Five years ago when Peabody High hockey coach Mark Leonard took Team Mass. to Minnesota for a tournament he was impressed with a couple of places there for off ice-training, designed to improve shooting and stick handling skills.
The idea of opening a similar facility around here has been in the back of his mind for quite a while, and now his dream has become a reality with the opening of the Northshore Hockey Factory at Danvers Indoor Sports which is located at 150R Andover St. (Route 114).
He has 800 square feet of dry land flooring tiles, four hockey nets, and all the latest stick handling, passing, and shooting devices.
“I’m really excited,” said Leonard, who was an outstanding player for the Tanners and went on to have a fine career at UConn. He has been the head coach at Peabody High for 19 years and picked up his 200th win this past season. “We’ll have various size weighted pucks as well as a white puck that is difficult to see; it’s all about playing without looking at the puck. I want this to be a fun place for kids of all ages to go to work on their hands and get a feel for the puck when it’s on their blade.
“We have a special floor made of dry land hockey tiles which creates a smooth area so the puck will slide easily. We also have all the latest equipment for drills.”
Pass Master, Fast Hands Trainer, Attack Triangle, Sweet Hands Dangler, and Quick Stickz Training System are all tools Leonard will use. Fast Hands uses obstacles to stick handle the puck or ball through or shoot over, Quick Stickz is a computer program, while Sweet Hands is another tool to improve stick control. At the clinics toe drags and backhand skills will also be taught.