Standing as the pinnacle of ice hockey globally, the NHL attracts the sport’s finest coaches and players, and since 2008, Firstbeat Technologies has been an integral force behind the scenes.
We have helped to shape the performance of many of the 31 prestigious franchises in the North American league.
As of the 2023-2024 season, almost 50% of NHL teams are using Firstbeat Sports to monitor individual players’ physiological data and, in turn, optimize performance, reduce injury risk, and fast-track player development.
The Buffalo Sabres were the first to utilize the technology – based on over two decades of scientific research into human physiology – and Firstbeat clients have been represented in many of the Stanley Cup Finals series since then.
In 2023 the Florida Panthers, a Firstbeat client, made an improbable run to reach the Stanley Cup Final. In 2022 The Colorado Avalanche won the Cup, another long-time Firstbeat client!
Other current NHL Firstbeat clients include the Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes, and Philadelphia Flyers.
The San Jose Sharks also use Firstbeat on a daily basis. Jack Anderson, Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach says:
“Firstbeat is an integral piece in the effort to better understand our athletes and give them actionable information to improve their performance on the ice. We utilize Firstbeat daily to manage player load, formulate recovery strategies, and give proper nutritional advice for refueling after practice. Firstbeat has greatly improved our processes in providing players and coaches with valuable insights into their capabilities and we are excited to continue learning from the technology.”
The cloud-based athlete performance management platform allows coaches and players to work with confidence and put personalized training (insights and feedback to players and coaching staff) advice on firm, scientific ground.
Insights derived from heart rate and heart-rate variability let teams accurately analyze what is happening internally when players are on and off the ice.
Key metrics include; Heart Rate, Training Effect (aerobic and anaerobic), TRIMP (Training Impulse), ACWR, HR Recovery, HRV, EPOC, Calories Burned, and Movement Load. Many of these can be viewed in real-time as well as in individual and group reports.
This data helps coaches and sports scientists replace guesswork with objective findings and is used to inform decisions on everything from training load management for specific position groups, to return-to-play protocols for individual players and scenarios, and long-term player development.
Matt Harder, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Minnesota Wild uses Firstbeat in a variety of ways, from spotting trends over time, and supporting decision-making, to communicating better with the coaching staff and players. He says:
“It’s information to me and I use it in a lot of different ways. It helps me to be sure of the decisions or the communication that I’m engaging in, having the numbers and data to look at, and then you can see a trend over time. When you go into a coach’s office or have a conversation with a player, I’m not bringing my own opinion into it – it’s just presenting the data we have. It’s very objective.”
Teams across the league also use Firstbeat to help develop the next generation of hockey stars. The Colorado Avalanche and their AHL Affiliate the Colorado Eagles both have access to Firstbeat Sports, in addition to the NY Rangers and their AHL Affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack. The Charlotte Checkers, the AHL Affiliate of the Florida Panthers, also use Firstbeat.
Rich Campbell is Head Athletic Trainer and Strength & Conditioning Coach at Portland Winterhawks, one of the most successful junior teams in terms of producing National Hockey League (NHL) alumni. Rich uses Firstbeat’s Heart Rate Recovery feature to get a quick insight into a player’s ability to recover. Rich says:
“The Portland Winterhawks Hockey team recently added Firstbeat’s Heart Rate Recovery metric to our arsenal. I have found that this metric reinforces visual assessment of conditioning. In addition, tracking this metric over time can help with identifying the trajectory of an individual player’s conditioning. This feature tells us a lot about a player’s ability to recover.”
Download our free training load guide for ice hockey coaches. Download here
As well as continuing to provide value to NHL teams across North America, the Firstbeat Sports athlete performance management platform optimizes training, performance, and recovery for more than 1,000 sports teams spanning the elite levels of soccer, rugby, NBA, NFL, and college sports among others.
Want to learn more about how Firstbeat Sports can help your team? Book a free demo here.
This article was originally published in 2018 and has been updated as of February 2024 to reflect the latest information.
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