Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Health and Human Performance

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Stephen E. Gaskill


University of Montana


Training for competitive sports has become an intense and strenuous year-round mission. Because of the unrelenting nature of competitive sports’ training season, the threat of adverse changes in physiologic and anthropometric factors exists. Seasonal morphologic and physiologic changes are present in numerous elite sports studies but few have detailed changes in elite hockey players. The development and maintenance of whole- body power, speed, and strength, over the course of a season, is essential for successful competition at the junior hockey level. PURPOSE: To explore and identify the changes in body mass, fat mass, fat-free mass, thigh circumferences, lower and upper body maximum strength, lower body power, off-ice speed and acceleration, and on-ice speed for junior A ice hockey players at four time points over the course of their season. A secondary purpose is to investigate possible relationships between these factors and changes in training load and game performance throughout the season.

METHODOLOGY: 11 male subjects completed four testing sessions (Baseline, Tl, T2, T3). Underwater weighing was used to calculate body composition. Lower and upper body maximum strength, lower body power, off-ice speed and acceleration, and on-ice speed were measured usingl-RM squat and bench press, vertical jump, 3.7m and 25.3m sprint, and an on-ice ‘M’ test, respectively. RESULTS: Significant changes (p < 0.05) in mean values between baseline measures and subsequent testing periods are indicated in thigh girth, percent body fat, fat mass, vertical jump, 3.7m acceleration, 1-RM squat, 1- RM bench press, and on-ice speed. Other significant changes were also present between mid- (Tl, T2) and post-season (T3) testing periods for thigh girth, 1-RM squat, 3.7m acceleration, 25.3m sprint speed, and on-ice speed. CONCLUSION: This data suggests that significant physiological and morphological changes occur throughout a competitive junior A ice hockey season. Even though few peak physiologic values were maintained at the end of the season, training load was sufficient to maintain the subject’s baseline levels. End-season training taper appears optimal for increasing game performance. Adversely, taper cannot maintain peak physiologic variables which may decrease performance later in post-season play.



© Copyright 2009 Kathleen Frank