When the Moose Jaw Warriors training camp opened Thursday the team was in sneakers, not skates.
The team held fitness testing in the morning and followed that with a series of up-tempo practices that set an early hard working tone to proceedings.
“Mike Stothers is going to demand that everyone works hard. There’s no cutting corners,” said Alan Millar, the Warriors director of hockey operations of the team’s new head coach.
“Our attention to detail, our accountability, teaching our team to play the game the right way; those are all things that we’ve been discussing that we need to be better at. We talked about setting the tone right from the get-go and our coaches certainly did that today.”
Millar made the fitness testing component a part of all of the franchise’s off-season activities. He noted that not everything they test for directly translates on the ice, but he felt overall that the testing had a lot of value.
“I came in late and I was disappointed that we didn’t have it as part of training camp last year,” said Millar. “We believe that there are standards to play here and fitness testing is part of that. I think everything that we do with fitness testing doesn’t necessarily equate to if you’re a good skater or a good hockey player or not, but there’s a certain level of athleticism and conditioning that are a huge part of the game.
“The plan is to stay on the guys and communicate where they need to improve so that they continue to get better.”
It was no surprised that defenceman Dylan McIlrath dominated the strength testing as he topped the bench press, medicine ball toss and the broad jump. Sebastian Svendsen was the only other player to post the top score in multiple events as he led in sit ups and push ups.
Tanner Eberle was tops in the beep test, while Sam Fioretti had the fastest two mile run and was second in the beep test.
Cody Beach was tops in the pull ups and Quinton Howden had the best vertical jump.
Bret Lyon was second in four events: the two mile run, the medicine ball toss, the bench press and the pull ups.