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Pete Friesen is one of just three coaches in league to be both Head Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach

Pete Friesen kicks off the annual 5K
Pete Friesen kicks off the annual 5K
photo by Jamie Kellner

It is now August and most professional hockey players are in full swing regarding their training and conditioning for the coming season.

Pete Friesen has been the man in charge of such for the Carolina Hurricanes for the past 17 years.

Undoubtedly, Friesen has solid credentials.  If you check out his bio on CH.com, you will see that he has two BA degrees, a Masters, and a ton of experience.  But what is unusual is that Friesen wears both hats, as team trainer and as conditioning coach, where most teams in the league have hired two people for these important positions.

As a matter of fact, the only other teams in the league who have one coach serving both positions are the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers.  (The Panthers let go of former conditioning coach, Craig Slaunwhite, but might be replacing him.)

According to the Hurricanes website, Friesen has one assistant, Doug Bennett, who is listed as Assistant Athletic Trainer.  Again, some teams have an assistant trainer and an assistant conditioning coach, for a total of four people serving in this field.

The positions are similar in some aspects.  In simplistic terms, the strength and conditioning coach is responsible for getting his players in shape.  The trainer is responsible for tending to injuries and getting players healthy again so they can get back on the ice.

NHL teams vary on how they handle these positions.  Some teams have the strength and conditioning coach as part of the coaching staff and the trainer in a different area. (Pens) and (Caps).  Some list these positions all together, (Buffalo).  But most teams have more hands on deck than the Canes do.

Injuries are an important factor which will affect all hockey teams in some way during the season.  Obviously, they affect the Hurricanes as well and according to the team's owner, injuries were the primary reason why the club did not make it to the playoffs last season.

Since this is such an important factor to the team's success, is it possible they are a bit short-staffed in this area?  This in no way is a criticism of Pete Friesen, who is an extraordinary person.  But why do most teams have two people working these positions?

Is this another way that the Hurricanes have to bite the bullet because they are a "budget team"?

Below is a listing of athletic trainers and conditioning coaches, as well as their assistants, as complied from each team's website.

Team Head Strength & Asst. Asst.
Trainer Conditioning Trainer Strength &
Coach Conditioning
Carolina*** Pete Friesen Pete Friesen Doug Bennett
Anaheim Joe Huff Sean Skahan Mike Hannegan
Boston Don Delnegro John Whitesides Derek Repucci
Buffalo Tim Macre Doug McKenney Bob Mowry JT Allaire
Calgary Morris Boyer Rich Hesketh Shad Richea
Chicago Mike Gapski Paul Goodman Jeff Thomas
Colorado Matt Sokolowski Casey Bond Scott Woodward
Columbus Mike Vogt Kevin Collins Nates Goto Chris Strickland
Dallas Dave Zeis Brad Jellis Craig Lowry
Detroit Piet Van Zant Pete Renzetti Russ Bauman
Edmonton TD Forss Simon Bennett Chris Davie Chad Drummond
Florida Dave Zenobi (Craig Slaunwhite) Tommy Alva Steve Dischiavi
Los Angeles Chris Kingsley Ryan vanAsten Myles Hirayama
Minnesota Don Fuller Kirk Olson John Worley
Montreal Graham Rynbend Pierre Allard Nik Addy-Jibb
Nashville Andy Hosler David Good Jeff Biddle
New Jersey Richard Stinziano Michael Vasalani Brian Smith
Islanders Matt Bain Derrick Douglas Phil Watson
Rangers Jim Ramsay Reg Grant Danny Helbig
Ottawa Gerry Townend Chris Schwarz Dominic Nicoletta
Philadelphia*** Jim McCrossin Jim McCrossin Sal Raffa Ryan Podell
Phoenix Jason Serbus Tommy Powers Mike Ermatinger
Pittsburgh Chris Stewart Mike Kader Curtis Bell Patrick Steadle
San Jose Ray Tufts Mike Potenza Wes Howard
St. Louis Ray Barile Nelson Ayotte Chris Palmer
Tampa Bay Tom Mulligan Mark Lambert Mike Poirier
Toronto Paul Ayotte Anthony Belza Marty Dudgeon
Vancouver Mike Burnstein Roger Takahashi Jon Sanderson Dave Zarn
Washington Greg Smith Mark Nemish Ben Reisz
Winnipeg Rob Milette Lee Stubbs Brad Shaw