The Anaheim Ducks have made Cal State Fullerton a fixture of their final tune-up process prior to the start of the NHL season for the fourth-consecutive season.
The Ducks visited campus Sept. 12 and 13 to complete a series of tests to see where their fitness levels currently stand. The tests are used to make possible adjustments to the athletes’ individual training regimens if need be, said Scott Lynn, Ph.D and kinesiology and biomechanics professor.
Lynn said he leads the fitness testing and is the one who analyzes the results before relaying the information to Mark Fitzgerald, the Anaheim Ducks’ strength and conditioning coach who is entering his fifth season as a part of the Ducks’ personnel.
“A strength coach working with professional athletes is about as high as you can get, but (Fitzgerald) wants to come here and learn from us. We have a lot of expertise here that people are wanting to learn from,” Lynn said.
With the NHL season spanning over seven months, the results of these tests allow the trainers to know what the physical needs are for each player, according to Lynn.
The first test completed upon arrival is body composition, where the kinesiology faculty evaluate the current condition of each athlete with a machine called a Bod Pod. This egg-shaped capsule, which costs about $30,000, measures the amount of body fat and lean tissue an athlete has, Lynn said.
According to Lynn, the procedures of the biomechanics lab, which monitors and records the amount of lower body power produced from a jumping test, measures a hockey player’s skating ability.
Then there is the Wingate power test, which records how fast a player can reach top speed and sustain that speed for 30 seconds, Lynn said.
Time constraints for this drill fall in the average time on ice per shift of 30 to 60 seconds, according to 2017-18 NHL player statistics.
Although these tests are not conducted on the ice, it doesn’t mean they are irrelevant to the success the players will have during the season, said Anaheim Ducks’ defenseman Josh Manson.
“It’s coming into this environment and hanging out where there is technology and all the resources that Cal State Fullerton has for us. It pushes us to perform the best we can for these tests,” Manson said.
This partnership with a professional sports team is not the first of its kind with CSUF.
Before working with the Ducks, Lynn and his colleagues provided the same service to the Los Angeles Kings (the Ducks’ rival) from 2012-14. The Kings went on to win two Stanley Cups during that time span.
While Lynn leads the tests, faculty members were also assigned to each station while their students assisted to make sure testing ran smoothly, Lynn said.
“It’s so amazing,” said Andrea Diaz, a kinesiology major who assisted with the tests. “We’ve been studying this in classes and we get to see high performing athletes in action, and it’s very hands-on in a sense where you’re learning about it and you finally see it.”
Tomas Ruvalcaba, a kinesiology graduate student who was also assisting with the tests, said he is grateful for professors of Lynn’s caliber.
“(Lynn) shows us the care to help us and in return, there is nothing you don’t want to do for him as well. The opportunity that he provides definitely helps us as people within our field and just our lives,” Ruvalcaba said.