Wildcats hire ex-pro Reichert to oversee private training
The Wildcats Hockey Club has always put a heavy emphasis on player development and now, the program is adding to that focus by beefing up its private training offerings.
The program recently hired former professional player Craig Reichert as its director of skill development and training facilities. Reichert started with the Wildcats in September and is charged with leading the program’s efforts to provide comprehensive opportunities for players to develop their skills and grow as hockey players.
Reichert is originally from Calgary, Alberta, and played nine seasons of professional hockey, including time with the NHL’s Anaheim Mighty Ducks during the 1996-97 season after being selected in the third round of the 1994 NHL Draft. Since retiring in 2003, he has been involved in hockey for many years, including scouting in the WHL and coaching individual skill development. He has been certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) as a personal fitness trainer for eight years.
When the opportunity presented itself to work for the Wildcats in player development, Reichert jumped at the chance.
“The fact that I was able to work for a first-class youth hockey organization and combine my passion for hockey and fitness was very exciting for me,” Reichert said.
Reichert works at both of the Wildcats’ rinks, in Riverside and Carlsbad. He offers private training himself while also overseeing a staff of coaches that trains Wildcats players.
“We thought it was important to have someone completely focused on, dedicated to, and obsessed with individual skill development,” Wildcats president Ben Frank said. “We were looking for someone specifically that could work with all of our coaches and athletes for our private training program, which is open to players from any association/affiliation, to further fulfill our mission of helping athletes follow their passion and achieve their dreams.
“We knew we needed someone whose sole focus would be on developing and delivering the best programs and facilities possible to help serious players take their games to the next level and achieve their goals – whether it’s in the weight room, on the ice, on the skating treadmill or with shooting and stickhandling. Our goal is to deliver whatever a player needs most, so that we can take them as far as their commitment level will allow.”
The Wildcats’ private training program is based on sports science and principles developed by USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM). Players are offered on-ice small group lessons, power skating lessons, treadmill training (pictured above), shooting and stickhandling training, goalie lessons, strength and conditioning training and more.
Players and their parents are offered a free consultation before they commit to private training. They discuss the players’ strengths and weaknesses, their goals and their long-term vision of their hockey careers. Reichert then develops a personalized program for each player that includes everything they need to improve their game.
“Private training offers an opportunity for kids to spend time with a coach in a more personal setting in which they can really focus on their skill development,” Reichert said. “They might not be able to do that necessarily in a team practice or a game. We’ve tried to take a really personal approach to our training.”
Frank thinks he has the best possible person in place to lead the Wildcats’ renewed focus on private training.
“What I love about Craig is, not only has he competed at the highest level of hockey himself, but he also has a sports science background and certification,” Frank said. “He is an expert on every aspect of player development, from the skating treadmill – which he trained on as a pro player – to off-ice conditioning.
“He is also extremely passionate about what he does. He loves hockey and working with young athletes to help them achieve their potential and go on their journey with them. He is a true professional and a great communicator.”
— Greg Ball