ORONO, Maine — University of Maine hockey coach Tim Whitehead likes his players to be well-rounded off the ice as well as on the ice.
That’s why dry-land training consists of several components.
With just two weeks before the season-opener against Quinnipiac, the Black Bears have already worked with military personnel involved in a two-day leadership training and team building regimen known as The Program. They’ve also worked with registered dietician Dave Ellis, whose speciality is sports nutrition and Dave Osborne, the vice president of business development for the Predictive Success Corporation.
The goal of the Predictive Success Corporation is to supply its clients with the most predictive path to success and to teach leaders how to use people to the best of their ability.
The Black Bears also began their captain’s practices without coaches this past Wednesday because coaches are only allowed to work with their full roster of players two hours a week until the season starts. The team has scheduled a variety of activities like climbing Mount Katahdin on Saturday and camping out with the Boy Scouts at Camp Roosevelt in Eddington the following weekend.
They also will continue to participate in a variety of competitions as they are separated into three teams.
Maine will open its schedule by hosting Quinnipiac at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, and the University of New Brunswick the next day at 4 p.m. The UNB game is an exhibition game.
Whitehead reported that freshman forward Devin Shore, the second-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars, was recently cleared to practice after a bout of mononucleosis.
Sophomore right wing-center John Parker will miss at least four months if not the entire season after slipping and breaking his foot falling down stairs while carrying a television set a couple days before returning to school but freshman winger Ryan Lomberg (broken foot) and sophomore winger Andrew Cerretani (sprained ankle) are expected back in October.
The Black Bears’ busy fall is by design.
“We want to educate them in every area of their development, on and off the ice,” explained Whitehead. “We want to expose them to every aspect of being an elite athlete.”
He said this teaches them life lessons and the proper way to prepare physically and mentally for each challenge and how to overcome adversity.
“[Whitehead] wants to make us well-rounded individuals. It’s all pretty beneficial,” said sophomore defenseman Jake Rutt of Scarborough.
“This prepares us for anything,” said sophomore winger Connor Lean. “We have been put in a lot of uncomfortable situations and that will surely happen this season. But we’ll be ready for it because of this training.”
Senior center Klas Leidermark added, “We’re not used to doing things like this. They take us out of our comfort zones. But it tests you and I like challenges.”
Senior center Kyle Beattie said Ellis gave a “great presentation” on nutrition and taught the players the importance of eating healthy.
Proper nutrition can help them stay healthy and play up to their potential, he said.
“Having all of these great resources really helps us,” said Beattie.
The veteran players will be climbing Mount Katahdin for the second time. They did it two years ago and last year they went whitewater rafting.
“A lot of [young] guys think it’s just a hill. They’re in for a rude awakening,” chuckled Rutt, who climbed Mount Katahdin when he was “11 or 12 years old.”
“Personally, I didn’t like it but it’s a good bonding trip. It should be a good time,” said senior right wing and tri-captain Joey Diamond.