By Jessi Pierce
You’d be hard-pressed to find many professional hockey players who focused solely on hockey when they were children. Zach Parise, Meghan Duggan and Patrick Kane all looked forward to hanging up their skates at the end of the season.
Taking a break from hockey and transitioning into a variety of sports helped them become superstar athletes. And it kept their passion for hockey burning bright.
Playing multiple sports reduces injury risk, develops athleticism, and most importantly, is fun. It’s a reason Dr. Doug Weiss, team physician for the United States Men’s National Under-18 Team currently playing in the IIHF U18 Men’s World Championship, recommends 8U parents and players opt for dirt, grass or court rather than ice during the hockey off-season.
New Sport, New Season
Baseball’s hand-eye coordination can correlate with plenty of on-ice situations, like face-offs, tipping shots, swatting pucks out of the air and receiving passes. Soccer develops endurance that can be utilized in hockey, when a shift gets long or overtime becomes necessary. Lacrosse, as another “invasion sport” like hockey, helps develop attacking and defending strategies in addition to endurance.