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Finnish men’s national ice hockey team

Polar Team Pro provides real-time individual player performance data to Finnish men’s national ice hockey team

The game of ice hockey has gone forward in giant leaps in the past couple of years. The game’s faster, players are bigger and stronger. This means that the physical load has increased to whole new levels. In the modern day there are a host of metrics available to help analyze a player’s health, fitness, sleeping and eating habits and more. For the next generation of hockey players, it’s going to be all about the data.

General Manager Jere Lehtinen says: "Ice hockey is a team game, but basically it’s a lot of individuals and we have to take that into account even in the national team context. You have to put in a lot of effort and take care of yourself. You need to pay attention to sleeping and eating habits and working out habits. It’s a 24 hour thing, so you have to make sure you know what you're doing."

The Finnish men’s national ice hockey team embraces Polar wearable player tracking technology to stay ahead of their competition in individual player and entire team performance development. The ice hockey season for a national team player is incredibly grueling. Players have to cope with a schedule of 3-4 games per week for their home franchise and have to fit in time for training and practicing along with traveling and national team duty.

The Polar Team Pro system allows the coaching staff to access objective data on the physical toll the athletes take in practice and games. The Finnish men’s national ice hockey team coaching staff focuses on coaching each player as an individual and tracking real-time heart rate during practice and games to optimize training for each player according to their role in the team.

Strength & Conditioning Coach Hero Mali explains: "We’re dividing the guys in the three categories – goalies, defenders and offense. We track their heart rate when they come to the bench. So for instance the defenders, they sit roughly two minutes before going back to the ice and we track how low their heart rate goes. Then for the offense it’s roughly three minutes."

Mali continues: "This allows us to accurately manipulate volume and intensity to make sure our players have the time to recover before the next training session or game."

The role of individual training data is vital in the national team context. As individuals, the players need to find the perfect balance between training and recovery.

Mali says: "In the national team there are guys coming from different backgrounds, from the NHL and different leagues."

Wearable technology allows coaches and athletes to monitor training in real-time and get instant feedback. All of that data, however, has to have a meaning. When you can see really tangible things like heart rate and workload it helps make training as good as possible and allow players to hone specific areas of their game, or recover quicker.

Goaltender Eero Kilpeläinen adds: "I like to follow how the practice has been, how tough the training is, how I recover and it’s important for me to see exactly cold hard facts about the training. I can use the data to schedule my next day and see if I have to do more or do less or do more of recovery work."

"In an era of over-abundant analytical information, the Polar Team Pro allows me to get the information I need simply and in real time. It also helps us to manage individual players' training load and follow their recovery patterns to make sure we get them all prepared and they perform at their peak in the tournament.", Mali concludes.

Teams such as Finnish men’s national ice hockey team, New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks use Polar Team Pro. Want to join them and optimize your team's performance? Learn more.

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