One of the more commonly used phrases when speaking about calories and nutrition is “a calorie is a calorie,” which, to be honest, we find a bit misleading. The term calorie is a measurement of energy; technically, it’s the amount of energy needed to raise one gram of water one degree Celsius. Over time, however, calories have come to be associated with human biology, not just with energy. From an actual energy standpoint, in a closed loop system, all calories are equal. But when we look at what happens to a calorie after we ingest it, then we start seeing some differences depending on the source of the calories.
Although all foods provide energy to the body, foods also provide nutrients, influence hunger, and trigger different hormonal pathways. Consider 100 calories from table sugar compared to 100 calories from olive oil: they have different speeds and pathways of digestion, trigger very different hormonal pathways, and can have very different impacts on weight management and overall health.
So when considering calories, it is important to not just consider the total amount of energy, but also daily nutrient needs. Health-care providers often recommend that clients focus on nutrient quality, not just total quantity, an approach called nutrient density. Nutrient density is a concept that promotes getting the most out of daily total calories as possible, and striving to meet not only energy needs but also vitamin, mineral, and other nutrient and biological needs within those total calories.
Calorie needs vary from person to person, and a one-size-fits-one approach should be taken to best meet individual needs. Factors influencing energy needs include exercise, recovery, illness, and metabolism, all of which can impact an individual’s calorie prescription. Careful attention to the nutrient density of daily calories can help identify gaps in nutrient intake, and in these cases, nutritional supplements can be used to complement the diet.
Intensity and duration of exercise and training can also have a major role in total calorie needs. Many active individuals underestimate the added calories and added nutrients needed for their activity.
The sport dietitians of the United States Olympic Committee and the University of Colorado’s Sport Nutrition Graduate Program have collaborated on educational guidelines for different training levels to serve as general guidelines. For many reasons, individuals respond differently to different mixes of calorie sources; therefore, for a more personal caloric prescription, consulting with a health-care practitioner is best.
Even with almost 50 years of involvement in hockey, you can’t plan for the current state of the world and the impact coronavirus has had on our game. I think it is safe to say that nothing prepares you for the changes that have taken place in our daily lives and the uncertainty of when things might return to normal. Or in this case, what will become the new “normal.”
Our expertise is hockey, so what we’ll address in this piece: the impact of the global pandemic on our game and how likely it will affect our game in the immediate future.
USA Hockey continues to post information on COVID-19 on the main website. These updates keep our membership informed of specific programs and the changing safety recommendations that will be in place when hockey returns. Be sure to check back regularly for updates and other hockey information.
On the officiating front, much of what we are able to do from a program standpoint is connected to player events like national tournaments and player development camps. As you know, the national tournaments (along with the March, April and May IIHF World Championship events) were cancelled. The Officiating Program then canceled our two instructor training programs that were planned for late April and early May in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
At this time, details for any potential summer development camps are still being determined. On the player side, several camps we are connected to were cancelled, and the few camps that are still in planning have been dramatically downsized. The Officiating Program continues to monitor the decisions made for players and will take advantage of any opportunity we have to salvage our summer camp program and maximize participation.
The good news is, we are confident we will have a 2020-21 season. All indications show no reason to delay registration. It will open as scheduled on or around May 26, followed by the open book exams and online seminar curriculum on June 1.
SafeSport Training (required for anyone born in the year 2003 or earlier) and background screening (learn about the new national level screening program in the Q & A section) will also be available to complete at that time. If COVID-19 still has things slowed down in early June, it would be an ideal time to get these requirements completed.
The biggest unknown will be the timing in which we will be able to conduct seminars. The vast majority of rinks are currently closed, and many of them took this opportunity to remove ice to save operating costs and do maintenance. There is now doubt they will be prepared to quickly ramp up once they are allowed to do so, but as with most everything right now, the timing is uncertain. As a result, some of the earlier seminars may be pushed back a few weeks. The District Referees-in-Chief will secure ice times and facilities so we can provide seminar dates and locations as quickly as possible. We are also encouraging our instructors to think outside the box by providing some weeknight seminar options, and to look at other ways to best meet the needs of our members.
The Advanced Officiating Symposium, scheduled for Providence, R.I. in late July, is still going to plan. We will continue to monitor the situation, including local restrictions and travel advisories in the coming weeks, and we will announce any changes in advance to allow for alterations to travel arrangements. Click here for up-to-date information or to reserve your seat at the 2020 Advanced Officiating Symposium.
These are difficult times for everyone, and although our hockey family is important to us, it is a small fraction of the big picture that is impacting our daily lives. To quote Andy Dufresne in his letter for Red that he left under the big oak tree in The Shawshank Redemption: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We hope the coronavirus is conquered with minimal loss of lives and a return to a prosperous normal as soon as possible. We hope your passion for the game of hockey will only grow as a result of its absence. We hope we are back on the ice in the coming months and that the 2020-21 season will be our best yet.
Thank you for your continued support of USA Hockey and don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do to make your hockey experience a better one. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and be prepared to be back on the ice soon.