To say the 2018-19 season was one to remember for Cayden Primeau would be an understatement. In January, he backstopped the U.S. National Junior Team to a silver medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship. Two months later, Primeau and his Northeastern Huskies were crowned Hockey East Tournament champions. The recipient of the Mike Richter Award as college hockey’s top goaltender, Primeau then signed an NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens before serving as a backup goaltender for Team USA at the IIHF Men’s World Championship.
It’s been a whirlwind for the Voorhees, New Jersey native, but Primeau is not resting on his laurels. The son of a 15-year NHL veteran in Keith Primeau, the rising Primeau knows the offseason is a critical time.
A product of USA Hockey’s junior hockey leagues, including both the United States Hockey League and Eastern Hockey League, Primeau shared his thoughts on offseason training, nutrition and commitment.
Cayden Primeau at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship
Q: What does offseason strength and conditioning mean to you?
A: Goalies need their own kind of training. For me, I think it’s huge to stay up on stretching. I have to stretch a lot and stay loose. I do a lot of mobility work as well – you don’t want to lose your mobility. It’s a lot easier to get stronger in the offseason when you’re not playing, so you have to take advantage of that time available.
Q: How do you work on mobility?
A: Plyometrics, quick feet, ladders, jumps. I try to incorporate some stuff into my stretching as well, like hip mobility and things like that.
Q: How important are the hips in hockey?
A: I think the biggest things are the groins and the hips, but I don’t want to single out one or two body parts because each one is so important in hockey. You have to work on the entire body.
Q: How important is nutrition to you?
A: I really like nutrition. I like to cook all my meals. That way I know what’s going into it. I’ll eat out every now and then, but I really try to keep it strict. It’s something I enjoy doing, so I don’t feel like it’s a diet or mandatory or anything. It’s how I eat and how I live. I’ve been doing that for the past year or two. It’s been a learning process, but nowadays with technology, there are so many recipes and information out there. It helps with fueling yourself for practices and games, and then it also helps with recovery afterwards and getting ready for the next practice and game. Nutrition is just as important as training.
Q: As players get older into their late teens, how important is it to start putting in the extra work and making a commitment to getting better?
A: It’s huge. As soon as everyone starts reaching physical maturity, that’s when you really take over and focus on getting stronger and put in the extra work, especially in the summer. That’s when you want to put in the work off the ice. It’s going to give you the extra step. That’s the difference between being a starter and a backup.