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by Hockey Manitoba  |  March 1, 2016 3:59 pm



Winnipeg, MB- Hockey Manitoba is pleased to release the following multi-sport promotional initiative aimed to enhance long-term player development for young hockey players.  Hockey Manitoba’s “Better Athlete, Better Hockey Player” initiative offers an unprecedented multi-sport promotion by hockey’s governing body in Manitoba.  The initiative is intended to add further awareness from an official standpoint regarding the importance of young players to develop a strong foundational base for physical literacy and athleticism; with the primary objective of educating parents, coaches, and players about these benefits in developing better hockey players.

Bernie Reichardt, Director of Development with Hockey Manitoba comments “for the first time we’re taking the steps to officially promote development by providing some direct links to some of the many sports that are beneficial for increasing physical literacy and athleticism, all in line with Hockey Canada’s long-term player development model.” Through the Hockey Canada Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) model, Hockey Manitoba and Hockey Canada promote that the key stages of developing athletic potential is between the ages of 5-12 years old where it is critical for young players desiring to better at the sport to partake in a variety of activities and other sports before specializing in their late-teen years.  Reichardt adds “examples of star hockey players who excelled in other sports is not promoted enough like Jonathan Toews who was an excellent youth soccer player for many years.”

Better Athlete, Better Hockey Player:

Hockey Manitoba encourages players to investigate multi-sport opportunities with the following organizations or any other sport or activity that will provide substantial development of physical literacy and athleticism:

“Whether it’s with our U-16 Team Manitoba roster, the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence, junior hockey, and beyond into the NHL, the player with a better athletic-base is always going to have more potential for acquiring skill and dynamic skating ability, but one of the most under promoted benefits multi-sports is the character development that kids learn as part of different team dynamics and roles” comments Kyle Prystupa, Manager of Development & Communications with Hockey Manitoba also serving Director of Operations for Hockey Manitoba’s U-16 Program of Excellence (U-16 Team Manitoba).

Another benefit of the multi-sport promotion is the eventual reduction of over-use injuries and increased resistance for non-impact injuries commonly seen with young players.  The hockey player with a well-rounded athletic base who developed and mastered the keys of physical literacy will set themselves up for a longer and more enjoyable hockey career.  Mentally the multi-sport transition benefits by reducing burn-out, which is one of the most common causes of players quitting hockey during teenage years, stemming from years of being driven to over-compete and over-train throughout the calendar year.

As an optimal off-season Hockey Manitoba recommends players to finish the playoff season and if desired continue with an age-appropriate spring development program or team focused on enhancing skill.  Once the snow melts and the athletic fields dry that is a perfect indicator to finish your hockey season and focus on other sports or activities.  Generally try to completely leave the ice for 6-8 weeks then during the summer skills camps, clinics, casual skates are excellent to begin the building blocks of next season’s skill development but not over doing it.  When September and October comes around, as most field sports complete their seasons, the renewed hunger for the new hockey season is invigorated with more skills camps preparing for the on-set of the tryout season and team formation.

For more information regarding the Hockey Canada Long-Term Player Development model and Hockey Manitoba development initiatives please visit

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