• hockey for all centre - Manitoba's Community Hockey Complex
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Strength Protocols: Bigger, Faster, Stronger

Bigger, faster, stronger. These three words are often at the centre of training goals when it comes to athletics.

Something that we continually emphasize at Focus Fitness is the concept of strength as the foundation on which other athletic attributes such as power and speed are built. There are many different aspects to strength when we assess athletes. There is relative strength, maximal strength, bilateral strength, unilateral strength and other terms we can use to categorize it. While they are all important in their own right, here we will focus on bilateral and maximal strength and one of the protocols we use to build these types of strength.

Maximal strength is about moving as much weight as we can for a desired rep range both safely and effectively. Bilateral refers to both sides working together. In training, this usually involves both arms or legs moving at the same time, working together to move the weight. This is usually done using bars or machines that allow both sides to work together in moving the load. This can be beneficial for maximal strength training as it allows a heavier exercise load.

There are many different options for bilateral exercises that can be effective for developing strength. Two that we commonly program with our athletes is the barbell bench press and the trap bar deadlift. The barbell bench press is a good indicator of maximal upper body strength, and the trap bar deadlift does the same for lower body strength.

So now that we know bilateral and maximal strength are important and we have two great exercises picked out, what protocol do we use in the gym to utilize these movements and develop strength? In other words, how many sets and reps are used to be effective?

The good news is, when you’re first starting out, almost any set/rep protocol done consistently will increase your strength. As you improve, you will need to make adjustments to some of your training variables to keep making progress. A smart, safe and effective protocol that we have used over the years is the 5-3-1 protocol.

The 5-3-1 protocol was developed by a strength coach named Jim Wendler and has become a staple in many programs from athletes to power lifters. It is a percentage-based program that works off basic movements and the idea that you can make substantial strength gains with sub-maximal loading if the effort is right. Each week the athlete uses percentages of their training max (three-rep max) for the indicated reps. The percentages take the guess work out of the weight selection and the loads are based off a training max as opposed to a one-rep max, making it a great program choice for novice and intermediate lifters and for in-season training. With the loads being sub-maximal, there’s also less chance of injury. There are plenty of variations or additions to the base program which can include heavier singles for maximal strength and higher volume sets for hypertrophy, which both work well for the off-season.

To find more information on the 5-3-1 protocol go to www.jimwendler.com.

This article was originally published in Game On – Manitoba’s hockey community magazine. 

True North partners with Scotiabank to rename four-rink multiplex ‘hockey for all centre’ Scotiabank enhances commitment to diversity and inclusion in the game with focused programming for new Canadians

True North Sports + Entertainment and Scotiabank are proud to announce a new partnership that will see True North’s four-rink multiplex located just outside Winnipeg’s west Perimeter Highway renamed to hockey for all centre, effective today – Nov. 14, 2022. Scotiabank launched the hockey for all platform in 2021 as a multi-year commitment to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion in the game by breaking down cultural and financial barriers. hockey for all centre will be an inclusive and accessible facility, with programs for underserved communities, including free Learn to Play programs, subsidized equipment opportunities, and signage updates throughout the venue.

Download images: https://winnipegjets.sharefile.com/d-s1bc442a7d512445182103a8b373ef2b0

Since opening in August 2010, True North’s multiplex facility has been Manitoba’s community hockey home – a cornerstone of ice sports in Winnipeg that supports all levels of youth hockey programming. The facility provides over 11,000 hours of ice time annually for a variety of programs, community play, teams, leagues, and tournaments that allow all members of the community to participate in the sport. All youth involved in minor hockey at any level visit hockey for all centre at least once each hockey season, adding to the more than 500,000 players and spectators that enter the facility each year.

Programs include Jets Hockey Development – which seeks to provide professional hockey development for players of all ages and skill levels, from beginner to NHL and Olympic athletes, along with ringette programming, and the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) – a True North Youth Foundation play-based program that uses hockey to help underserved youth learn the values of team play and excel in school.

In partnership with Jets Hockey Development, Scotiabank will provide funding for a new Learn to Play program dedicated to introducing young new Canadians to the game, and to increasing diversity in the sport. More than 100 children will be able to take part in this free programming each year, with three multi-week sessions held throughout the year. hockey for all centre will work with local newcomer and cultural organizations to promote and facilitate participation. All participants will receive equipment courtesy of Scotiabank that they will be able to keep, encouraging their continued participation in the game.

“Sport is a powerful tool that not only brings the community together, but creates community,” said Dwayne Green, Executive Director of the True North Youth Foundation. “Every day through our Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy, we see the positive impacts of hockey on youth, and especially how hockey can build that sense of belonging that is so important for new Canadian families to feel at home in their new country.”

hockey for all centre will continue to be the site of Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest events in Winnipeg. Girls HockeyFest is a free event for girls aged 7-16 that aims to advance the game for young athletes with both on-ice and off-ice comprehensive training sessions. Since 2006, Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest has helped elevate the game of more than 16,000 young female athletes across Canada.

“When we launched hockey for all in 2021, we made a commitment to making impactful change and eliminate barriers to make Canada’s game more inclusive,” said Laura Curtis Ferrera, Chief Marketing Officer, Scotiabank. “hockey for all centre is an important step forward in this commitment, as an accessible and inclusive place for the community to enjoy. We are very proud to partner with True North Sports + Entertainment to make this facility and its programming possible.”


Along with being the official practice facility of the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose, several Junior, Minor, Senior and high school hockey teams including the Winnipeg Freeze, Balmoral Hall Blazers, St. Paul’s Crusaders, St. Mary’s Academy Flames, and more call the facility home. hockey for all centre is the home of the Manitoba Women’s Junior Hockey League – the only junior hockey program for females in Manitoba – and, as one of the only fully accessible sledge hockey arenas in the province, it’s also the home of Sledge Hockey Manitoba. The Winnipeg Jets Challenge Cup – a premier tournament hosted at hockey for all centre for the past 12 years – will introduce a sledge hockey exhibition game during its 2022 tournament to bring more awareness to the sport. The 17 Wing Military Hockey League plays out of hockey for all centre, and it is also a premier facility of the Winnipeg Rec Hockey League.

As the prime destination for hockey enthusiasts, many tournaments for all ages and skill levels are hosted at hockey for all centre each year, including the Winnipeg Jets AAA Classic, Winnipeg Jets AA Showdown, Winnipeg Jets Challenge Cup, All Girls Spring Classic, Female World Sports School Challenge, and the Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Centre (MICEC) Annual Indigenous Minor Hockey Tournament – Manitoba’s largest First Nation tournament, and many more.

With a focus on growing the game among females, the facility has been a partner in the Winnipeg Jets Gender Equality Month initiatives, hosting free presentations and skills sessions to expose more young girls to the game. In 2022, the facility hosted its first-ever all-female goalie camp with head instructor 2022 Olympic Gold Medalist Kristen Campbell.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Scotiabank, an organization that shares our passion for the game and puts significant effort into ensuring hockey is welcoming for everyone,” said hockey for all centre General Manager David Sattler. “We’re equally proud to wear our heart on our sleeve with a facility name that reflects our values and showcases a shared commitment to diversity and access to Canada’s favourite sport. hockey for all centre has been, and will continue to be, just that: a place where everyone can enjoy the competition, exercise, and community that hockey brings.”


As programming continues to grow and diversify, hockey for all centre also looks forward to welcoming participants and spectators from around the world as the host venue for the sport of hockey for the 2023 World Police and Firefighter Games – the second largest sporting event in the world, second only to the Summer Olympics.

Our True North: 2021-22 Report to the Community

Thank you to all our fans and the community for joining us in making the efforts and impacts of the past season possible. We were excited to reengage with our fans and our community in 2021-22, both on and off the ice, and return to many favourite initiatives and events that have been missed over the past two years. We invite you to reflect on some of the highlights with us, both as a reminder of what we were able to accomplish together over the past year, and as we look forward to the return of many of these initiatives, and another exciting and impactful season in 2022-23.

Click on the images that light up blue throughout the report to watch the video highlights.

One Leg at A Time

A good strength and conditioning program should increase strength, power, speed, mobility, stability, address deficiencies, and correct imbalances. While this appears to be a tall order, it becomes significantly easier to check all these boxes if we include an adequate amount of single leg training in our program. Single leg training addresses all of those needs, and should be a foundational piece of your training program. Here is an example of what it looks like in the first phase of an off-season training program for a hockey player here at Focus Fitness:

A1 Single Leg Balance with Stick Shift x 30 seconds/side
A2 Mini Band Shuffle x 15 reps/side
A3 Single Leg Altitude Landing x 3 reps/side

  • 30 seconds of rest between exercises
  • 60 seconds of rest between sets
  • complete 3 sets

B1 Single Leg Skater Squat x 6 reps/side
B2 Single Leg DB/KB RDL x 8 reps/side

  • 30 seconds of rest between exercises
  • 90 seconds of rest between sets
  • complete 3 sets

C1 Single Leg TRX Cross Under Squat x 6 reps/side
C2 Single Leg Hip Lift (shoulders elevated) x 10 reps/side

  • 30 seconds of rest between exercises
  • 90 seconds of rest between sets
  • complete 3 sets

D RFE Split Squat Iso Holds x 30 sec/side

  • 2 minutes of rest between sets
  • complete 3 sets

If these exercises or terminology are new to you, simply scan the QR code and you can watch a video on how to perform the exercises correctly. Remember to always include single leg work in your hockey strength training.

Until next time,

Strength, Courage, Hustle, Commitment

AJ Zeglen


This article was originally published in Game On – Manitoba’s hockey community magazine.

Iceplex 3v3 Grassroots program keeps the fun in development for U7 and U9 kids

Every hockey player starts their development somewhere. In Winnipeg, there’s no better place to start than with the Jets Hockey Development (JHD) 3v3 Grassroots Hockey program at hockey for all centre.

The program, which includes U7 and U9 categories and runs on Sunday afternoons from October to December, is the perfect place for girls and boys of all skill levels to improve their game in a fun-filled atmosphere.

That was the case for young hockey player Raeleigh. When she started in the program, she could barely skate. But the experienced coaches gave her everything she needed to improve – including some encouragement.

“Raeleigh went into this program unsure and even wanted to quit after the first practice, but the coach went over and assured her she would love it if she continued, and he did not fail to deliver,” said Jennifer Wityshyn, Raeleigh’s mother. “Raeleigh ended the program with such confidence in herself. We couldn’t have asked for more. She went from barely being able to skate with a hockey stick to being able to puck handle, and her skating skills greatly improved.”

That’s what the program is all about to Dean Court, Business/Amateur Hockey Development & Manager of Team Programs for JHD. It’s a place where any kid can be involved, no matter what their on-ice skills are, and it’s a place where all of them will get better.

“We’re not coaching these kids with the purpose of winning, we’re coaching with the purpose of developing,” said Court. “Our goal is to build players’ confidence and abilities so that they can have fun at whatever level they’re at.”

That’s all done through a focus on individual development and ensuring everyone gets plenty of reps in each drill. With a maximum of 24 kids on the ice for a session, each practice sees the ice divided into three sections – one section to work on skating, one section to work on skill development, and one for a game.

“You get everything in one session,” noted Court. “That’s key for kids at this age. They’re getting to work on their skills every week, but we also want them to have fun along the way, so we make sure they all get to try out their skills in a game atmosphere too. We even bring Mick E. Moose onto the ice occasionally for some added excitement.”

For Wityshyn, that element of fun was the difference maker for her daughter in growing her self-belief on skates.

“The instructors went above and beyond to make sure Raeleigh was comfortable and having fun. Watching her confidence grow was something we will never be able to thank the program enough for.”

As fun as it is for the kids to grow their game and become better hockey players, the coaches – including Court – have just as much fun guiding them.

“This program is the most fun coaching that I do,” said Court. “The kids have such a pure love of the game and show so much excitement in every small development step they make. It’s a joy to give them the tools to go where they want in hockey.”