Recently, the Utica Comets acquired SportTesting, an athletic testing system that captures accurate, real-time test results measuring skills ranging from speed to quickness to agility and reaction time. Through SportTesting, the athletes and coaches can use the comparative data to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, target training, track improvement and compete with peers. For the first time, our athletes can put a statistic on their development.
The Utica Comets have partnered up with the Utica Jr. Comets Elite program to create a mentorship program that encourages and facilitates on and off ice development for our young players. Prior to the start of the season, the AHL Utica Comets will draft players from the Elite teams to ultimately serve as the Elite players mentor for the season. The draft is an exciting experience for the young players to get the opportunity to meet their mentor for the first time and exchange contact information for the upcoming year. The excitement generated by this process will carry over into the start of the season, embodying the Comets’ core values of growth, leadership, and development.
As a member of the Utica Jr. Comets Elite program, each elite team at the Squirt and PeeWee level will participate in weekly power skating sessions with Head Utica College Men’s Ice Hockey Coach, Gary Heenan. During this time, Gary provides a wealth of knowledge to the Elite players. Coach Heenan teaches the same drills, fundamentals, and techniques to the Elite teams as he does with his own collegiate team. Learning the proper skating techniques and fundamentals provides each elite player with a strong foundation to continually develop skills at the quickest rate possible. Coach Heenan has a plethora of drills focusing on edgework, skating stride, transitions, cross-overs, and much more. Developing the proper skating technique and stride is an integral belief within the Utica Jr. Comets Elite Organization.
While one of the most important focal points of the Utica Jr. Comets Elite Organization is the on-ice skill development, we believe a strong emphasis should be put on developing off the ice as well. Our young athletes participating in basic exercises, stretching, plyometrics, and agility drills will ultimately carry over to the on-ice development of each individual player. Having a strong foundation of off-ice workouts will be instrumental as each player gets older and begins to transition and prepare for the next levels of hockey.
It is important that the goalies within the Utica Jr. Comets Elite organization utilize one of the biggest resources our organization has, former NHL goaltender Robert Esche. Throughout the course of the season, Robert will work with the goaltenders for each elite team. Learning the basic techniques and positioning from a former NHL goalie will create a strong foundation for each of the young goalies. The young athletes will have the opportunity to learn the game at the quickest rate and ultimately prepare them for the upcoming season and for years to come