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NHL to Hold Scouting Combine in Buffalo




The National Hockey League Scouting Combine will take place in Buffalo, NY June 1 to June 6 at the Harbor Center.

This year will mark the first time in 25 years that the scouting combine will not take place in the ballrooms of the hotels and convention centers  in the Toronto area. The Director of NHL Central Scouting, Dan Marr, anticipates about 120 prospects, 99 North American and 21 European, to participate in the combine.

Aside from moving to the Harbor Center, Marr said, “It will also be implementing a new format and testing as a result of a Combine review that was conducted with the 30 NHL clubs.” He added, “The fitness testing will be moved into an arena offering an increased viewing area, better sight lines and live results monitors, allowing for the testing to be captured on video.”

The scouting combine gives amateur scouts and general managers a 1-on-1 opportunity to interview the prospects a First Niagara Center from June 1 to June 5. The medical examinations for each player will take place on June 4 with the fitness testing taking place on June 6. No player can test until they clear the medical screening.

Marr said, “All players must be medically cleared by the NHL Combine medical staff in order to participate in the physical testing.” He added, “Any player that is not 100 percent able to perform an upper or lower body test, due to a post season surgery, current injury, rehabilitation or medical condition, will be classed as injury or medically exempt, depending on the circumstances.”

The new location of the Combine has allowed Central Scouting the ability to implement some new facets to the event. Marr said, “While many of the tests remain the same, there are some new technologies being incorporated into the event.” Marr added, “The player interview with NHL teams will be conducted in suites at the First Niagara Center and some of the testing will be performed over the course of the week to allow for players to be at their best.”

The fitness portion of the Combine consists of overhand pull-ups, single leg squats (each leg), pro agility tests, push pull station, seated medicine ball throw and vertical jumps. Marr added that the vertical jumps are six separate, maximum effort jumps, separated by 10 seconds of rest. The jumps are measured with a Kistler Force Plate research platform, linked to a video camera that provides information about forces passing through the foot joints and the foot in all three panes of space.

Marr also noted that the renowned bike tests will be held on separate days. The V02, which measures player’s endurance will take place on June 5, while the Wingate Ergometer peak power output test, which measures the explosiveness of a skater will be on June 6. He said, “The strength coaches said both those tests required a player to fatigue; to go until they can no longer go,” adding, “To have them do those tests almost back-to-back, on the same day, really wasn’t a valid indicator where a player was at.”

Stu MacGregor, Head Amateur Scout of the Edmonton Oilers, whose team has the number pick in the 2015 Draft said that he looks forward to the Combine every year. MacGregor added, “It sounds like the Sabres and owner Terry Pagula have done an outstanding job putting this together, the development in and around the First Niagara Center and the fitness facilities available to the players to perform the tests will be outstanding.”

Marr said, “The combine week is always an interesting event for Central Scouting that seems to go by very quickly. The goal is to present an event that allows NHL personnel to interact with the future stars of our game and assist the NHL clubs in their pursuit of gaining as much knowledge about the draft prospects as possible.” He added that Central Scouting is looking forward to hosting the prospects during the week as they further showcase themselves to the league.

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