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Jason D. Vescovi, Teena M. Murray and Jaci L. VanHeest

Purpose:

The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether positional profiling is possible for elite ice hockey players by examining anthropometric characteristics and physiological performance. In addition, performance ranges and percentiles were determined for each position (forwards, defensemen, and goalkeepers) on all dependent variables.

Methods:

A retrospective, cross-sectional study design was used with performance data from ice hockey players (mean age = 18.0 ± 0.6 years) attending the 2001 (n = 74), 2002 (n = 84), and 2003 (n = 92) Combines. Four anthropometric characteristics and 12 performance tests were the dependent variables. A 3 × 3 (position × year) 2-way ANOVA was used to determine whether any significant interactions were present. No significant interactions were observed, so the data were collapsed over the 3-year period and positional characteristics were analyzed using a 1-way ANOVA.

Results:

Defenders were heavier and/or taller compared with the other 2 positions (P ≤ .01), whereas goalkeepers showed greater body-fat percentage compared with that of forwards (P = .001). It was found that goalkeepers had significantly lower strength measures for the upper body (P ≤ .043) and lower anaerobic capacity (P ≤ .039) values compared with at least one other position, but they had greater flexibility (P ≤ .013). No positional differences were observed for the broad jump, vertical jump, aerobic power, or curl-ups.

Conclusion:

The current findings provide evidence supporting the use of anthropometric measurements, upper body strength, and anaerobic capacity to effectively distinguish among positions for elite-level ice hockey players.

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Jason D. Vescovi, Teena M. Murray, Kelly A. Fiala and Jaci L. VanHeest

Purpose:

The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether tests performed at the National Hockey League (NHL) Combine could distinguish draft status (ie, the round selected). A secondary aim was to provide performance ranges and percentiles for each of the dependent variables.

Methods:

A retrospective, cross-sectional study design was used with performance data and draft order from 2001, 2002, and 2003 Combine participants. Draft round was divided into 5 classifications (rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 through 9), and performances on 12 physical tests served as dependent variables. Three multiple analyses of covariance (MANCOVAs) were used to determine the significance of performance scores at the NHL Combine on draft selection. Age (years), body mass (kg), height (cm), and percentage body fat were treated as covariates.

Results:

Overall, MANCOVA results indicated no significant effect of performance on draft selection for 2001, 2002, or 2003. Subsequent univariate tests revealed that no single dependent variable was able to distinguish between draft rounds for any of the 3 years sampled.

Conclusions:

Using draft status as an indicator of ice hockey performance, it appears that off-ice tests cannot accurately predict ice hockey playing ability in an elite group of athletes. This might stem from homogeneity of the Combine participants, a lack of validity of the tests, or other factors (eg, on-ice hockey skills, psychological variables, etc) that play a role in draft selection.