Offseason training paying off for defending state champion Quaker Valley
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Quaker Valley's hockey team took some time this summer to remember its achievements from last year.
The Quakers received their Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League championship rings in an August ceremony at the Edgewood Club — the same place the team went after beating Bayard Rustin, 4-1, in the state championship game in March.
The gold-and-black ring commemorates the team's 21-1-1 season, as well as its Penguins Cup victory over Mars at Consol Energy Center.
“It's pretty big — it's got a lot of writing on it, and it's really nice,” senior forward Clayton Bouchard said. “That was a memorable day, for sure.”
While the Quakers spent that one day looking back at a successful season, they spent the rest of the summer getting ready for what they hope will be a good follow-up.
“Most teams, (after) they have the ring, they take a year off,” senior Ryan Dickson said. “We don't want to take a year off. We have to get better every time we're on the ice, every time we're together.”
As in past years, the players went through small group lessons with coach Kevin Quinn and took part in the Quaker Valley hockey camp in August.
But one difference came in off-ice workouts, as for the first time players worked out in large groups with Quaker Valley trainer Derek Clark.
Clark put the players through strength workouts targeting both upper- and lower-body strength as well as conditioning through running.
“We hadn't done much off-ice (training) the last few years,” coach Kevin Quinn said. “A few years we did it quite often, and I did it myself. But this particular way is beneficial because it's a different voice, and it was very successful.”
The coach said it takes just a quick look to see the strength and conditioning workouts paid off.
“Physically, you just see this year how much bigger everyone is,” he said. “We've been pretty young the past few years, even though (we were) very competitive. Size-wise, it's the first thing I noticed when we got to the first practice, (as well as) speed and the shots. We've instituted no hitting in practice simply because of the size of our team.”
Quinn said the next step for the Quakers will be to take the improved size, speed and skills and mold them together into cohesive lines, defensive pairings and power-play units.
With that in mind, the team began on-ice practices for the coming season before Labor Day. The Quakers will play in the St. Margaret's Foundation Fall Faceoff preseason tournament in early October, with the regular season slated to begin Oct. 29.
“These are really extended tryouts to see how well kids work together,” Quinn said of preseason tournaments. “We try them in different opportunities and different line combinations, different positions. But when you have something that's been working for a number of years — like Clayton and Ryan Dickson have played together since they were freshmen — that's probably not something that's going to change.”
While the Quakers did lose some key contributors from their championship season in 2011-12, Bouchard has faith in the younger players, who he said have “a bunch of skill.”
“They're going to be very important to our run, and I think they're up to it,” Bouchard said. “They're really confident about themselves, and I think they're ready for the challenges.”
Bouchard and Dickson think team chemistry will be a major strength, as well, thanks to the high level of participation in the offseason workouts — another change from previous years.
“It feels like midseason, to be honest,” Dickson said. “Our practices aren't where we want them to be for midseason, but how everybody's acting around everybody — that feels like midseason.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- Crosby banned from Jets game because he missed All-Star Game
- Pittsburgh cracks down on overcrowded houses
- Cal U professor who died in campus office was lawyer, civil rights leader
- LeBeau won’t join Cardinals coaching staff
- Pine-Richland’s DiNucci to Pitt; Kittanning’s Bowers opts for PSU
- National Weather Service to evaluate work after missed call on storm
- Tanker crash closes lane of Turnpike in Penn Township
- Funeral for Joey Fabus, honorary Bethel Park police officer, draws crowd
- Flyers’ Rinaldo suspended 8 games for hit on Letang
- Gorman: Not just a no-brainer for Pine-Richland’s DiNucci