Working out with an NHL strength and conditioning head coach. Taking a tour of the Chicago Blackhawks practice locker room. Learning about the USPHL from NCDC and Premier Division coaches. Goaltenders getting their own practice session.
These were just some of the features of Day 2 - Saturday, July 27 - at the USPHL Combine at Fifth Third Arena in Chicago, Ill.
The morning started off with groups of players either going into the first round of games, or taking part in physiology testing with Paul Goodman. Goodman is the Strength and Conditioning Head Coach for the Chicago Blackhawks, and he set up four different stations for groups of players to rotate between. One test included timed pull-ups, holding oneself up with a weight on their legs for as long as they could. Other tests were performed on stationary bikes and plyometric platforms. Goodman and his Goodman Elite Training team kept track of the results for the USPHL coaches in attendance.
“It was a great opportunity, very much fun. There were a lot of different [tests] to judge where I am as a player,” said Connor Trankina, an ‘02 from Illinois. “It was definitely different, with a lot of different concepts. It was well-rounded and it gives you a great picture of how you should be performing.
“He just told us to work hard, and that every second, every inch matters.”
“He said to stay at it, keep working hard every day and dream big,” added Kevin Uhlir, an ‘01 also from Illinois. “I thought it was awesome. It’s a good time to work out. I’m sore already. There was a lot more leg stuff that I wasn’t expecting.”
In the early afternoon, following the first set of five games, the nearly 40 goalies present at the Combine got their own time to shine, with a Goaltender Session including coaching by multiple USPHL Premier coaches.
The later afternoon featured the second set of five games for the 10 teams, interspersed with a pair of USPHL Informational Symposia. These sessions included representation from each of the seven National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) teams that were present, as well as League officials and several USPHL Premier teams.
The coaches discussed the multiple routes to the NCDC, the greater focus on player development over wins and standings, and the hard work and dedication on and off the ice and in the classroom that it takes to make your college hockey dreams come true.
At the conclusion of these symposia, the participants were given a tour of the Chicago Blackhawks' practice locker room at the state-of-the-art Fifth Third Arena, which was built in 2017.
Sunday’s schedule features the last five games - starting at 9 a.m. and scheduled to end at 12:20 p.m. - and the players receiving their evaluation forms.