Ryan Koresky, a hockey coach at the Buckskill Winter Club, and his fellow Torontan, Derrell Levy, the founder of In-Tech Skills and Conditioning, who oversaw a weeklong hockey camp for 7-through-12-year-olds at Buckskill last week, agreed that their own careers on ice would have advanced far more quickly had they been availed of In-Tech’s sophisticated training methods when they were youngsters.
Both Koresky and Levy played in Canada’s highly competitive junior leagues — Levy with the Markham Waxers, Koresky with the Cornwall Colts — though they did not meet until they became teammates at the State University at Oswego.
With Levy as a “shut-down” center who often marked the opposing team’s high-scorer, and Koresky as a defenseman, Oswego won the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III championship in 2007.
“I’ve been thinking of having Derrell [who played some minor pro hockey before founding In-Tech three years ago] come here for a couple of years now,” Koresky said during a brief break from coaching youngsters Friday.
“Initially, I was thinking of having him come during the Christmas break, but that didn’t work out. Maybe next year he’ll do a camp over the Christmas break and one during the February break as well.”
“His clinics aren’t only about hockey, you know, but also about skills and conditioning . . . about getting your legs strong enough to stay in a power position however long you need to, to where playing becomes easy. The idea is to build up skills and correct imbalances early so you either don’t get injured or lessen your risk of injury. It’s a great thing he has going on. I love his approach.”
Koresky said Levy was “a wellness management major” at Oswego, with a minor in health science and coaching. “Basically, he was our team’s strength and conditioning coach.”
Each day last week, the some 20 campers were schooled on Buckskill’s rink for three hours, and off the ice — following a break for lunch — for one. Koresky said he’d told the kids that if they wanted to play hockey at a high level, they should pay attention. And, further, that they could reach their goals if they worked hard.
“I heard my son, Jack, say to his mother when he went to bed the other night,” Rich Dec said, “ ‘Mom, do you think I’ll be able to play in the N.H.L. some day?’ And she said, ‘Absolutely, you can do whatever you put your mind to.’ ”
Koresky and Levy are of a similar opinion. “I got looked over at times because it was thought I was too small for a defenseman,” said Koresky, “but I had a career that I’m proud of.”
As regards competition, Levy, whose partners in In-Tech include a physical therapist at Oswego State, a former three-time Canadian 400-meter hurdle champion, and the New York Rangers’ doctor, who’s a chiropractor, has for the past two years vied in internationally contested Ice Cross Downhill races.
At the end of last week, he flew to St. Paul, Minn., for the second leg of the Red Bull Crashed Ice world championships, though, because of a spill on the last roller of the 430-meter chute, he failed to make the final field of 64.
Starting four abreast, the skaters, Levy said, in answer to a question during a telephone interview Saturday, face “a 45-foot drop at the beginning, sort of like a hole shot in motocross, before funneling into the rest of the course,” which in this case included a U-turn, a wall-ride, a step-up, and rollers. “You draft and then pick your spots to pass. It takes maybe 43 seconds from start to finish. There’s the smallest margin for error — the course is unforgiving.”
While obviously disappointed he didn’t advance from Friday’s qualifying, Levy, a self-described “power skater” who can jump to almost five feet from a sitting position, said, “Experience comes in very handy. I’m only in my second year . . . I come from a hockey background, not a skiing background where they’re used to going off jumps. I can improve.”
As for the sport itself (“You won’t catch me doing it,” said Koresky), Levy said, “It’s a rush! Anytime you’re racing fast in front of a crowd of 100,000 people, it’s a rush.”
Concerning the Buckskill camp, Levy said, “It was a great experience, the kids were very observant, and they had a lot of fun too. The biggest thing is I’m able to provide these kids with the proper body mechanics and life skills — the mind and body training — that I didn’t have. As a result, they’ll be that much further ahead when that so-called awkward stage comes, at 16 or 17. They won’t have the imbalances that lead to injuries.”
“They’ll get better quicker, and they’ll have that ability — this is biggest gift we can give them — to believe that they can achieve anything they want to accomplish. That if they put their mind, heart, and souls into it — it doesn’t have to be hockey, it can be any sport — success will come.”