AZHockey34 aiming to bring forward power skating lessons for all of Arizona
Dennison Stewart is the founder and director of AZHockey34, LLC, a new program in Arizona that specializes in power skating.
He said he created the entity for two reasons, and both are coming to fruition.
“First, I have seen and heard way too many times in the past about how coaches and trainers want to do camps, clinics, sessions, etcetera, but do not have the time or means to organize and set up from a business perspective,” Stewart said. “After spending a few hours discussing what is the biggest area of development with coach Rocco Cammarata, what was needed at all levels was power skating. We have very talented coaches in the state, but so many only touch on the techniques of power skating and move on to edge work or shots or skills, neglecting the complete instruction.
“Second, there is a big hole right now in the Phoenix market in the area of true power skating. I have seen what is claimed as power skating, only to see a session consist of 10 minutes of skating lines, then 50 minutes of small-area skills, or edge work. Power skating is the technique of training and teaching players how to go somewhere fast.”
Stewart and AZHockey34 are putting on a Power Pro Hockey power skating camp/clinic April 30-May 2 at AZ Ice Arcadia.
Stewart noted how former NHL star Bill Guerin was once quoted as saying, “If you’re using improper technique quickly, all it means is you’ll go nowhere faster.”
Power skating is the combination of acceleration, power production and efficiency from each stride. The goal is to produce as much speed as possible using the least amount of energy needed to achieve on ice tasks.
“Power is developed through increased leg strength and stride technique, and this is what I feel we needed to bring to Arizona,” said Stewart.
Along with Stewart, Barry Karn and Cammarata are involved with AZHockey34.
Barry and Jodi (Skjei) Karn have been teaching together since 1984 and with son Beau since 2001. And now daughter Kelly and Jodi have started the Karn Jr. Program to develop the very young for the Karn Skating Dynamics school.
Over the years, Karn Skating Dynamics (KSD) has become the largest school of its kind. Barry Karn worked as an NHL skating coach for 22 years with Phoenix, Calgary, St. Louis, Minnesota, San Jose, and Tampa.
As of this writing in 2021, there are over 230 current NHL players trained by Karn Skating Dynamics. This reputation has spread throughout every hockey-playing country on the planet. In addition to the KSD School, they have done several hundred teams, coaches, hockey associations and club clinics, and seminars throughout North America and Europe.
Karn has a philosophy that power skating is dead.
“Let’s explain,” he said. “Over KSD’s existence, we’ve seen over 50,000 students ranging from beginners to veteran NHL players. Several thousand of these students have had extensive power skating training and yet are being told they need to take skating lessons. They are told things like, ‘You don’t bend your knees enough,’ ‘Your strides are short and choppy,’ ‘You’re getting beat wide,’ ‘Your first three strides need to improve,’ etcetera. We’ve heard it all.
“We can’t attribute all of these things to being physically immature, weakness, and growth spurts. Several hundred of these athletes were actually highly-skilled pro- and Olympic-class athletes, so what’s the problem?”
Karn says the issue is that old, outdated skating patterns are still being taught.
“For beginners all the way to elite world-class athletes, traditional power skating techniques fall short,” said Karn. “In fact, some of the deficiencies are at direct odds with what the fastest skaters of today can achieve. In their day in the 1970s and 1980s, these techniques improved everyone tremendously. By today’s standards, these techniques are a C-plus to a B-minus at best. What’s missing from the techniques actually creates an acceleration, top speed, and agility ceiling the player can’t break through.”
Karn Skating Dynamics starts with a technique model that has evolved beyond power skating.
“We call it ‘glide platform training,’” said Karn. “With then-20-year-old KSD student and NHL rookie Dylan Larkin breaking the All-Star speed record, we think it works. In fact, informally we have several non-All-Star players that can reach those speeds. This is most importantly an efficiency factor. Our NHL players report that it will lengthen their careers as they age. Through a better technique model and Dynamic Progressions, we show the player how to break the old habits or patterns and establish new solid neuromuscular patterns. We use video analysis to accelerate this process.
“Come join us and see what you’ve been missing.”
With Cammarata’s experience as an NHL player agent, he has developed relationships with top players, coaches, managers, scouts, physical trainers, skill, developmental and skating professionals in the hockey world.
“I use these contacts and specialized methods I have learned to be able to get the very best out of any and all youth, junior, college and pro players to put them on a path to their highest level,” said Cammarata.
Cammarata, who develops youth all the way up to NHL players, had a successful Junior A career with the NAHL’s Lakeland Jets and Saginaw Gears and USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks and after junior hockey, had a stint in the minor leagues signing PTO contracts with the Saginaw Gears (UHL) and the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL), playing under Vancouver Canucks coach Glen Gulutzan.
These days, Cammarata develops and assists in all aspects of player development all over North America. He works as an NHL player agent with I-C-E Hockey Agency (formerly the Neil Sheehy Group). Cammarata has also built a relationship with EVO ULTRAFIT, widely known as the top training program in the NHL.
He also owns Hard Roc Hockey, LLC, and has coached junior hockey in the USPHL, youth hockey in Michigan and Las Vegas, and has scouted for junior hockey teams in the USHL, USPHL and SIJHL.
Players Cammarata has worked with include Gage Quinney (Vegas Golden Knights NHL), Joe Sullivan (St. Lawrence NCAA/ECHL), Joey Raats (ASU NCAA/ECHL), Zach Pochiro (St. Louis Blues), Landon Quinney (WHL), Cory Ward (Bemidji State NCAA/Ontario Reign AHL), Alec Mono (Curry College NCAA), Brendan Harris (Bemidji State NCAA), Chris Leibinger (Michigan Tech NCAA/ECHL), Bryce Reddick (Michigan Tech NCAA/ECHL/European pro), Taylor Cammarata (Minnesota NCAA/New York Islanders NHL), Vinni Lettieri (New York Rangers/Anaheim Ducks NHL), Mikey Andriot (Compuware AAA), Tommy Middleton (Dubuque USHL), Jarret Cammarata (Bethel University NCAA), Carson Dimoff (St. Lawrence NCAA), Spencer Poscente (Eastern Michigan University), Brett Harpling (USPHL), and Devin Williams (Erie Otters OHL/Tulsa Oilers ECHL).
Overall, hockey players of all ages will benefit from AZHockey34.
“We are offering an intense, three-day power skating clinic featuring 10 hours of on-ice and two hours of off-ice training and conditioning,” Stewart said. “Our coaches will be stressing the true fundamentals of power skating, how to be explosive, how to get into the play fast, and how to achieve their goals. It is open to travel, AA and AAA players, preparing for the 10U to 18U levels. Our clinic is open to anyone wanting to gain that extra edge and skill just before tryouts, then to further that over a 10-week, once-a-week, summer program.
“Put simply, our goal is to provide true power skating training.”
AZHockey34 is following all state, county and local COVID-19 protocols. Players will be broken into smaller groups on and off ice to be able to maintain proper social distancing.
For more information or to register, visit www.AZHockey34.com.
— Matt Mackinder
(March 18, 2021)