A former Portage Terrier is the first sports science coach in the MJHL. Rob Pambrun joined the league's newest franchise, the Niverville Nighthawks, after being a professional trainer for a number of years.
"The main focus that I'm bringing to the organization in terms of sports science and player development is, I'm an expert in perfecting game day routines," Pambrun explains. "When I say game day routines, that refers to game day nutrition for optimal performance, supplementation, and physical routine, like what the players are doing during the day."
Pambrun has a hockey background as he played in the MJHL over a decade-and-a-half ago, where he ended up tearing his ACL. From that point on, he left the hockey world and went into bodybuilding and ultimately became a professional trainer.
"After working with bodybuilders, all kinds of celebrities, fitness models, and athletes, I've come back into the hockey world. What I'm doing is taking that same intensity and I'm bringing it to hockey players. I'm noticing that some of the professionals I work with are lacking in-game day nutrition and routine."
He says each player's routine should be different. The advice he gives the players is individualized and is something that makes sense for them specifically.
"When should they be having their fats? How many fats they should be having? What kinds of carbohydrates should they be having? What's really important is the timing of these foods," Pambrun continues. "Blood sugar levels, what blood sugar levels should a player be playing at? What should they be doing before and after morning skates? When is their pre-game meal? During the game, what should they be drinking? Coconut water is a big one. I also advise the players to use Gatorade powder rather than the premixed Gatorade."
Pambrun notes once he started working with hockey players, his passion for the game came back. He wanted to join an organization and got in contact with Kelvin Cech (general manager and head coach for Niverville), and the rest is history.
He adds the types of things he covers with the Nighthawks are more intricate than many professional organizations.
"Even what the professionals are doing is not as in depth as what we're doing. There's a lot of scientists trying to find every single angle to improve a player's performance. That's meal timing, the quantity of foods they should be eating, and how often they should be eating. So, having a bodybuilding background, I know how much nutrition and supplementation can affect someone's physique as well as their performance."
Pambrun says he covers fitness testing, player assessments, and creates programs for prospects that have yet to make the roster on top of everything else. The former Terrier couldn't be happier to be the first person to focus solely on sports science in the MJHL.