About me


Dr. Mike Bracko

Dr. Mike is a skating coach & sports physiologist who has specialized in hockey as a player, skating coach, researcher, and strength & conditioning coach for 35 years. He was born in Calgary, Alberta and spent 15 years in the United States having lived in Chicago, Illinois and Provo, Utah. He now lives in Calgary.

He played Junior hockey in Penticton, B.C., 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 at Chicago and his Doctor of Education degree (Exercise Science) 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 approximately 300 hockey players and conducts 200 skating clinics each year. He also presents skating coach certification clinics to hockey associations in and around Calgary. He specializes in 1-on-1, small group, and team skating clinics for youth players and teams, Midget, Jr, college, and Pro players.

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 16 years he worked as the strength and conditioning coach for the USA Men’s Deaflympic Hockey Team. He was on the staff of the last four Deaflympic Teams: 2015 – Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, 2007 – Salt Lake City, 2003 – Sundsvall, Sweden, and 1999 – Davos, Switzerland. He was also on the staff for two World Championships: 2013 Vaanta, Finland and 2009 Winnipeg, Canada.

Dr Mike is a prolific fitness educator presenting sessions on numerous topics on fitness, sports performance, back injury prevention, and strength & conditioning. He is a regular presenter at fitness conferences such as: IDEA World Fitness Convention, IDEA Personal Trainer InstituteCanFitProACSM Health & Fitness Summit, and National Strength & Conditioning Association Personal Trainer Conference
He also is a fitness writer. He is a regular contributor to Personal Trainer on the Net and IDEA Fitness Journal. Dr Mike is the author of 30 DVD’s on skating performanceoff-ice skating and sports trainingfitnessback injury prevention, safe lifting, and ergonomics. He served on the Personal Training committee for IDEA Fitness.

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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