All together now Raiders training under one roof, News (Ajax Pickering AAA Hockey Inc.)

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All together now Raiders training under one roof
Submitted By Glen Ernst on Thursday, October 11, 2018
It’s no secret in today’s day and age, hockey players looking to reach the next level need to develop more than just their skill on the ice. What often separates the best from the rest these days is the work done off the ice as well, be it through mental or physical preparation.


For the latter, the Ajax/Pickering Raiders AAA system is trying something new for the 2018-19 Ontario Minor Hockey Association season: sending all nine of its teams to the Complete Health and Performance Centre (CPC) in Ajax to work out in a similar and structured way.

Glenn Ernst, a longtime former coach with the Raiders and now vice-president of development on the executive, says players and teams have long been working on strength and conditioning, but he’s happy now to have them all under the same roof.

 

“This is the first year, as an organization, that we have had all of our teams at one place in a co-ordinated fashion,” explained Ernst, who expects the arrangement to be in place for some time. “You have measured progress from year to year to year as the boys grow older and bigger and stronger.”

Richard Karikari, owner of the CPC, has worked with many individual players throughout the years, including Tim Ernst, Glenn’s son, and his former Raiders teammate Drake Caggiula, now in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers. He is taking a hands-on approach to working with the Raiders teams, which train either Monday or Tuesday evenings each week.

“All the fundamental training we’re doing is basically the same for all the kids. The only difference is we change the weight and some of the core exercises,” he explained. “It’s monkey see, monkey do. You see a person doing it and you think you can do it, then you’ll end up doing it.”

Since opening in 2009, the CPC has continually grown and is now housed in a 52,000-square foot facility on Orchard Road, offering fitness, rehabilitation, performance training and sports to people of all ages and abilities.

Karikari agrees that many factors go into the making of a successful athlete, including keeping the body in peak condition.

“It’s crucial right now,” he said. “I don’t say it’s the main factor of kids progressing to the next level, but your body is what tools you to being successful, so you’ve got to keep it tuned up.”

 

Ernst coached the highly successful 1994 age group that has seen Caggiula and Devin Shore become NHL regulars, Shore with the Dallas Stars, and Dan Renouf knock on the door, now with the Carolina Hurricanes organization.

He stopped coaching another age group, the 2004s, to join the executive last year, where he hopes to continue to help players reach their potential.

“I’m enjoying looking at opportunities and ways to improve our program … to improve and develop our boys in the area,” he said. “That’s the objective and that’s what keeps me interested.”

Brian McNair

by Brian McNair

Brian McNair is sports editor Metroland Media Group Durham Region. He has covered sports in Durham Region for 20 years.


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