Today my interview is with Alex Whelan. A great hockey player I had the pleasure of training this spring until he just recently left for Quinnipiac University where he will be playing for one of the premier hockey programs in the country. Alex is a graduate of Ramsey High school and was The Record Hockey Player of the Year in Bergen County in 2015.
Nunzio: Hey Alex how are you doing today. Thanks for being with us. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Alex: Thanks for having me Nunz. Sure. I went to Ramsey High School, where I played hockey for four years. I have also played for the New Jersey Hitmen since I was eight years old all the way up to 18 playing with Juniors. Now I am off playing Division I hockey at Quinnipiac University this coming year.
Nunzio: Awesome. As you know, we have a couple of your buddies here from the NJ Hitmen, Tyler Harmon and Anthony Firriolo. It was great to watch you guys workout together this past spring. We are all missing you right now.
Let’s talk a little about ice hockey at the Division I college-level. I know you are at Quinnipiac and Brijesh Patel who is an amazing strength and conditioning coach (world renowned actually) is your S&C coach. How has training here prepared you for training with Division I hockey with such a great strength coach, how does it compare?
Alex: Well, actually when I got there I felt very prepared because a lot of the stuff that they do there we were actually doing here at RPP. I was totally ready to just jump right in from day 1 and work out with the team. Coach B has been commenting on some of the stuff that I do saying that it’s great that I already know how to do it. I can tell you that it’s 100% related to the training I did here.
Nunzio: That’s great Alex. That makes me feel great.
Next question. I know that last off-season you cut back on skating to allow more time for developing your body at the gym. How did that experience work out for you? Do you feel that had a positive effect on your game?
Alex: Well, that helped me a lot. It helped me get stronger and bigger and it actually gave me much quicker feet. When you take time off skating it helps you become a better athlete. That’s what a lot of the coaches want to see, they want you to be a better all-around athlete rather than just a hockey player.
Nunzio: Yeah, I had heard a story that a lot of the hockey parents couldn’t believe that you weren’t actually skating. Someone told me “wow… he’s hardly skating at all” and then you came in and you crushed it. I think you just came back that much stronger and you could put more force into the ice.
Finally, what advice do you have for young hockey players to help them get to the next level.
Alex: Well, I would say work hard and take time to get into the gym to get stronger and quicker during the off-season.
Nunzio: It’s key to find a good gym, not just any big box gym, right?
Alex: Yeah, I suggest you go to a place that understands hockey players like RPP. I wish I had known about a place like this when I was younger. That’s where I would have loved to go.
Nunzio: We as coaches always say that if we had had this type of training when we were younger it would have been a whole different story. We’re all looking forward to having you back here during your breaks. Make sure you come in and get a workout in. Thanks so much Alex for your time and best of luck this coming season.
Alex: I definitely will Nunz. Thank you.
By Nunzio Signore (BA, NASM, CPT, PES, FMS)