National Hockey League Officials Fitness and Conditioning

  • This is a sample program for NHL Officials. As all people are different so are Fitness Programs, the following is used as a guideline with minimum standards for NHL Officials.
  • Consult your family doctor before starting any training program

Off season training

  • Start by setting some fitness goals for the start of the next season and focus on those throughout your program.
  • Incorporate and maintain good eating habits such as frequent small meals rather than a few large ones so your body is burning calories all day. Maintain a balanced diet between carbohydrates, fats and protein.
  • Incorporate a stretch and exercise routine before every training session.


  • 5 days a week / Up to 2 hrs a day
  • Strength twice a week
  • Aerobics twice a week
  • Run, bike, roller blade or other activity once a week


  • Weight training utilizing a variety of programs with changes in repetitions, sets, tempo and exercises.
  • Push-ups using varying arm position and use of blocks
  • Sit ups, crunches - proper form is very important
  • Leg Strength (lunges, squats, step ups)


  • Use heart rate monitor to maximize training zones
  • Run - 15 min increasing to 60 min.
  • Ice sprints - 30 sec increasing to 60 sec.
  • Bike - 35 min increasing to 60 min.
  • Roller blade or Stairmaster
  • Jump rope and plyometric exercises with Resistance Bands to increase foot speed and agility

Cardiovascular Exercise (Run, Bike, Stepper or Glider)

  • Warm up (5 min)
  • 1 minute increasing intensity intervals for 30 min in your target heart rate zone
  • One minute work, one to two minutes rest intervals
  • Lower the intensity if you are not recovering to your original Heart Rate after first work/rest interval
  • Cool down (5 to 8 minutes)
  • You should monitor Heart rate at all times

Maintaining fitness during the season

  • 15- 20 minute warm up before games
  • Light jog, bike or jump rope to warm up muscles and joints and increase Heart Rate
  • Stretch and flexibility as a daily wellness program
  • Aerobic Exercise 2 or 3 times a week on non game days
  • Strength and Resistance exercises are done as travel and game schedule allows. Maintaining a base throughout the season will allow an easier transition into the off season training program and helps promote an overall healthy and productive lifestyle.

The Monitor of the Health and Wellness Program

David T.Smith currently monitors the health and wellness of all 67 NHL on ice officials as well as 17 other NHL prospects whom are currently working in the minor leagues across North America. The monitoring program includes off-ice fitness regimen, developing and maintaining a league wide network of trainers and physicians for medical treatment and assistance for all officials. Dave also continues to direct clinics for Hockey Programs involving both players and officials in the area of functional movement in the skating stride.

David has a long history within the game and has been supervising the care of NHL on-ice officials since 2000. Previous to that Dave was the Head Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Florida Panthers from 1995-1999 and held the same titles with the New York Rangers from 1985-1995 where he was part of the Stanley Cup winning team in 1994.

David has been a player/coach in Norway well as playing professional hockey in Sweden and Holland while acting as the Recreational Director and teaching Physical Education to students.

David played his college hockey at Elmira College where he captained the team and graduated Cum Laude.

David and his family now make their home in the Buffalo area where he is an integral part of the NHL Officiating Staff as he continues to monitor the health and wellness of the NHL officials.