Part of a new generation of women’s hockey stars to come from Manitoba, Jocelyne Larocque is laying down roots in the Greater Toronto Area. Having competed in years past for the WWHL’s Manitoba Maple Leafs and the CWHL’s Team Alberta franchise (later rechristened as the Calgary Inferno), the 2014-15 season saw Jocelyne Larocque head east, acquired by the Brampton Thunder for childhood friend (and teammate on the Canadian National Team) Bailey Bram.
Bestowed the honor of Brampton’s captaincy, an honor shared by the likes of Jayna Hefford, Vicky Sunohara and Tara Gray (who played with Larocque for the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four championship team), Larocque has emerged as a fan favorite. With Brampton in rebuilding mode, her experience and leadership makes her an invaluable member of the roster hoping for championship days to come.
A key sign of Larocque’s commitment to the franchise is the establishment of a new business venture. Adding the title of entrepreneur to a list of accomplishments that includes hockey hero and Winter Games gold medalist, an exciting new venture established in Hamilton, Ontario is defined by her enthusiasm.
Having opened a hockey training facility titled STOKE Strength and Conditioning, Larocque’s entrepreneurial spirit is encouraging, as it proves that women in hockey can engage in rewarding careers off the ice. Taking into account that all women that participate in hockey at the CWHL level have an academic background, they hold the potential to become key leaders in the business world.
Part of Larocque’s focus at STOKE is the objective to build strong, agile and well-conditioned athletes. Designing programs around the team’s goals and abilities, values such as teamwork and communication are cornerstones in helping to develop effective group workouts as well.
Employing the innovative concept of a movement assessment, Larocque and staff begin with providing each athlete from the team with an individual assessment which shall aim to discover the strengths and weaknesses concerning a player’s mobility. This commitment to not fit players into a type of cookie-cutter mold adds value as the key goal is safety and relevance, what Larocque identifies as “a destination of your fitness journey.”
With 65 hours of gym time, STOKE tries to work around the client’s requirements, rather than the reverse. An added bonus is that clients in the Brantford, Cambridge and Hamilton areas can benefit from mobile training, where the gym comes to them.
Taking into account that Larocque has been surrounded by the likes of world-class coaches such as Shannon Miller and Melody Davidson provides her with the fundamentals required to train effectively. As the coordinator for hockey programming, she is dedicated to helping all players and teams elevate their games to even higher levels.
Such aspects that will define one of her team workouts at STOKE includes a group warmup, small group training (based on results identified in the tests), a team workout where speed, strength, agility and other aspects of training shall remain a key focus. This is concluded by emphasizing proper cool down techniques.
Of all the programs offered, one that may develop into their most popular could very well be the College Prep program. A development program open to female players aged 15-18+ that takes place during spring and summer months, there are 51 off-ice strength and conditioning sessions, as well as 24 on-ice sessions.
Beginning with a 15-20 minute meeting with a coach in which goals aimed towards a successful future are discussed, there is also a monthly check-in to monitor progress. Working in two phases, Phase 1 focuses on improving the athlete. Building strength, establishing an aerobic base and anaerobic training are among the building blocks.
Phase 2 is defined by a combination of both on-ice and off-ice sessions. Larocque herself leads the on-ice sessions, with a wealth of skill development on the agenda. Components such as speed, power skating, edge work, agility, puck control, shooting, passing, shot blocking and angling look to create a better, more balanced player, able to adapt at various game situations.
Joined by a group of coaches whose experiences include CIS, NCAA and/or IIHF level hockey, the level of expertise provides the perfect level of understanding of what it means to elevate one’s game. That personal touch is one of the values that Larocque has built her enterprise on, indeed a labor of love. Getting to know what the client needs, while doing so in a safe environment are ingredients that Larocque hopes shall lead to happier and healthier lives.