Blogs > In The Room with Anthony SanFilippo

Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Did you ever wonder why hockey teams have a practice the morning of a game and then go out and warm up prior to the game too?

Wouldn't it make more sense to just show up a little earlier at the arena and get your sweat on instead of driving to the practice facility in Voorhees, getting all suited up, going through a workout, undressing, showering, going home, napping, and then going to the arena to do it all over again?

It seems silly doesn't it?

Well, did you know it was invented here in Philadelphia?

True story.

Spoke at length to a former Flyers player who told tale of the origins of the morning skate.

Here's what he said.

"(Former Flyers coach) Fred Shero used to make his team show up for a 'practice' on game day mornings so they could shake off the cob webs from the night before."

It kind of made sense in those days, because players weren't as well-conditioned as the athletes are today. There was no full season training regiment that existed back then, so to get the muscles loose and limber before a game was kind of ingenious.

"Well, you could say that," the former player told me. "But, Freddie did it because he wanted to curb the late-night boozing the players were partaking in the night before.

"He figured, if he made them show up early, they wouldn't be so willing to stay out until the wee hours throwing beer after beer down their gullet."

Did it work?

"Well, for most guys it did, but there was more than one occasion of a guy showing up hung over and he had to leave the ice to puke in the bathroom."


So, why does it continue today?

"Tradition," the player said. "That's all I can assume. Because to be honest, these guys are in such great shape these days, that morning skate does very little to help them in the game later that night."


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