in the Swiss hockey league. During his time with Team Canada, he has been part of nine teams that won gold medals – one at the 2014 Olympics, four at the World Championships and four at the Spengler Cup.