About me

mikebracko

Dr. Mike Bracko

Dr. Mike is a hockey skating coach, strength & conditioning coach, skating/hockey researcher, fitness educator, and writer who has specialized in these areas for 45 years. He was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta where he played his youth hockey. He lived in Chicago for 10 years and Provo, Utah for 5 years. He now lives in Calgary.

He played Jr hockey in Drumheller, AB (AJHL) and Penticton, B.C. (BCHL), NCAA college hockey on a scholarship at the University of Illinois – Chicago and had a “cup of coffee” at the Calgary Flames Training Camp in 1981. Dr. Mike earned his Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees (Physical Education & Exercise Science) from the University of Illinois – Chicago and his Doctor of Education degree (Exercise Science/Biomechanics) from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. His doctoral dissertation was, “Performance Skating Characteristics of Professional Ice Hockey Forwards.”

In 2002 he was honored by becoming a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine. In 1995 he earned the distinction as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Dr. Mike works with 300 – 400 hockey players and conducts 200 – 300 skating clinics each year. He specializes in 1-on-1, small group, and team skating clinics for youth players and teams, Midget, Jr, College, and Pro players.  He is also the Master Trainer for the Hockey Institute’s Hockey Skating Coach Certification program which is on-line and in-person.

His primary focus for skating coaching is to analyze the players skating biomechanics to identify performance decrements then work to improve the 5 characteristics of fast players: 1) arms move side-to-side, 2) wide stride, 3) low recovery after push-off, 4) quick recovery after push-off, and 5) the recovery skate lands in a line with shoulder-hip-knee. As well as working on the other 26 game-performance skating characteristics.

For 22 years he has worked as the strength and conditioning coach for the USA Men’s Deaflympic Hockey Team. He was on the staff of the last five Deaflympic Teams: 2019 – Chiavenna, Italy, 2015 – Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, 2007 – Salt Lake City, 2003 – Sundsvall, Sweden, and 1999 – Davos, Switzerland. He was also on the staff for three World Deaf Hockey Championships: 2017 – Buffalo, NY, 2013 – Vaanta, Finland and 2009 – Winnipeg, Canada. In this time, he has also been the conditioning coach and one of the skating coaches at the Stan Mikita Hockey School for the Hearing Impaired in Chicago. He is nearly fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).  

Dr Mike is a fitness and conditioning educator presenting sessions on fitness, sports performance, back injury prevention, and strength & conditioning. He is a regular presenter at fitness and sports performance conferences in North America and Asia.

He also writes about fitness and hockey performance. He is a regular contributor to The Coaches Site. He has also contributed articles to canfitpro Magazine, IDEA Fitness Journal, and American Fitness. Dr Mike is the author of 30 DVD’s on skating performanceoff-ice skating and sports trainingfitnessback injury prevention, safe lifting, and ergonomics.

He has served on the Board of Trustees for the American College of Sports Medicine, and Chaired the planning committee for the ACSM’s Health and Fitness Summit. He has presented research and chaired symposiums on hockey, skating, and Occupational Physiology at numerous ACSM Annual Research meetings. And he is the past Chair of the Science in Winter Sports Interest Group, Membership Committee, and the Consumer Information Committee.

Istvan Takacs, Romanian National Team, when asked what hockey taught him: "So much about life, about other people, and getting along with them. Through hockey, you learn to respect life and to value people. You learn to listen to your coach, and to your heart. You learn how to let your mind speak with your body, because the two become close after playing all these years."

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