It was October 2016 in East Meadow, N.Y. — home of the New York Islanders’ new practice facility. I was packing up equipment after the USA women’s national team had just finished another round of speed and power testing.
Along with some of the brightest minds in exercise physiology, I was tasked with helping to develop a program that would yield the fastest women’s hockey team in history. As Hilary Knight and company headed to the locker room, I headed to the Islanders locker room to meet with a former L.A. Kings first-round draft pick, Thomas Hickey. With just a handful of minutes to rack his brain, I wanted to know his thoughts on how the game of hockey has changed the past 10 years. Simply stated, he said, "You can skate like the wind all you want, but if you can’t get to that top speed within the first five strides, you don’t have a place in this league. The new NHL is about power."