The NHL (National Hockey League) Combine is the final showcase event before the NHL draft and it's a week full of interviews, medicals and fitness testing where the athletes get to interact with NHL personnel and all 32 NHL clubs who are looking to learn as much as possible about the future stars of the game.
Every athlete undergoes rigorous fitness testing to determine the best of the best, and Wattbike has been a long-standing partner of the performance testing process. This event, conducted by a nationally accredited high-performance athlete testing laboratory, serves as a fantastic opportunity for coaches to establish baselines for incoming and prospective players.
The Wattbikes are being used to test each players’ aerobic capacity (VO2 Max) and anaerobic capacity (Wingate / 30 second sprint). The results of each test provide valuable insight into the athlete’s ability to endure at both moderate and high intensities, and to continually produce peak power, respectively.
In the VO2 Max (Max Ramp) Test, the athlete pedals at the pre-determined power target for each one-minute stage – beginning at 50 Watts and increasing by 30 Watts each minute. The testing administrators manipulate the bike’s air and magnetic resistance manually to ensure that the athlete maintains a consistent cadence of 80 rpm throughout.
For the Wingate (30 Second Sprint) Test, the athlete uses one constant resistance level for the full duration. This resistance level is determined by the player’s body mass, with heavier players using a heavier resistance.
Due to the ability of the bikes to measure power in real-time, and provide instantaneous, adjustable resistance, the Wattbike are the perfect testing partner to provide accurate, reliable and reproducible data.
The results from this year’s NHL Combine, which ran from May 30 – 4 June in Buffalo, are analysed alongside a full suite of testing which includes weight lifting, plyometrics, balance, agility and functional movement screening alongside measurements such as height, weight and wingspan.
Listen to the third episode of Ride to Win with Nic Gill, All Blacks S&C Coach, where we talk about off-feet conditioning and how it allows athletes to reduce load whilst still working at high intensities.