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Like most sports, ice hockey utilizes an impressive combination of speed, strength, and power. With a heavy focus on the lower body, players use hip, knee, and ankle musculature to propel themselves across the ice. Little research has been done on the strength outputs of these muscles in hockey players, especially as they differ between competition levels. Purpose: The goal of this study was to compare the strength differences between hockey players at the NCAA Division I (D1) and club levels. We hypothesized that D1 hockey players would have stronger ankles and knees than their club hockey counterparts due to the rigorous nature of the D1 program. Methods: Eighteen D1 hockey players and 14 club hockey players were tested using an isokinetic dynamometer. Following the collection of demographic data and a standardized warm-up, players performed tests of ankle inversion and eversion at speeds of 30°/sec and 60°/sec. This was followed by testing knee flexion and extension strength at speeds of 60°/sec and 180°/sec. Each test consisted of five warm-up repetitions followed by a 45-second break. Athletes then completed 5 repetitions at maximum effort for both limbs. Values were compared using independent samples t-tests with an alpha level of 0.05, 2-sided set as the significance level a priori. Results: The D1 players demonstrated significantly greater non- dominant ankle eversion strength at 30°/sec (p = 0.047) and 60 °/sec (p = 0.043). Club hockey players had significantly higher non-dominant inversion strength of the ankle at 60 °/sec (p = 0.012). Club players also had significantly higher non-dominant knee extension strength at 60 °/sec (p = 0.040) and significantly higher dominant knee extension strength at 60 °/sec (p = 0.024). Conclusion: While it was hypothesized that D1 hockey players would have overall higher ankle and knee strength outputs, club hockey had significantly stronger non-dominant ankle inversion strength, as well as significantly higher knee extension strength of both their dominant and non-dominant limb. This could be due to a varying level of skill within the club program, which in turn could warrant a more uniform approach to skill strengthening. Other variables such as time tested could have had an effect, as D1 players were testing in-season while club players were tested following their season.
Research and Creative Experience for Undergraduates (RCEU)
College of Education
Ice hockey, isokinetic strength testing, isokinetic dynamometer, ankle inversion, ankle eversion, knee flexion, knee extension, collegiate sports, human performance testing
Riopelle, McKenna, "Assessment of Lower Extremity Strength Values in Male Collegiate Ice Hockey Players" (2023). Summer Community of Scholars Posters (RCEU and HCR Combined Programs). 433.