Clearly, the dominant factor in both of these cases is hockey players must skate at a world-class level, while performing the skills of the sport. No matter how well conditioned, determined and smart, all potential hockey players must be able to skate. Even the Bo Jacksons and Michael Jordans of the world cannot circumvent this requirement.
I was thinking about these factors when I was watching the top prospects in the Canadian League go through the skills competition and 3-on-3 game in Kelowna, B.C. The tempo of the activities on the ice remained high throughout the day. This group of players has faults and limitations just as all players do. However, they share one attribute in common - they can really skate.
Most of the hockey I watch is at the junior, college and high school levels. I do spend some time watching NHL, as well as other pro games, and I also take in a number of bantam games where my younger son plays.nfl jerseys At every level, I am struck by the same reaction - the skating ability in every league is higher than it has ever been.
There are a number of factors that have resulted in this phenomenon. The skates themselves are one reason. Their construction makes them lighter and more supportive and the blades provide a more secure foundation on the ice. Most of these present-day players have received specialized instruction from skating coaches from the time they were young. Most of the athletes are stronger and better conditioned than their counterparts from past eras.
There is no doubt the caliber of skating is one of the most attractive elements of our game from a spectator's perspective. Sometimes those of us who work in the game take this aspect for granted. Fans who were enthralled by these CHL stars speeding around all corners of the rink in the skating finals would not be as entertained if athletes were simply running around these corners. Even the best runners could not match the speed or daring of hockey players.