POWER partners: Fargo Force looking to build on USHL title

Junior hockey is a testament to commitment. Almost all players are teenagers that have moved away from friends and family to pursue opportunities in the sport.

That’s part of what has made the partnership between the Fargo Force and Sanford POWER work since 2008.

Certified strength and conditioning specialist, Sam Thielen, at Sanford POWER in Fargo, NDThe Force – the defending champions of the United States Hockey League (USHL) – do their off-ice strength and conditioning work at the Sanford POWER Center in Fargo. Certified strength and conditioning coach POWER coach Sam Thielen leads their work on that front. A former college baseball player, Thielen has been with POWER since 2014.

“It’s a huge plus any time an athlete can receive sport-specific training,” Fargo head coach and general manager Cary Eades said.

Eades is a veteran voice

Eades would know. The British Columbia, Canada, native was a four-year standout player at the University of North Dakota, tallying 85 goals and 79 assists with two national championships. He’s been a coach since 1985, working at the NCAA Division I, junior and high school levels.

Last season, Eades and the Force went 37-16-7 and won the first USHL championship in franchise history.

All the while, the team was training at Sanford POWER. The players focused on improving their athletic performances and preventing the likelihood of injury.

Sanford POWER works with hundreds of hockey players across the Upper Midwest every year, including the Bismarck Bobcats of the North American Hockey League and Sioux Falls POWER Hockey, a Tier-1 AAA program. The Fargo location even has a hockey treadmill.

Winning again – not defending

The Force are back on the ice in the 2018-19 season, and they hope to be the first team in 24 years to win back-to-back USHL Championships.

Sanford POWER will be there to help along the way. Over the summer, Eades and Thielen dissected previous workouts in order to identify ways to improve.

“Coach Eades and his staff have been great to work with,” Thielen said. “They see the value of strength training and maintenance in-season. Not all coaches do.”