The Canucks initially showed this awesome video on Rogers Sportsnet during one of the intermissions of their game against the LA Kings and now it’s available online. And I love it. It’s absolutely hilarious to watch two of the best players in the NHL inline skating in the summer time, mainly because of the memories it evokes.
Inline skating reached the peak of its popularity in the early to mid-90′s, with Roller Hockey International (RHI), the first major professional inline hockey league, operating from 1993 to 1999. Vancouver sports fans will remember theVancouver Voodoo, who played in the RHI from 1993 to 1996 before folding, playing teams like the Calgary Rad’z, Utah Rollerbees, Edmonton Sled Dogs, and Anaheim Bullfrogs. The RHI was mostly known for their awful, awful logos and jerseys, which is unsurprising given their existence during the 90′s, the nadir of design.
The connection with the NHL was immediately obvious. While inline skating is not identical to ice skating, it is similar enough to provide a new option for off-ice training during the summer. A few former and future NHL players played in the RHI, including Canucks Jose Charbonneau and Tiger Williams, who was a part owner of the Voodoo and played one game. The most famous NHLer who played in the league was Bryan Trottier, who played one season in 1994 after his retirement from the NHL.
Inline hockey faded from the spotlight quickly, so it’s always a bit surprising to be reminded that many NHL players still frequently use inline skating to train during the offseason. Chris Tanev took up inline hockey when he was unable to find a team due to his small stature. Brothers Lee and Bill Sweatt played internationally for Team USA in inline hockey, winning the gold medal together in 2006. Lee played in 7 international tournaments in inline hockey. Many other NHL prospects compete internationally in inline hockey to try to give themselves a leg up.
Which brings us back to the Sedins. They may not play inline hockey, but as you can see in the video, inline skating plays a big role in their offseason training regimen.
One of the main knocks on the Sedins when they came into the league was their skating ability. They have never been particularly fast, but when they entered the league they weren’t particularly strong on their skates either. Knowing that this was one of the main areas they needed to work on, but not wanting to spend the sunny summer months in a cold ice rink, they took to inline skating outdoors to work on their skating stride.
It clearly worked: their legs are like tree trunks now and they have become remarkably difficult to knock off the puck over the last 6-7 years, which is when they started using inline skates. Now it’s become a part of their regular offseason routine, helping to improve their conditioning.
Sidenote: how adorable is it that the Sedins have matching inline skates? So adorable. I imagine they went in to the store together, and Henrik did all the talking. “We’ll take two pairs of these skates. And one pair of insoles for Daniel. He pronates.”
One of the benefits other than being able to train outdoors is that inline skating can be done on an incline. While we occasionally joke about the ice being tilted in one direction or another during a hockey game, the Sedins regularly skate uphill, sometimes for 400 metres at a time. As Daniel says, it’s “fairly tough.” Other times they skate while carrying a 25 kilogram weight to improve their core strength.
Personally, I couldn’t imagine doing any of those things. I played inline hockey briefly when it was popular in the mid-90′s, but I was not a particularly good skater. That may be why I am now a goaltender, as they didn’t make the goalie wear skates in the casual league I played in, so I volunteered to play in net whenever possible. I’m a better skater now, but I still couldn’t imagine skating 400 metres uphill multiple times, particularly in the hot summer sun.
The Sedins are not the only Canucks stars with a penchant for roller blading, of course. Most famously, Pavel Bure took to roller blades in the summer, leading to a legendary hockey card of the Russian Rocket in shorts at the beach.
In any case, seeing the Sedins in their shorts and inline skates brought me back to the 90′s, particularly with their lime green wheels. It also brought to mind one of the greatest and most nonsensical quotes (NSFW) in the history of film: “Some mother****ers are always trying to ice skate uphill.”
Yes they are, Blade. Two of the baddest mother****ers in hockey.Tags: Daniel, Daniel Sedin, featured, Henrik, Henrik Sedin, Inline skating, Roller Blades, Sedins, Vancouver Voodoo