SEALs Help NHL Team Prep for Season


The 39 prospects attending the Buffalo Sabres' developmental camp probably expected to put in plenty of hard work this week.

Maybe not quite this much hard work, though.

The prospects found out late Sunday night that they'd be up before the sun Monday. The reason?

They were working out with a group of Navy SEALs.

"I YouTubed them the night before because I was a little bit worried ... and that just made me more worried," said forward Marcus Foligno.

After their pre-dawn wake-up call, the prospects made their beds -- "That's the first time I've ever done that in a while," Foligno said -- and then were taken to the beach for a 5 a.m. workout that included a swim in Lake Erie.

"It was a tough morning, but it's also good. It's a good opportunity to push yourself, and this is the type of stuff that brings teams together," forward Corey Tropp said. "I don't know if two weeks ago I'd tell you that I'd be jumping in the lake at 5 in the morning, but it was fun. It was a good time ... maybe good time is an overstatement. But it was a good bonding experience. It'll be good for all the guys. It will help us come together, and show some of the younger guys how hard you actually do have to work, and how hard it is."

The SEALs workouts will continue throughout the week. Aside from the obvious physical benefits, the training provided some mental exercises, as well.

"I don't know if it's as much (about being) a hockey player as it was a person," forward Luke Adam said. "They said, 'we're not training you from the neck down; we're training you from the neck up.' "

"It makes you understand how to push your mental ability and how you can train the mental side of it to teach your body that you're not tired and to get out a couple more reps," Foligno said. "The stuff that they do is pretty intense. They're going into pretty risky situations and we're honored to work with these guys."

The SEALs tried to show the players how the skills they use in their job could relate to hockey, according to Foligno.

"They connected it to you're on a breakaway and there's 19,000 fans screaming your name," he said. "You have to think and breathe in that situation."

"Obviously from a physical side, you're going to be in great shape working with them. I think more importantly it's the mental side, with some of the stuff they have to go through, and the attention to detail they take into their jobs," center Cody Hodgson said.

"Hopefully we can take some of that and relate it to our job as well. We have a lot of respect for them, but even more appreciation for them now."

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