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The NTDP U17 Players Stay On The Grind

By Becky Olsen, 06/04/24, 9:45AM EDT


The team went through an intense seven-week training program before heading home for the summer

After a challenging 54-game schedule in the 2023-24 campaign, USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Under-17 Team didn’t get to close out their first year with the program on summer vacation.

Instead, the group endured a grueling, seven-week spring training program.

The U17s spent time in the weight room and on the ice working on a wide variety of drills to increase their strength and speed, as well as continue to work on their skill development under the direction of Brian Galivan, the NTDP's director of sports science. 

“The primary objective is for the boys to put on size – that is the ultimate goal [of the spring training],” Galivan said. “This is especially important for injury prevention as the team will play NCAA games next year, playing against guys upwards of 25 years old. It’s important for them to put on size and strength.”

Galivan added that this is a perk of the program, as players get extra time after the season to train together before heading home for the summer

Defenseman Maceo Phillips (Wayzata, Minn.) enjoyed how intense the training was.

“It was definitely the hardest training we have done so far,” he stated. “We were able to get lots of sets and reps that we can’t get during the season. It was fun; hard, but in a good way.”

The intensity of the program served as a learning experience for some players, as forward Richard Gallant (Concord, Mass.) explained.

“I learned that I had a lot more to give in the weight room,” he said. “It’s just so new to a lot of us. It was new to me and good for me to know going forward, so I can push myself some more.”

Forward Will Horcoff (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) said the team got to do more than just train together during this period.

“It was a good chance to get together and spend time with the boys,” he said. “Each weekend, we tried to get hang out at somebody’s house and go out to dinner as a team. Got to know each other even better and had a chance to talk to everyone more.”

From a sports science perspective, Galivan explained that added time training with each athlete helped him learn each player’s deficiency and focus on what they needed to work on the most.

Galivan has been with the program for five years. He said this year’s training camp was the hardest one he’s been a part of, which was “fun” for him.

The results are really showing for the players. For Horcoff, he started the program last August at 180 pounds and finished the year at 193 pounds. He learned quite a bit about himself in this first season as well.

“I learned it’s not just about working out, but nutrition and sleep,” he said. “What we are eating will help us gain muscular mass. It’s a really important thing. Recovery is just as important as well. We worked on training hard during the week, and then focusing on recovery for the weekend.”

Meanwhile Gallant, who started at 162 pounds and leaves Plymouth for the summer at 167 pounds, credits Galivan and his staff for his evolution over the course of the season.

“They write the workouts and help us with nutrition, with gaining lean muscle mass and cutting off body fat,” he said. “As a smaller guy, you need whatever help you can get.”

Even Phillips, who added seven pounds to his 6-foot-5 frame, can see the difference the training program made.

“It’s not just the weight, but adding muscle to my body,” he said. “You definitely push yourself to make those strides. We really understand the importance of putting in the work.  I’ll be training back home this summer and continuing to work on my skills to be ready for my second year.”

The players all expressed how fun the team-bonding aspect of the training was, but that’s something that’s just as important to Galivan.

“It really forces them to learn to work together,” Galivan said about the program. “They all have individual goals of making it to the NHL, but the goal of the program is to compete for championships. This team went through a lot of adversity, but I thought they really came together in the spring and I’m excited to see them get into next season.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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