Upcoming Events:

Accelerated I Hockey Clinic

Starts June 10th (Mondays & Thursdays)

Registration Fee $595 Ages 7-11

Moderate I Hockey Clinic Session (1)

Starts June 12th (Wednesdays)

Registration Fee $140 Ages 8 & under

Moderate 1 Hockey Clinic Session (2) 

Starts July 17th (Wednesdays)

Registration Fee $140 Ages 8 & under

Moderate II Hockey Clinic

Starts June 11th (Tuesdays)

Registration Fee $285 Ages 9 & up

Overspeed I Hockey Clinic

Starts June 10th (Mondays & Fridays)

Registration Fee $595.00 Ages 12 & under

Overspeed II Hockey Clinic

Starts June 12th (Wednesdays & Fridays)

Registration Fee $595.00 Ages 13 & up

Elite Hockey Clinic 

Starts June 10th (Mondays & Thursdays)

Registration Fee $595 Ages 12 & up

Derek Booth Defensemen Hockey Clinic 

Starts June 11th (Tuesdays)

Registration Fee $325 Ages 9-16

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HPD Testimonials

Read what Coaches, Parents, Students have to say about Hockey Player Development: Camps, On your ice training, Private lessons, Clinics, and Team Practices run by HPD.

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Notes From Nick Parillo:



Why does HPD offer off-ice training for all ages?

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.

At HPD our staff believes that age appropriate related strength training can develop strength and power at all ages. Our goals, are to create off-ice programs that directly compliment the ages of the participants. Functional strength training for younger athletes and Olympic lifting variations for older athletes are both great ways to develop explosiveness on the ice at different ages.

I have found that what most hockey players need the most they perhaps neglect the most. Training of the anaerobic system is by most interpretations not fun. Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power. Although you cannot neglect your aerobic system in hockey, the anaerobic system is clearly the driving force. Power and explosiveness off a start or stop and quick bursts to change directions all rely on this system. As an example, one technique at HPD used to train this system off-ice are resisted sprints and will be reinforced on ice with resisted skating sprints. We believe that functional strength training as such is paramount for developing power and explosiveness.

HPD uses the LTAD (Long Term Athlete Development) model created by Dr. Istvan Balyi and recognized by USA hockey for an educated plan of attack. This road map documents any particular athletic development from pre-puberty through retirement. Sport scientists use these principles to take a proactive approach to athletic development. Using “speed” as an example. The LTAD states that both boys and girls have two windows where they have an increased opportunity to develop their speed. For boys, it is ages 7-9 and 13-16. Girls have their windows a little earlier at ages 6-8 and 11-13.
Ultimately and to answer the above question, using the appropriate exercises at the right times throughout the development process can help a hockey player reach his or her potential in the sport.
Nick Parillo

HPD Head Hockey Instructor
(For more information on the LTAD model go to click on “For Parents”)





How Do You Increase Skating Speed?

Many coaches, instructors and players all have their own opinions. It is actually a complex question and involves multiple activities. Adjusting your stride, lengthening it, tweaking it by practicing lots of stride work? Sorry, this will not work alone. The truth of the matter is, it takes lots and lots of time and hard work. The reality is great skaters have worked extremely hard on their craft.

Targeting specific muscle groups relating to skating speed is a very effective way of increasing speed over time. At HPD we use off-ice plyometric training.

Plyometric training entails specific exercises that enable the muscle to reach maximum strength in as short a time as possible. The muscles trained in these exercises for hockey are the vastus medialis and the vastus lateralis, which are part of the quadriceps muscle group. The gluteus maximus, the muscles on the inside and outside of the hip (adductors and abductors) and many other muscles that are used for stabilization, recovery and forward and backward movement. So Plyometric or off-ice strength training that targets these specified muscle groups is just one piece to the puzzle.

From my own experience and what many players neglect in the off-season and has a major effect on maintaining speed is Anaerobic training. Players go to off-ice and on-ice trainers all summer long to increase speed. Specialized power skating instructors, off-ice strength trainers, etc… . They accomplish this goal but can only maintain that speed for 10 seconds out of a 45 second shift. They still are not effective in a game. I see this all the time, parents approach me with the question what does my son need to do to increase his speed? Most times than not the player actually has adequate speed but is completely out of what I like to call “hockey shape.” Doing the training needed to maintain that speed for a 45 second shift is not an easy task. Like stated earlier it takes lots of commitment and dedication. It is a huge part of speed in hockey and in my experience it is widely neglected among players and trainers alike. Anaerobic activity is one that does not require oxygen, but relies on the ATP-PC and anaerobic glycolysis system of energy within the body. This system is used in short bursts and enables a player to take a hard 45 second shift. My favorite way to train this system besides plyometric work is to do a hill training regimen on a treadmill combined with a heavy bag regimen. The workout usually involves 45 second repetitions followed by adequate rests to simulate a hard shift and then a break on the bench. When doing this workout compared with others in the off-season I could actually feel a difference immediately in maintaining foot speed on the ice during a shift. I currently now do this workout with many of my Junior and College players that train with me over the summer. It is probably by far the most hated regimen for my elite level athletes but the most beneficial combined with a proper on and off-ice training regimen.

Skating technique alone will not make you faster but it is definitely a piece to the puzzle. A proper 90 degree knee bend is a first and foremost emphasis for me with my younger players. Being technically sound with weight over legs will allow a strong 45 degree drive of force. Also, using your edges properly during this drive is of utmost importance. The drive starts with the back portion of your inside edge located directly under the mid-line of your body. In your set position your skates are in what we term a V-postion. Using ankle flexion to cut the ice with the back and proper portion of the inside edge is paramount. Directly after the initial push comes the mid-line of the edge push as you thrust your skate outward at 45 degrees. The last part of the edge to cut the ice is the front portion of that edge, which some refer to as a “toe flick”. Retraction is then highly important. The returning blade must travel quickly to the starting position in order for proper weight transitioning to begin again on the opposite skate. An overemphasis on stride length is a very common theme in today’s youth hockey hustle. So much so, many players spend entire summers working with specialized power skating instructors that work on specifically lengthening stride etc… . Certain body types do not condone a fluent long stride. This is just a cold hard truth pertaining to stride with a hockey player. Like stated before however proper knee bend is “MOST” important. Regardless of stride length a proper knee bend can create a powerful stride. I have played with some of the faster players in the game that have short choppy powerful strides. They push hard and retract even quicker, allowing them to stride again quicker then most. Some will argue that this player must then take more strides and essentially work harder then the player with a longer stride. I do not believe this is the case because if it were, I would see many more kids coming back from specialized power skating instructors with dramatically changed results. The reality is they come back with their strides tweaked a bit but they look like the same skater. Simply, there body type cannot change and there stride in turn will generally look the same. Another factor in skating speed I would like to point out is weight transfer during stride. Helping with weight transfer is a proper arm swing. Proper movement of the arms helps to develop a rhythm in the skating process to create a fluid-balanced skating motion. Combine this fluid arm swing with a proper knee bend and we are beginning to move forward in the right direction. I believe in doing many power skating exercises that demand full control of all movements. Being able to control other parts of your body while taking a stride is paramount. This is extremely hard for most kids because they simply lack the proper leg strength. They must use other portions of their body to help propel their skate when making a stride. This alone creates all sorts of bad habits, bobbing up and down, torso swinging, head moving just to name a few. My power skating concentrations focus on complete control of your upper body and opposite leg (non pushing leg). We do this by using many one legged power skating exercises to emphasize certain areas of your blade while concentrating on keeping full control of your body movements. With older more experienced players we do these same concentrations and add weight belts or vests to the regimen. In this way not only are we concentrating on technique but also strengthening the aforementioned specific skating muscle groups.

In the end, and as you can now see the question “How do I increase my son/daughters skating speed?” is a complex question involving many different facets. Combined, it realistically may take years and years of dedication to become proficient. We at HPD are willing to properly help in this area.

Nick Parillo
Head Instructor HPD



Since its inception in 2009 USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) has been a hot topic in almost every rink throughout the United States. The ADM which was created by USA hockey after years of extensive research that involved world class trainers, doctors, nutritionists and psychologists is continually under public fire. The debate often centers on half ice versus full ice games at the younger birth years. Skeptics to this innovative development model have sought an alternative and have turned to the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).


Many AAU team leaders cleverly recruit by defaming the ADM with the promise of full ice games and full ice practices, “real hockey” in their terms. This divide between scientifically based athletic development versus keeping the game the same has created the Civil War of hockey in the U.S

“The debate will always be there with the ADM, at every birth year there is someone that has played at a relatively high level during their playing days and does not agree with the science behind what we do. Unfortunately playing at a high level doesn’t always equate to being able to teach an 8 year old how to skate or having the knowledge to put a practice plan together to optimize age appropriate skill development given the short time allotted for on-ice practice.” Scott Paluch USA Hockey Regional Manager Of The American Development Model and Former Bowling Green State University Head Coach

What is the right route for my child’s development? This becomes a complex question when given the two choices and knowing the parity in skill and size that exists at the younger ages. The answer when two great arguments occur about anything usually lies somewhere in the middle.

An athlete’s development is analogous to that of an infant: you crawled before you walked and walked before you ran. One facet of development fed into the next. Now consider this analogy concerning an ice hockey player: you did not zoom around the ice before first learning how to balance on skates or shoot and pass a puck before learning how to hold your hockey stick. Each skill fed into the successful acquisition of the next skill. The American Development Model is a blue print for progressively building age-specific skills in order to have success at all ability levels of the game. USA hockey has given our youth coaches a guideline for age appropriate on-ice development with age-specific drills which ensure that our players learn how to use their edges, stick handle and shoot a puck-the fundamentals for success in the sport - while being in a competitive, fun and nurturing academic environment. IMG 1687

Practice plans at the younger ages are mapped out for the coaches and the rink is divided strategically into sections for various drills. The division of the ice surface serves a multi-purpose role. More stations allow more content covered in a single practice. This structure also allows more participants on the ice at one time, keeping ice costs down while allowing more players into the game through the removal of team rosters and the allocation of ice that once restricted the number of teams an association could host. Lastly, a great coach to player ratio keeps the players moving; serving to keep a younger players attention longer.

Using USA hockey’s half-ice mandate at the 6U & 8U ages allows every player an opportunity to touch the puck more during game play. Major U.S. youth sports like soccer, baseball, football and basketball all have surfaces that have been age appropriately modified creating a better opportunity for younger athletes to learn to play the game properly. In contrast watching a full ice 6U or 8U hockey game can be compared to watching Miguel Cabrera in a homerun derby contest against little leaguers. There are 2 or 3 kids on each of these teams that dominate play; while you might think “at least these kids will be getting better”, you are wrong. In a small area game scenario even the more skilled players are challenged because they must now maneuver through smaller spaces. Their skill set of edge control, puck control and body position improve immensely and is not limited to anticipating a quick break while waiting at the red line.

An additional skill acquired in the small area game concept is body contact which occurs more frequently in the smaller area which helps the player learn how to use his/her body to create advantages during game play. The payoff for this skill will occur as the player graduates to the checking ages given that more players will be accustomed to body contact allowing for a smoother transition. Further, this contact may result in fewer explosion type checks in favor of riding the man off the puck in order to reacquire the puck in transition, the result being fewer injuries. Ultimately, it has been my observation that the ADM has put fun back in the game for the kids, giving more of a “pond hockey feel” where the game itself is the greatest teacher. 

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A counter approach to the ADM and what many people may have heard of but might not be totally familiar with is the AAU. The AAU is the fastest growing ice hockey program and currently exists in 21 states around the United States. The philosophy of the AAU is "Sports for All, Forever." Since the implementation of the ADM model by USA hockey the AAU has been gaining speed as the counterpart to the USA hockey’s plan to implement the ADM in all of our country’s youth hockey organizations. The AAU encourages local organizations to create their own models that cater to the level of play on each team. This lack of leadership reinforces the AAU supporter’s argument that the ADM is forcing mite hockey players into a “one size fits all” program which is detrimental to younger elite hockey players.

The AAU’s approach is in complete contrast to the research surrounding the creation of the ADM program. Given that hockey is a late developing sport and close to 60% of players drop out by the age of 14 in the United States, the supporters of the AAU ignore this research. Having personally spent ten years working with hockey players and going through the system myself I have seen that just because at 6 or even 14 years of age you are not a “great player”, does not mean that by 18 or 23 you will not be a “great hockey player”.

One argument used against the ADM is that the cross ice only approach for ages 6-9 misses an important window for teaching skating skills and ADM’s cross ice only approach limits a player’s ability to develop skating fundamentals such as open ice speed forward and backward. The science behind the ADM states that a player 6-9 has a potential for growth in the areas of quickness, agility and subtleness (1st speed window). At this age the player’s musculature is not developed enough to teach a powerful stride for 200 ft. USA Hockey encourages skating coaches at practices to work with players skating techniques so that when the body reaches that stage of muscle development for a complete stride, the player is competent. Yet, despite the years of research on this topic, parents still come to me and say “well my son or daughter played full ice all year and then participated with players that played half ice and they are way ahead…” 9 out of 10 times that I see this same child out on the ice immediately I can tell that he/she lacks the necessities and foundation that others have gained participating in the ADM. Yes he/she is fast skating down the ice and yes he/she competes well, but put that skater into drills where he/she must maneuver quickly and demonstrate a proper weight shift going in and out of a turn and they are almost always awkward. They lack the technique and the thousands of repetitions the cross ice players have attained. The question to these parents is, “At 16-20 where will your player be without the proper foundation?”

Every situation is different and in my 10+ years working as a hockey instructor I have seen great players get better, but more often I have seen great players fall flat at advanced levels of the game due to lacking skill foundation or failing to have the work ethic needed to distinguish themselves in competitive situations.

I would ask parents to think about these facts when choosing between USA Hockey’s model and that of the AAU. USA Hockey’s decades of dedication to research and development has resulted in a model which allows each athlete the opportunity for getting the proper fundamentals they will need for long term achievement in the sport. Without these fundamentals, as a 16 year old player hoping to take their game to the next level…will they be ready? I believe USA hockey has answered this question.

Nick Parillo (HPD Head Instructor)

Any questions on this subject please feel free to email me at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



What makes HPD an elite development opportunity?

Over the years through hard work and dedication to the sport we have developed a true system in developing elite hockey players. We specialize in building a strong foundation for our youth players using power skating techniques that reinforce proper skating stride and being strong on edges. For older players on-ice development continues with reinforcing proper skating technique with added emphasis on strength and conditioning. The development process continues off the ice with HPD by teaching our youths how to properly and effectively train their cores. During our off ice sessions youth players learn why core strength is vital in hockey. They learn strengthening activities that enhance a players ability to change direction, take hits or make hits, and most importantly allow the body to bear greater loads and enhance the bodies ability to create external force. This comes into play when you push against the ice to take a strong and more explosive stride. Younger players at HPD start out with basic plyometric exercises creating a good foundation for transitioning into more complex strengthening activities at older ages.

In the end and unfortunately most coaches, programs and players fail to realize what type of work ethic and commitment reaching their potential in hockey takes. At HPD we are here to help provide you with not only the fundamentals but understanding the commitment it takes to get better at this game. Then it will be up to you the player to decide whether or not this is something you wish to build your life around.

Hope to see you this summer!

Nick Parillo (HPD Head Instructor)

Any questions on this subject please feel free to email me at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




HPD Forward Grant Meyer will get another call up this weekend to the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. Here is part of a recent article from his last call up... . Good Luck Grant!



– The Phantoms have recalled affiliate forward Grant Meyer from the Cleveland Baron Under-18 AAA team. Youngstown’s 12th-round pick (174th overall) in the 2013 USHL Phase II Draft, Meyer leads the Barons with 22 goals thus far this season and also serves as the team’s captain. He is will wear No. 14 for the Phantoms and is expected to make his USHL debut Friday night vs. the Lincoln Stars


Nick Parillo


Any questions on this subject please feel free to email  Nick Parillo at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




Cold Hard Truth when it comes to Skating Stride: by Nick Parillo

I have been working with youth hockey, junior, college and pro skaters for the last fifteen years, I have played alongside players in Division 1 college and then in the Pros with very awkward strides that are in fact great hockey players. Most were very strong and had unbelievable leg and core strength. Some body types cannot be fluent when skating, while others are more equipped to produce a great fluent stride. Believe it or not most young players will improve their stride with simply logging more ice time, attending specialized power skating sessions that preach fixing your stride is somewhat of a myth. My power skating sessions involve balancing using our core strength with lots of 1 legged skating exercises that strengthen the muscles involved with pushing and extending.  This makes lots of sense considering the fact while skating a player is only using 1 leg at a time. Off ice exercises involving plyometrics and other leg and core strengthening exercises can really help give you that stronger stride and also keep you stronger on the puck.  The Accelerated I & II summer programs are ideal for off and on ice training with a concentration on edges, puck handling and constructive game play.  While the Overspeed I & II provide more of a concentration on acceleration, strengthening and conditioning.   

Still after hours of your favorite power skating instructor and hours of off ice activity you still don't look like Sydney Crosby well there is a cold hard truth.... "your not”. His body type along with his athletic ability "genes" come into major play with his success in hockey. Sorry to tell you it was not a coach or power skating instructor that made "Sydney - Sydney". However the good news is there are players at the Division 1 and Pro levels that do not have those great skating genetics and with hard work and dedication off and on the ice you can reach your potential in this game.  Most players fail to realize what type of work ethic and commitment reaching their potential in hockey takes. At HPD we are here to help provide you with these hockey fundamentals that will help establish a strong foundation to build from.  In the end it will be up to you the player to decide whether or not this is something you wish to build your life around.  

Nick Parillo

Any questions on this subject please feel free to email  Nick Parillo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




Hi everyone hope your hockey seasons are going well....

Equipment issues? 

I get a lot of questions from hockey parents from time to time regarding various equipment issues.  So I have decided to summarize and list to the best of my knowledge all the basic equipment needed in hopes to help out with the purchasing process of new or used equipment.  As you will find out quickly buying hockey equipment is unfortunately not a one time expense. As your child grows and new “larger” equipment is required you will find prices dramatically increase in size as well.  Also to add to this expense, advances in equipment and other advertized so called “safety features” enable companies to raise prices and monopolize on supply and demand in the industry.  Endorsements made to professional athletes  have a significant effect on this industries demand.  For instance once a company gives a star NHL player endorsement money to use a new stick, shortly after your player will be asking for that same one!  Your kids unknowingly will make these companies rich, the companies know it and even you know it but it still happens!  The other day I was in the pro-shop looking for a stick for my son when he says “dad this is the same kind Crosby uses”  just what that company was planning on.... and of course I bought him the $100+ junior stick.  I wanted to tell him “son its not the stick” but  you and I both have been in this situation and I bet if your not guilty for it yet, you will be eventually.      

Well enough of the obvious lets get down to the specifics and a checklist that I have created for all you new hockey parents looking to make your child's hockey experience not only fun but safe as well....

  1. Skates – Probably without a doubt the most important piece of equipment for your hockey player. Buying used skates is an option but very debatable.  Many people will tell you never buy used skates for your child, not only will the boot be molded to the last persons foot, the radius of hollow on the steel of the skate will be catered to that players style of game.  For players just starting out used skates might be an option, but I will have to recommend new skates for players past the introductory levels of the game. The boot itself should fit comfortably but not loose which would allow skin to rub on the inside of the skate causing painful blisters.  Also skate size is different then shoe size a typical brand name skate will fit on average two shoe sizes less.  For instance I wear a 10R for a shoe size and fit into a 7 1/2R skate size.  After purchasing your skates you will be given the option of “baking” your skates.  This is usually a good idea, most stores have skate ovens that warm your new skate up in order to mold the leather to your foot.  Ultimately this makes the breaking in process less of an issue, on average it takes 3-4 good skating sessions to really start to feel comfortable in your new skates.  I touched a bit earlier on skate blade Radius of Hollow that I will abbreviate ROH.  ROH determines the bite angle of each blade edge, which in turn determines the performance characteristics of the blade. For instance a 3/8” ROH will cut the ice much more than a 1” ROH.  I recommend most beginners to start with a 5/8” or 3/4” ROH. When the player gets older it is then a personal preference, however the most common choice of ROH is 1/2” which happens to be the most common used in the NHL.  Finally, tightening of your players skate is an important and tedious job but the end result ankle support is worth the back ache.  Too many times have I seen a child come out on the ice with his or her ankles bent in. This game is hard enough to learn without having to try and balance without the support of a properly tied skate. Trust me besides the given support from a quality skate this can make a big difference in utilizing and learning to properly use your edges on the ice.  Wax laces seem to help for those parents that might have trouble getting those little ones skates tight enough.  With that being said the other extreme “skates that are too tight” can result in damaging tendons located against the upper tongue of the skate.  When this happens what we call “skate bite” can occur which is a very painful aggravation of the tendon and sometimes requires a gel pad to fit in between injured area and skate.  As you can see a proper balance needs to be met between tight, loose and personal preference before hitting the ice with those skates.  The best way to meet this compromise is to simply ask your player before he hits the ice “do they feel tight enough?”or “are they too tight?”.
  2. Athletic Cup- Not much to say here except this piece of equipment is not only for boys but girls should definitely wear as well.
  3. Garter Belt-  This item fits around players waist and helps to keep those hockey socks up. Adjustment is required to make sure socks are firmly kept high enough up over shin pads.
  4. Shin Guards- These items are used to protect shin from sticks and pucks, they should fit from knee to ankle. I prefer to tape these in place even if velcro straps are included. 
  5. Pants-   Provided protection from hips down to top or mid-line of knee.
  6. Shoulder Pads-  Provide protection for your shoulders, upper arms, chest, upper back and collar bone.  Parents this is undoubtedly an important piece of equipment but at times I see parents go over board with this item.  Shoulder pads that are too big can result in restriction of movement and ultimately injury because of not properly fitting over areas that need protection. Obviously on the other extreme lets stay away from weak and flimsy fitting shoulder pads that cannot give the proper protection needed.  Please seek the advice from a knowledgeable source at the pro-shop if in doubt for this piece of equipment.
  7. Elbow Pads-  This piece of equipment should protect the area between the top of the elbow pad to the top of the glove. Again, it is important for proper sizing – especially as the skater grows.
  8. Gloves-   For proper protection the glove should extend to the lower portion of elbow pads protecting the lower arm and wrists.  A moderate amount of room should be left at the fingertips to allow growth and movement.  Gloves that fit too tight can not only result in injury but can prohibit proper movement with stick.
  9. Helmet- USA hockey has stringent rules and regulations for proper fitting helmets.  This is one piece of equipment never to cut corners with.  Please ask for pro-shop assistance with any questions regarding proper fit, straps and masks.
  10. Neck Guard- USA hockey regulations require neck guards.  This piece of equipment can prevent severe injuries to the neck.  It guards primarily against stick blades and skate blades. During a hockey game or practice I would recommend your player wear this at all times.
  11. Mouth Guard- USA hockey regulations require a mouth guard to be worn at all times.  Mouth guards can be attached to the mask portion of the helmet.
  12. Sticks-  A major personal preference item.  Weight, flex, curve, and grip are all stick components that you must take into consideration when purchasing.  For beginners I suggest you pick a stick with a near straight blade.  This will require you to use more wrist when controlling the puck, young players do not need big curves since they do not have the acquired wrist strength or skill to use them yet.  Also, for beginners the standard length of a stick with your skates on should extend from the toe of the blade touching the ground to your chin.  With street shoes on the “butt end” of the stick should extend to the players nose.

       Good Luck!

Nick Parillo

Any questions on this subject please feel free to email  Nick Parillo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




A Note from former NHL player and Hockey Player Development head instructor Iain Duncan,

I know that some years are better than others, but always remember, "YOU ARE PLAYING AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE "WORLDS FASTEST TEAM SPORT".

Look at the positive things that happen throughout this year and think about “What can I do to better to prepare myself for the next hockey season?” And “What can I do as an individual to may my team stronger?”  There are always things you can improve on…skating, shooting, passing, conditioning and strength just to name a few.

During the spring and summer you can improve on all aspects of your game. There is nothing wrong with saying or thinking "Hey, I really need to work on my footspeed and skating this spring/summer” or “I could really improve my shooting capabilities”.  Nobody's perfect! Not even Crosby, so utilize this time to learn and get stronger as an all round hockey player.

Spring and summer training is great for any age group.  From Youth Hockey players to NHL players, this is the time of the year to work on the basics!  In the spring and summer, you have to work on your aerobic conditioning.  I say this because, this is the time of year you should work on your cardio as much as you can!  During the hockey season, you can maintain your cardio training but off season is when you need  to "set" your level of cardio training.  The higher level of cardio you accomplish, the more you are going to be able to "give" to your team in the 3rd period of a hockey game.

The same is true for working on your strength and quickness. During the spring/summer, you are stressing the muscles as much as you can to prepare them for the upcoming season. During the hockey season, you are involved with strength/flexibility upkeep.  Again, what I mean by that is, you should build as much strength in the spring/summer as you can to build muscles.  With heavy weights and low repetitions you will begin to do this.  As you come into the new season, you will do more repetitions and less weight because, being flexible and strong is very important in the game of hockey.

Thank you,

Iain Duncan

Any questions on this subject please feel free to email  Nick Parillo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it







How critical is a pre-game warm up?  

Depending on how you wish to start the game should play a major role in your warm-up.

I was never a big believer of a slow stretching approach to prepare for a game.  I would observe many players who would sit and go through a static routine of touching toes and crossing legs.  I never once did this and did not ever pull a muscle in 4 years of college hockey and 5 years of pro hockey.  Basically if you want to start the game like a statue then go ahead and stretch like one.  This type of stretching in my opinion is great for after a game when your body needs to relax and mind needs to shut down.

 A dynamic warm-up consisting of challenging exercises that wake up the mind and facilitate high speed skill execution and quick contracting muscles will in fact result in a player that is warmed and ready to go right from the drop of the puck. 

Muscle tissue is directly affected by temperature and it is important to start this pre-game dynamic routine by warming the muscle up with a 5-10 min. stationary bike or jog. 

Next balancing exercises should be done, my personal favorite the Bosu-ball is great for activating a wide variety of muscles through low-impact movements.  Also balance exercises will turn the mind on by increasing responsiveness. 

Finally you are ready for the meat portion of the warm-up, faster movements, changes of direction, and reaction exercises.  Sprints with stops and starts at different points, is a simple and ideal way to warm up in a dynamic manner.  Be creative and change dynamic routines often, challenge yourself throughout the warm-up, this will lead to enhanced game play by waking your mind for split second decisions and waking your body for split second physical reactions that make up the game of hockey…….

Thank you,

Nick Parillo

Any questions on this subject please feel free to email  Nick Parillo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it





Why HPD eight week Clinics  vs. one week hockey clinics?

It has been documented by various scholars in the academic community that a student is able to retain more information over a period of weeks instead of for lack of better terms "cramming" the day before an exam.  This information learned over a longer period of time also stays with the student after the exam.

If this is true then why are one week hockey clinics so popular?

Basically it comes down to experienced instructors "cramming" 30+ years of hockey experience into one week of hockey.  This information is not only overwhelming for most young players it can not be applied so readily either. This type of one week clinic works for the instructors not the players. This game takes months, and years to improve at.  If you participate in a one week hockey clinic over the summer and think you are all set for the season you are just fooling yourself.

Hockey is a game of repetition doing things the right way over and over again until they are done automatically in a split second game situation.  This is why we at HPD believe in the eight week hockey programs.  These clinics give players 2 months of hockey specific training with off-ice training as well for a price less than most one week hockey clinics.

So parents choose your clinics this year wisely and let us help in the true development of your player.

Thank you,

Nick Parillo

Any questions on this subject please feel free to email  Nick Parillo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




A Player is in shape when he can play hard for each shift of an entire game without losing strength, skill or speed.

For those coaches wishing to reach maximum potential with their teams conditioning, he must become familiar with two terms Aerobic and Anaerobic.

 Definition: Aerobic exercise is exercise that involves or improves oxygen consumption by the body.   Aerobic means "with oxygen", and refers to the use of oxygen in the body's metabolic or energy generating process. Many types of exercise are aerobic, and by definition are performed at moderate levels of intensity for extended periods of time.

Definition: Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism.  It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power and by body builders to build muscle mass. Muscles trained using anaerobic exercise develop differently as compared to aerobic exercise, leading to greater performance in short duration, high intensity activities, which last from mere seconds up to a maximum anaerobic metabolic contribution at about 2 minute.  Any activity after 2-minutes or so, whether it be exceedingly easy or immensely intense, will have a large aerobic metabolic component. Anaerobic metabolism also known as anaerobic energy expenditure is a natural part of whole-body metabolic energy expenditure.  In fact, fast twitch skeletal muscle (as compared to slow twitch muscle) is inherently composed of anaerobic metabolic characteristics, so that any recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibers will lead to increased anaerobic energy expenditure. Intense exercise lasting upwards of 4 minutes or more (e.g., a mile race) may still have a considerable anaerobic energy expenditure component. Anaerobic energy expenditure is difficult to accurately quantify yet several reasonable methods to estimate the anaerobic component to exercise are available.

In the past and yes, even NHL coaches fell for certain elite physiologist training programs that have made the mistake of putting too much emphasis on aerobic training.  What happens with extended periods of long aerobic training is we are actually training our bodies to become slow! 

As you can see after reading these two definitions
 Anaerobic exercise is what a hockey player undoubtedly needs to practice.  Reason being Hockey players need fast twitch skeletal muscle which relates to most activity displayed by a player throughout a game, this compared to slow twitch muscle which is seen in most endurance athletes like long distant runners. 

We must however not totally ignore
 Aerobic exercise although it serves a different but essential purpose for a hockey player.  As a hockey player training aerobically can extend the period that your body can withstand a high intensity anaerobic shift. Also it can increase the recovery time between anaerobic shifts in a hockey game.  Another words the resting time between shifts is greater utilized by a player that has a good aerobic capacity.  For reasons unknown injuries are far less common for hockey players that have trained aerobically.  Lastly, immune function increases with aerobic activity meaning that a long season can be better tolerated by a player with a high aerobic capacity.

Therefore coaches when emphasizing an exercise program for your hockey team make sure there is a definite concentration on anaerobic training.  Which can consist of a variety of different exercises, some of my favorites are hill sprints and stairs.  But remember we must not forget or aerobic work as well, I suggest long distance runs lasting 20-30 minutes.  Also concentrate on higher speed aerobic intervals to elevate the heart rate to near maximum rates and improve the muscular endurance needed to sustain speed late in a shift.

Let me conclude with a good hockey player must be “well positioned and conditioned.”  A player that can effectively conserve and therefore can balance their
 aerobic and anaerobic systems can effectively in return achieve maximum recovery after each and every shift throughout the duration of a hockey game.  Also effectively having a reserve of these sources can allow the player at the end of a shift to have a burst of speed to get to a loose puck in front of the net for a goal or a burst of speed to block a shot in the defensive zone. 

Thank you,

Nick Parillo

Any questions on this subject please feel free to email  Nick Parillo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it