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    HPD’s Mitchell Miller is currently playing in the KHL for the AK Bars Kazan. This is undoubtedly the second highest level in the world. Mitchell currently has 2 goals and 5 assists as a defenseman in the last 10 games with the team. Mitchell has trained with HPD over the summer months since he was 6 years old.

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Hockey player
training for speed, agility, mobility and conditioning

The best way to compliment your on-ice training is to work properly off the ice. In order for this to happen we must understand that a “one size fits all” training regiment, is now obsolete.
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Nutrition and Hockey by Nick Parillo

As you maneuver around the ice during a hard shift…have you ever wondered what is going on inside your body?

Within 3 seconds of your shift epinephrine (responsible for fight or flight response) is released in your brain and triggers glucose breakdown in the liver which is sent to your muscles. Cortisol is also released by the adrenal gland, this process also helps metabolize carbohydrates into glucose for energy.

Your heart rate then rises, the left ventricle one of four chambers in heart pumps oxygenated blood into the body. You begin to perspire and you lose fluids known as sweat. Salt, potassium and magnesium are immediately lost. Throughout your shift these are lost in nutritionally significant amounts.

As a result of heart rate increase and glucose release your body starts to break down ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is made and stored by your body. ATP is made by the foods you eat and is the direct result of your body breaking down glycogen. As your body breaks down the ATP it turns into ADP (adenosine diphosphate) this crucial reaction helps your body in those short bursts needed during your shift. After the ADP is used it converts back to ATP where more glycogen is needed. The result of lactic acid build up in your legs is the direct result and bi-product of this chemical reaction between ATP and ADP.
In easier understood language your legs begin to burn….you need more oxygen…you fatigue…it’s time to change!!

A single hockey game or hard practice can deplete up to 50% or more of his or her total 24hr energy output. Most young players frequently compete in 2 games a day and sometimes 5 games in a single weekend. Nutritional requirements even in the short term is paramount. Dehydration can obviously be a major concern, thus fluid intake during these strenuous periods should be monitored closely by adults.

Personally, I believe that players should be preparing for competition by eating and drinking the proper foods. Yes, supplementation and the science behind many of these supplements can help, but with factory cross contamination and other factors we must be careful what we put in our bodies. Nothing can supplement a nutritionally sound meal. Fresh produce, vegetables coupled with a nutritious carbohydrate and portion of lean meat should be a staple in every serious athlete’s regiment.
There are so many good resources out there, here are a couple of my favorite.
was implemented recently by the government and is a great resource for parents and players. Also,
has an excellent video presentation regarding nutrition and young athletes.

Some of the simple guidelines that I tell my players to follow…

1. Stay away from soda, fruit juices and sport drinks that contain high levels of sugar. Hydration is a crucial part of an athlete’s life. Be smart about what you use to hydrate.

2. Learn to read labels on your packaged and canned foods. The more ingredients a food has the more I suggest you stay away from it!

3. Stay away from processed foods…food preservatives such as hydrogenated oil, BHT and other preservatives used to increase shelf life.

4. A variety of color on your plate in form of fruits and vegetables is important during meal time.

5. Rest coupled with calcium and iron rich foods are very important for young athletes because of high growth periods.

6. Epidemiology studies have found that significant visceral fat in youths around organs has led to increased cardiovascular detriments later in life. I tell my players think of your body as a house’s foundation. You are building your house now…what you put into your body now will affect you negatively or positively down the road. These changes negative or positive will not happen right away. Building that strong nutritional foundation is not just important for you as an athlete but will be crucial for living a healthy life as an adult.

Nick Parillo/Head Instructor |

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