Jeff LoVecchio wasn’t bragging about the transformation he helped Trent Frederic make this summer, just making a point about the Bruins prospect’s improvement from the start of the offseason until his departure from St. Louis to Boston for training camp.
“Everything we do is with intention and with the purpose of being better at hockey,” LoVecchio told WEEI.com in a recent phone call. “And I think that over the course of the summer Trent got a lot faster too. He went from being second or third in my pro group in sprints, to winning every race the last few weeks. It was kind of like a joke, he was crushing everyone.”
Consider Frederic’s offseason a mission accomplished. The 21-year-old returned home with the target of getting faster and getting more organized after playing 55 AHL games in Providence and 15 point-less games in Boston (he had 25 points for the P-Bruins) in his first pro season.
That’s where LoVecchio entered the picture, thanks to a recommendation from Trent’s brother Grant, a senior defenseman at Miami (Ohio), who’d been bragging out LoVecchio’s program.
LoVecchio was raised near St. Louis and has coached and trained many of the players that have been part of the surge in talent from that area. He had a decade-long pro career that included more than 100 games with Providence (Boston signed him as a college free agent), and has since been a strength coach for his company RIPT Hockey.
The former Bruins hopeful mentored the up-and-coming 2016 second-round pick most of the summer. Now Frederic heads to his second Prospects Challenge in Buffalo with the Bruins rookie team with less weight and more speed.
“It’s completely different than I was doing. A lot more cardio and conditioning and for the first time I have a little abs going,” Frederic told WEEI.com Thursday with a laugh. “ I liked it, and like I said, I woke up, it’s about 20 minutes away from my house, so we’ll go at 6 a.m. I loved getting up and going. And it got me set in a routine. In the past summers when I worked out, sometimes I worked out at 9, sometimes I worked out 11. Here it was we’re going 7 or 7:45 every morning, so it was just a good routine.”
LoVecchio couldn’t just wave a magic wand, it took hard work from Frederic and some changes in the types of exercise he was doing.
“Part of it was like teaching him how to use his body efficiently. We worked a lot on his core strength. Because if your core can transfer power efficiently, you’re going to be smoother, and fast is smooth and smooth is fast,” LoVecchio explained. “So we really worked on his core strength. A lot of core sprints with him, and just overall applicable strengths to hockey, not just labrum strength, bodybuilder strength, actual strength that’s going to help him on the ice. So all those things are going to make him faster and more balanced on the ice and things like that.”
You might not see Frederic’s work translate into him blowing the doors off the opposition and leaving his linemates in the dust. LoVecchio said a lot of Frederic’s work was about playing with speed, but also being in control of his body. Think of Brad Marchand’s ability to pull up on a rush, stop on a dime and hit the trailer with a pass. That’s the type of play Frederic wants to be able to make whether he’s playing center or the wing, playing in Boston or in Providence again.
Frederic admitted he also changed his diet, eating healthier than in recent years when water was the only thing in his fridge so dining out was his only option. He also made sure not to cross paths with the Stanley Cup while it was making its celebratory trek around his hometown. He even once left a restaurant when he heard the Cup was on its way.
For the Bruins to have a chance to have their own party with the Cup this season or in the near future, a young player or two is going to have to emerge to help Boston remain among the elite teams in the league. A faster Frederic could fit the bill, and he’ll have LoVecchio to thank for a lot of his success.
“A lot of credit goes to him. He’s a workout freak and if you look at him, you can tell he knows what he’s doing,” Frederic said.