The National Hockey League’s offseason isn’t just for relaxing anymore and almost as soon as the Sharks season is complete, players can be found at Sharks Ice at San Jose ramping up for the next season.
Many different players can be found depending on the day as they either spend the entire summer working out in San Jose or simply use the facility until they depart for their summer homes.
“You’re just trying to get a start on things for next year and get your body into the workouts again,” right wing Mike Grier said.
Players tend to take a bit of time off right when the season concludes, but that’s about it.
“I took a couple of weeks then got right back at it,” right wing Jonathan Cheechoo said. “I’ve had a couple of injuries in the past, so this year it’s nice to start earlier even though I’d love to have played more hockey. Not being injured, I can start off fresh.”
Defenseman Brad Lukowich is in San Jose for a portion of his offseason for the first time and is taking full advantage of Sharks Ice.
“This summer has been awesome,” Lukowich said. “(Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Mike) Potenza has been a machine. This is the first time I’ve sat down with a strength coach and talked about what I need to work on. He hit on the same areas as me. I’m going five days a week. Every day I’m working another area.”
Plus, Lukowich has had plenty of workout partners.
“J.R. (center Jeremy Roenick) has been in, Cheech is here a lot, Jumbo (center Joe Thornton
) was here doing two-a-days before he left,” Lukowich said.
The efforts are already paying off as well.
“We’re doing everything,” Lukowich said. “I’ve got more energy now than I’ve ever had.”
Once players head home for the summer, they work out in their own environment, but continue to use the momentum started early in the offseason.
“Some of the guys I went to school with are still playing and we work out in the summer,” Grier said.
So when training camp opens, the players aren’t simply getting into shape like the old days.
“By the time camp rolls around,” Grier said, “you want to be at a peak fitness level.”
For this returning Sharks roster, training camp can’t come soon enough.