Many of you know I am very "Do it yourself-er" when it comes to hockey training and training gear. I think most items can be made, retro-fitted or the activities be replicated with a little elbow grease. Yet, there are some great tools that would make terrific gifts for the Youth Hockey Player in your life...
1) Weighted pucks- These items are very difficult to be retro-fitted as the vulcanized rubber of a standard puck loses its shape when altered. Weighted pucks are great for stickhandling practice to speed up your hands and shooting practice to strengthen your shot.
2) Don Cherry Videos- As a kid I used to love to watch Don Cherry video's, back when these were in VHS format, and try to copy the stickhandling and scoring moves of the players featured. Don Cherry has made a video a year, every year for the last 20 or so, so there are plenty of options to choose from. Each video includes a years worth of highlights, playoff features, and commentary.
3) Exercise Ball- These are a great way for youth players to first have an experience with strength training, and the difficult manuevers can be valuable for experienced players as well. Use the ball to strengthen your core, lower/ upper body, and balance training. Hundreds of exercises can be performed.
4) Street Hockey Net- These are necessary for any young player. Can be used for a backyard shooting station, street hockey games, or on a backyard or pond hockey rink. I've always preferred metal over PVC nets, as the PVC will break easily if used in the winter months.
5) Ken Dryden's "The Game"- A must read for any hockey fan. Dryden is a Cornell- grad and Hockey hall of famer, who detailed in this classic book the inner workings of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty.