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Off-Season Training

Jim McCrossin checks in to explain how players train during the off-season

Friday, 06.17.2011 / 2:20 PM / News
Philadelphia Flyers
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Off-Season Training
An NHL season lasts at least a minimum of seven month, not including what’s hoped to be a grueling two-month battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
It’s almost expected and reasonable that professional hockey players take time to rest, heal and enjoy time off and away from their profession… and throughout the summer will get you up to speed on where and what our players have been up to.
But for now, we checked in with the Flyers’ Strength & Conditioning Coach/Athletic Trainer Jim McCrossin on what a typical summer workout regiment is for the players.
“Everybody has a specific plan. What we try to do is sit down with the players and let them know their strength and weaknesses, and when we say weaknesses it means what we feel they need to improve upon,” said McCrossin. “It could be speed, power, lower-body and upper-body strength. When they go for their workouts, wherever that may be, they’re coming back [to training camp] a better athlete and the hope is a better hockey player.”
McCrossin will enter his 14th season with the Flyers and 21st overall with the organization having spent seven seasons with the Phantoms, the club’s AHL affiliate. He is both a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Claude Giroux and Darroll Powe work out at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone.
With all of the vacation time for each player occurring at all different times throughout the summer, it becomes a full-time task just to keep up with what each Flyer is doing.
“I would say throughout a week I talk to our players at least once or twice,” added McCrossin. “I touch base with them just to see how they’re feeling or if there’s anything else we can be doing for them.”
Like most team training staff, McCrossin works very closely not only with the coaches, management and player, but also any player that has a personal trainer in the off-season.
“As much as you would want them to follow a program, they don’t need to follow your program. A lot of the guys go back [home] and have their own personal trainers and I stay in touch with them as well. Many of them have become very good friends of mine because I respect them and they are very, very good.”
Perhaps the most important element to off-season training is communication between the player and trainer. When a program is laid out it’s not just a one-way decision.
“It’s a happy medium. Players know they’re bodies. They’re like thoroughbreds, they know if they need to work on their speed or acceleration, lower-body strength or if they get knocked off the puck their core might be weak. They see it just as well as we see it, but they feel it. They know what’s going on so it’s really no surprise when we sit down and say ‘this is what we need to work on.’”
You would think that the summer months are different for a player in the gym than during the season. And they are just that. However with limited amount of time, McCrossin explained that the preparation for the season comes in three phases.
“Right now we’re in our building phase. Then we go to what we call our complex training phase, which involves heavy lifting and plyometrics for speed and agility through around mid-August. After that we’re back down to our maintenance phase because you don’t want to burn out before [training] camp.
“Then we get into more on-ice cardio and more functional drills out on the ice. Once camp begins it’s a whole new ball of wax.”
Because of rules and regulations from the National Hockey League and NHL Players Association, training camp has a so-called “three-hour rule”. Players can only be at a club’s practice or training facility for three hours. A short time that typically needs to involve conditioning, testing and practices to make way for pre-season games.
“Once the exhibition season is over we settle down and we get into our in-season conditioning program, which is completely different from the off-season because you’re not doing heavy lifting or plyometrics because everything is dictated by your game schedule.”




1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31


J. Voracek 49 17 40 11 57
C. Giroux 48 16 36 6 52
M. Streit 49 7 28 -2 35
W. Simmonds 49 17 12 -5 29
B. Schenn 49 10 19 -3 29
S. Couturier 49 10 12 -1 22
M. Read 49 3 15 -9 18
M. Raffl 40 12 3 6 15
M. Del Zotto 37 4 11 -7 15
V. Lecavalier 35 7 7 -10 14
S. Mason 9 12 6 .921 2.41
R. Emery 8 9 1 .887 3.38
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