We had an opportunity recently to speak to Pete Friesen, the Head Athletic Therapist and Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. Friesen has been with the Hurricanes for 11 years and is responsible for the institution of training and dietary standards, preparation of rehabilitation programs, and treatment of acute injuries for all Hurricanes players. He has also worked in the Canadian Olympic and International programs for the past 27 years.
During the interview we discussed the general health of the team, the injury to Justin Williams last season, and a few training methods employed by some of the players. We also talked about his race for charity coming up this weekend.
Friesen's 5K Run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Eastern Carolina is this Sunday, August 30. For more information about the run, just follow this link to the Hurricanes information page.
((UPDATE- This interview was completed before the report came out concerning Cam Ward missing the first day of Olympic orientation camp. I tried to contact Friesen for comment this morning, but was unable to reach him. I will try again later and leave an update here with any new information.))
CC: Several players revealed that they were playing through injuries at the end of last season. Are you aware of any player who might have a lingering injury to deal with this training camp? It was mentioned in one interview that Tuomo Ruutu had offseason shoulder surgery. Is that true and will he be 100% next month? Did any other player have noteworthy offseason surgery?
Friesen: No, I am not aware of any substantial injuries. At the end of the season, Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen both had the exact same surgery which is very common for hockey players. (Pete tried to explain this to me in laymen's terms). There is a bone at the end of the collarbone near the shoulder which we end up cutting right off. It's a minor surgery but some players have a lot of pain, especially while working out and the surgery relieves the pain. There is a very short recovery time. For instance Nic Wallin once had the surgery during the season and was back to playing in an NHL game just 12 days later. Both Ruutu and Jokinen should be at 100% for training camp.
CC: Most players are in full swing with their offseason workouts. What is a typical, or routine regiment for these workouts, or what workout do you recommend for them?
Friesen: First of all it is strongly suggested that they have at least 15 exposures to ice before camp. That means heavy skating in workout mode. A lot of the guys have already started this. They are also required to do body composition activities. Most do 70-80% weights at least twice per week. They can mix in some jumping or a variety of other similar movement workouts. Some do heavy lifting once per week. We try to keep the workouts more sport specific now.
CC: After Justin Williams was injured during an off ice workout last September, Jim Rutherford made a comment that he felt that players might be pushed too far in their training and he wanted the methods to be changed. Will the Hurricanes change their off ice workouts or training methods this fall? If so, in what way?
Friesen: I did a lot of research concerning Justin's injury and I strongly feel that it was unrelated to the exercise he was doing. I think that it was just a freak accident. Justin Williams has had two reconstructive knee surgeries and then that Achilles tendon tear. Some players are just snake-bitten in that they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But we have changed our workouts so that they no longer include any track work or heavy running. Nothing that would include a hard pounding of the legs and joints. The players will still need to be in top condition though and will be worked hard, but not on the track. (Players do have the freedom to run on their own if they choose and some like to run).
CC: Your fourth annual 5K run will take place this August 30th. With all the different things you could do for a charity, what gave you the idea to start a 5K run?
Friesen: Well, I have always loved to run. And to be honest, I always wanted to do a 5K race. After we won the Cup, I decided to mix my love of running with my day with the Cup in a way that we could share with fans and a 5K was the best way to do this. I chose the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as a charity because of Julia Rowe's condition and the whole thing was a no-brainer for me.
CC: In the past, several players have taken part. Have any players or celebrities confirmed their participation this year?
Friesen: A total of 15 players have confirmed that they will attend. But not only will the players be there, so will their wives and kids. This is a family function and everyone can participate. I'm not sure if all 15 will actually run in the 5K, but they have confirmed that they will be there. My good friend Mike Commodore is not sure if he can make it or not, but he is a possibility. Some members of the coaching staff will also be present.