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Prospects Hit the Beach, Get Healthy

Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 6:27 PM / News
By Glenn Odebralski  -
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Prospects Hit the Beach, Get Healthy
Development Camp: Day At The Beach Photos
While the Panthers prospects weren't on the ice Wednesday, they did get a solid workout in.

That training session came as they hit Deerfield Beach for a round of stretching and drills, conditioning run and then some fun as they split up into groups of five and six to battle it out in beach volleyball and beach football.

"It's a nice change of pace for the guys," said Panthers strength and conditioning coach Dr. Craig Slaunwhite. "They're still working very hard but it's nice for them to be in a different environment and get out of the rink for a day."

The idea to train at the beach partly came from Slaunwhite and partly from Director of Player Personnel Brian Skrudland. The former Panthers captain lived in Deerfield Beach back when he played for the team and it was a great opportunity to get the young players out into the south Florida sun.

"I think this was a recipe for success for our hockey club back in the '90s," said Skrudland who along with teammates visited the beaches when they were playing but not in a team building setting. "It's sort of a laid back beach that gives us an opportunity to take advantage of getting to know one another and build relationships. This is a memory that these guys will have in their minds. We have a lot of guys that have touched the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in their lives so it's a pretty cool thing."

For a lot of the players, it was the first time they trained using a beach setting that they went through Wednesday morning.

"It was a lot of fun. It was definitely a change. Doing team bonding stuff like this definitely brings us closer together," said defenseman Colby Robak who is entering his second year as a pro. "It was a nice day. We got to do things that most of us from Canada haven't done before.

"It's totally different (the beach training). It definitely works different parts of your body. Slauner took us for a run and all of us were saying our shins and calves are killing us. It was definitely a lot of fun and something to try."

"Not for training. I've done it for fun," said forward Quinton Howden, the Panthers first round pick (25th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft. "It was lot's of fun. It was a nice jog at the beginning. The games were pretty intense."

While the morning may have seemed like it was just for a time for fun, ending with free time and some swimming in the ocean, there was a pretty specific reason for the training.

"Normally we're in the rink in a cold environment. This is a little bit different for them," said Slaunwhite. "It's actually a little bit harder to exercise here with the sun coming down on them.

"The sand is also a different surface so it helps them work on appropriate perception a bit and makes them work a little bit harder."

Development Camp: Whole Foods Visit Photos
After a lunch at the Whales Rib in Deerfield Beach, the prospects bussed back to the Iceplex. There, the team split into two groups. One group stayed to learn how to cook with the help of chef Nikki Pettineo while the other group made their way to Whole Foods Markets in Coral Springs for a quick lesson on what to look for when shopping. The two groups then switched to take in the other experience.

"When we were developing the program for the development camp, we identified (cooking and shopping) as an area that the guys need to work on," said Slaunwhite. "A lot of guys will be living on their own for the first time this year. Not having mom or dad around to cook for them or their billets around to cook for them and shop for them so we thought this was important to teach them the skills that they need to enable them to make the best possible foods."

With Whole Foods' Health Starts Here program, the prospects learned about the four pillars of healthy eating from the store's Healthy Eating Specialist Diane Tyrrell. Those pillars were made up of whole food (eat whole, unprocessed foods), plant-strong (eat a colorful variety of plants), healthy fats (eat healthy fats) and nutrient dense (eat nutrient dense foods).

"I just want them to feel comfortable in the grocery stores and knowledgeable as well," said Slaunwhite. "There's a lot of little hints that we gave them along the way in shopping around the perimeter and trying to maximize the fruit and vegetables they get. As long as they pick up on a couple of those things, I think they're a step ahead of where they were before and a lot of other guys in the same position."

The Panthers are back on the ice Thursday morning with the first session (two groups) starting at 9am.

(Video features from both events will be featured next week on




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