Colorado Avalanche: A Look at the NHL Combine Fitness Testing

TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 3: Gabriel Landeskog of the Kitchener Rangers works out on the first day of the 2011 NHL Combine event at the Toronto Congress Centre on June 3, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. ( Photo by Claus Andersen/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 3: Gabriel Landeskog of the Kitchener Rangers works out on the first day of the 2011 NHL Combine event at the Toronto Congress Centre on June 3, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. ( Photo by Claus Andersen/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche have sent representatives to take part in the 2019 NHL Scouting Combine. Below are the fitness tests the prospects undergo.

The Colorado Avalanche put a lot of stock into the fitness and conditioning of their players. Avs players have to go through conditioning tests when they first arrive to training camp with the expectation they meet certain markers. Even during the season some players wear heart monitors during practices:

I don’t know if that means the Avalanche focus more on the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine than other teams. I’m not sure how much the teams care at all — every invitee to the Combine is an extraordinarily fit teen boy.

That said, the league puts the young men through their paces for a reason. So, in addition to interviews and health examinations, the 104 invitees to the Combine go through the following tests.

Pull Ups

We all know what a pull-up is. The prospects have to maintain the proper form — elbows down, chin up — while doing as many pull ups in a row.

colorado avalanche
colorado avalanche /

Bench Press

The bench press is another test that’s pretty self-explanatory since everyone knows what bench pressing looks like. In case you don’t, here’s Cale Makar doing it:

colorado avalanche
colorado avalanche /

The test conductors assign the prospects a lift weight dependent on the young man’s own weight:

Body Weight —> Test Weight

154 & below —> 120
155-164  —–> 130
165-174 —–> 135
175-184 —–> 145
185-194 —–>150
195-204 —–>160
205-214 —–> 170
215-224 —–> 175
225-234 —–> 185
235 & up —–> 195

Going by that table, Makar must have been lifting 150 pounds.

Pro Agility Test

The pro agility test is also known as the 5-10-5 shuttle. Not everyone knows what a shuttle is, so let’s look at this test a little more closely.

The purpose of the pro agility test is to check a prospect’s change of direction speed — an important factor in hockey. For this test, the prospect starts in a tripod position. He then runs to a line 5 meters away. He must touch it with his lead hand and foot before changing direction to run past the starting line and go another 5 meters. He must cross another line with the new lead hand-foot before returning to the starting line.

Here’s the test in action:


The Y-balance test is another that’s not self-explanatory. With this test, the prospect must balance on one leg. With his other leg, he slides a panel along the Y-axis. He must do so along each leg of the axis and with each leg.

Here’s Connor McDavid doing it (I couldn’t find footage of Makar):

Standing Long Jump

The standing long jump is a test of leg power. The prospect starts at a standstill then jumps as far as he can. He may swing his arms to propel himself through the air. The testers measure from the jumping line to the heel mark where he lands.

Vertical Jump

The vertical jump is similar to the standing long jump in that it tests the prospect’s leg strength. However, for this test, the prospect starts from standing with his arms raised. He then jumps straight up in the air. An apparatus called a Kistler Force plate measures the force.

Here’s Auston Matthews doing the vertical jump (again, no Makar footage available):


The Wingate is one of two tests that utilize an exercise bicycle. In this case, the prospect cycles as hard as he can for 30 seconds — the resistance is set at 9% of his body mass. The test is meant to assess explosive leg power and fatigue.

We’re back with Cale Makar:

I guess the trainer yelling at Makar is necessary to keep the athlete cycling at maximum power? Anyway, this test explains why Makar powered through the interval training like it ain’t no thing.


The VO2 test is perhaps the most dreaded. This is the test that has the prospects wearing Star Wars-esque masks:

The testers hook the prospects up to the mask to measure the amount of oxygen they use during cycling. The prospects are also wearing a heart monitor. The testers start with a a workload of 2.0 kp, and it’s increased by 1.0 kp every two minutes for three levels.

The two cycling tests seem to be the most intense for the prospects.

Next. 2019 NHL Combine for the Avs. dark

The 2019 NHL Combine began May 27 and continues to June 1. Colorado Avalanche — and all team — officials have been interviewing the prospects. Their medical exams took place on Wednesday.

The above tests begin tomorrow, Friday, with the majority of them taking place on Saturday. The Combine is in Buffalo, New York. The fitness testing is taking place at the HarborCenter.