High-profile trainers team up

Keeping hockey players in peak condition is Mike Thompson's and Tyler Jackson's business.

Two notable entities in Langley's sports conditioning universe have joined forces.

Mike Thompson of Tommyfit and Tyler Jackson of Jackson Strength & Conditioning have teamed up to train high level minor, junior, and pro hockey players.

"We're partners in hockey," said Thompson, Tommyfit owner and hockey specific trainer.

Jackson, 32, has a hockey background and continues to be an active mixed martial arts fighter and trainer - he's trained a number of MMA fighters, most notably five-time world jiu-jitsu champion Bibiano Fernandes.

He has also trained baseball players, including two high-profile locals. Jackson has worked with Toronto Blue Jays prospect and Brookswood resident Brett Lawrie (who was drafted in the first round, 16th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2008 MLB draft), and former Langley Blaze star and Texas Rangers 2010 first round draft pick Kellin Deglan.

Prior to taking up MMA, Jackson played four years of junior hockey before hanging up his skates. Over those four years, he said he was a "suitcase" in the British Columbia Hockey League, Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League, as well as in the junior B ranks.

Thompson, 49, has been training pro and junior hockey players in the Langley area since 1996, and has more than 27 years experience in the areas of hockey fitness and coaching.

Jackson and Thompson have known each other for close to 15 years.

"I met Tyler was he was 16," Thompson said. "He worked for Twin Rinks fitness when I was a manager there. Tyler expressed that he was going to go to school and he's now a kinesiologist. We've been kind of competing against each other, and so now we've decided to become partners."

Thompson said, since Jackson is "really current with his training, and I'm really good at sales, we thought it would be a great partnership."

"I think Tyler's the best trainer in the Lower Mainland, for anything," Thompson added.

Jackson said when it comes making an athlete's body functional, sports training is essentially the same

"But the closer you get to a fight, or to in-season [ice hockey] training, the more you have to mimic the sport," Jackson said, regarding the difference between working with MMA fighters and hockey players. "The closer you get, the more diverse the two sports get."

The focus of Jackson's and Thompson's partnership is hockey.

"Everything that Mike does that's non-hockey related, everything that I do that's non-hockey related, they're separate entities, but when it comes to training hockey players, I know that Mike's got the best on-ice program, and I feel I have the best off-ice program, so it just made sense that we team up," Jackson said.

Among the high profile players they plan to train during the off-season are Aldergrove native Brad Thiessen, a netminder with the American Hockey League's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, highly touted Seattle Thunderbirds defenceman Brenden Dillon, Edmonton Oilers prospect and Edmonton Oil Kings winger Cam Abney, and Portland Winterhawks defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon.

Jackson and Thompson aren't limiting their training to professionals. The plan is to help younger players at the grassroots level. Jackson designed a dryland program for peewee-aged (11- and 12-year-old) players.

"These guys can prepare their bodies at a young age so that they're not going to get injured and they're performing at their best, and they can develop that base of athleticism," Jackson said.

Having an athletic base, Thompson said, shifts the balance of power between players in the heat of a one-on-one puck battle: "It's the difference between making it or not making it. You can put two guys together who are the same calibre, and the guy who is in better shape is going to win the battle."

For more on the business venture, email info@tommyfit.ca or info@jacksonstrengthandconditioning.com.

BY TROY LANDREVILLE, LANGLEY ADVANCE MARCH 31, 2011

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