Vernon strength and conditioning coach Rhonda Catt meets Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman at the Tampa Bay Lightning development camp. (Photo Submitted)

Vernon’s Catt works with NHL Bolts

Vernon strength and conditioning coach invited to Tampa Bay development camp

For years, Stacy Roest turned to Lumby’s Rhonda Catt for pro offseason workout training.

Roest, a retired NHLer in his seventh season as Director of Player Development for the Tampa Bay Lightning, turned to Catt again for the Bolts’ prospect camps earlier this month.

“I’m always looking at making our development camp better and she trains a lot of pros and does a great job,” said Roest, who is based in Vernon and just signed a new three-year deal. “Now she knows our system and if we have players from this area, she can help us.”

Catt, 46, flew to Florida after the NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, spending a week testing 27 players in the new multi-million-dollar twin-rink training facility in Brandon, 10 minutes outside Tampa Bay.

“It’s a beautiful (18,000 square-foot) fitness/athletic development facility,” said Catt, a mother of two hockey-playing sons who has run Catt Conditioning for 20 years and coowns Excel Fitness downtown with Carla Rayner. “We were the first ones to use the place so nobody even knew how to work the TV remote. I got up close to how the organization runs and that was cool.”

Catt also rubbed shoulders with Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman, who has been the Bolts’ GM since 2010.

“I was very impressed how kind and humble he was,” said Catt. “It was an honour for me to meet him, but it was emotional because of (her late husband) Peter. I explained that he (Yzerman) was my husband’s favourite player and that he had died a couple of years ago.”

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Tampa Bay head strength and conditioning coach Mark Lambert had everything planned for the week so he, Syracuse Crunch’s Mark Powell and Catt could focus on pushing the prospects.

Vernon Vipers’ goalie Ty Taylor, drafted by the Bolts in Round 7 in the recent amateur lottery, was at the camp.

“Like all of them, he needs to be stronger, but he did fine,” said Roest, who played four seasons in the NHL and another nine with Rapperswil-Jona Lakers in the Swiss National League.

Catt loved Taylor’s never-surrender attitude at the Ice Sports Forum.

“Ty did great, I was proud of him,” said Catt, who does dryland training with the Vipers during the BCHL season. “There was a strongman competition on the last day and he really impressed me with his efforts. He was right there pushing sleds and carrying guys, all really tough drills.”

The prospects also went through on-ice sessions in two groups.

Catt, meanwhile, will be moving Excel into the new Kal Tire North rink in September. She currently works out pros Carter Rowney, Brady Brassart and Sahir Gill at her Excel outlet. She previously trained Stanley Cup champions Chris Osgood and Eric Godard for several summers.

“We will be re-branding as The Training House in what is a strength and conditioning facility for beginners to advanced active people. This is an amazing opportunity. I’ll be working closely with Stacy and that’s a big thing. Hopefully, we can get some of his players in there. It’s a huge advantage for the Vipers and minor hockey. The Vipers can train and walk downstairs to the rink.”

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Vernon’s Stacy Roest, Director of Play Development with the Tampa Bay Lightning, goes over a drill at a prospects ice session. (Photo Submitted) Vernon Vipers’ goalie Ty Taylor, a Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick, pushes weights at the NHL team’s development camp. (Photo Submitted)

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