Published: October 14, 2013
It only takes a moment to see that Colorado College sophomore Cody Bradley benefited greatly from the offseason weight training program.
Spend a little more time observing the Tigers and you can tell nearly all added muscle over the summer.
Bradley is the most obvious example. The Tampa native is 13 pounds heavier than his listed weight of 167 last season with much of the new muscle in his upper body.
"It is something I knew I had to improve on," Bradley said. "Last year I was up against guys who are 190-200 pounds and it was tough for me. This season I think I will hold my own better."
Chances are the rest of the Tigers will too.
The 19 returning players are a combined 63 pounds heavier, an average of 3.3, including three who did not gain weight. Another two - Michael King and Scott Wamsganz - trimmed a total of nine pounds.
"The guys took the summer and September work seriously," Tigers coach Scott Owens said. "Their bodies are leaner and have more muscle."
That is good for the Tigers, since most will lose two pounds over the season.
Senior Archie Skalbeck added nine pounds, sophomores Hunter Fejes and Russell Finch eight and senior Josh Thorimbert added seven.
The gains weren't just on the scale. Ninety percent of the team recorded personal bests in the vertical jump, standing long jump and agility tests, strength and conditioning coach Scott Caulfield said.
Junior Aaron Harstad set program records for the squat (440 pounds) and the vertical jump (36.75 inches).
"Harstad is just a real freak athlete," Caulfield said.
While those records are nice, Harstad knows such gains do not translate into wins.
"I probably get it from my mom, who was a track star," he said. "This kind of thing helps you on the ice a little - being strong keeps you from being knocked around - but without the hockey skill, it doesn't matter."
What's more important is the focus the returners showed during the offseason.
"The guys are really motivated after the strong finish we had last season," Thorimbert said.
"I know I have that hunger and fire back."