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NHL Players Teach Hockey Hopefuls at Mayo Sports Clinic

Created: 06/04/2014 10:44 PM KAALtv.com

(ABC 6 News) -- The Stanley Cup finals kicked off in Los Angeles Wednesday night. But some NHL players are training right here in Rochester this week at the new Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center.

National Hockey League players Mark Stuart and Nate Thompson know a thing or two about dominating the ice. But training on a skating treadmill and synthetic ice is still challenge, even for them.

"We both felt like Bambi out there, but after a couple days we got used to it,” said Nate Thompson, Assistant Captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning. "This is an eye opener for me, I mean I’m almost 30 years old and this is a facility I’ve never seen before,” he said.

The two have been training at Mayo all week, but Wednesday night it was about teaching kiddos the hard work it takes to climb up the ladder in sports. Which at Mayo's Sports Medicine Center, it starts with the basics, an evaluation and checking the strength and balance of each athlete. Then it's time to improve sports specific skills.

"We can do video analysis of their skating stride, we can also use the facility for rehabilitation, so after injury or surgery for our hockey players we can get them back on the artificial ice on the treadmill as part of their return to the sport,” said Dr. Michael Stuart, Co-Director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center.

"Wow, just blown away, I mean it's the Mayo Clinic and they do things top notch all the way,” said Todd Huyber, hockey parent.

With the future of hockey clinging to every stride these professionals take, the NHL players know it's a facility like this that will bring the kids another step closer to their dream.

"Sky is the limit, having all the right tools for all these kids, I think it's going to be great for them and I hope they have a blast doing it,” said Thompson.

Mayo's Sports Medicine Center isn't just for hockey players. There's cutting edge training and nutrition for all athletes of any age.