Secondly, I'd like to say to quit laughing the title of this entry. I'm about ready to prove why and how it is so.
Michigan Tech's hockey program recently made a huge purchase in hopes of helping and improving our hockey Huskies' endurance. We are now the proud owners of a skating treadmill!
This is huge, folks. Absolutely huge. It has to be the coolest thing to hit Michigan Tech since I started being a student here three years ago.
First, I'd like to express my appreciation towards Coach Russell, Strength and Conditioning Coach Kyle Bangen, and MTU sophomore winger Derby Kitti, who were all very helpful and cooperative with my visit earlier this week.
Now, for the fun part... the pictures!
As you can see, the room is currently not the most decorative, but the installation of the skating treadmill at the Hockey Education Center is BRAND-spanking new, so they have quite a bit of work left on the room. Coming soon will be rubber floors, Husky logos, etc.
As far as maintenance of the treadmill goes, the white moving pieces that simulate ice must be replaced about once every two years, and obviously more under very heavy usage. Because this treadmill is exclusively for our Hockey Huskies, once every two years should suffice.
The skating treadmill is really quite impressive. It goes as fast as 16 miles per hour and it can go to a grade as steep as 35 degrees! It's especially exciting that we are one of only FOUR Division I Hockey schools that owns our own skating treadmill. We join the likes of Ohio State, Minnesota, and Cornell. Also, North Dakota has access to a skating treadmill, but it isn't theirs and it's located offsite. HAH! Take THAT, UND!
When I got to the treadmill room, Derby was all suited up and ready to start skating. Here are a couple of pictures of him in action on the treadmill, with assistance from Kyle.
The bar directly in front of Derby is used when the treadmill is being stopped so he can grab ahold of it and glide. Also, there is the flat surface in front of the moving parts. That area is for puck handling. Since the treadmill is so new, the guys are currently getting used to it, but later on, they will certainly be doing more with it, such as the puck handling.
Behind the moving "ice" are hooks. These are to hook up bungees that bring tension to the legs. That feature will also be used more in the future... along with the 35 degree grade. Just IMAGINE skating up something so steep!
Currently, the guys who are in Houghton are working on it two times per week. The sessions last from 40 minutes to an hour. Later on in the summer, around July or August, they will be working on it three times per week.
Not only did the Tech Hockey Blog staff get some good pictures, but videos were taken of the treadmill in action. Click here (~6 MB) to watch Derby in action on the skating treadmill. It's quite a site to behold. Looks like a fairly smoothe skate. The treadmill itself doesn't seem that loud either.
When I asked Kyle what he hopes one major outcome will be to having the treadmill, he mentioned the third period. That's definitely one area where our hockey Huskies could improve in, as we have lost many close games.
Coach Russell is also very excited to have the new addition to the Husky Hockey program. He comments,
The treadmill, under Kyle's guidance, gives us a tremendous tool to train specifically for hockey. Both in season and during the off season the treadmill will improve our team's acceleration and endurance. Now, more than ever, skating will play a huge role in our team's success. Being only one of four NCAA programs to have a treadmill, it will be yet another attractive reason to choose Michigan Tech. Players can train here year round to develop their skills to get to the next level.I'd just like to mention again how UND doesn't have their own skating treadmill, but MTU does. Therefore, MTU is better than UND now. Sorry Sioux. We'll see you on 15 and 16 December 2006 at the Ralph.