Hockey fans familiar with retired NHLer P.J. Stock will remember that he was much more likely to drop the gloves than light the goal lamp.
For those unfamiliar with the gritty left-winger from Montreal, a cursory glance at his career totals reveals all the background info you need to know.
Stock scored five goals in 235 NHL games, while racking up 523 penalty minutes.
Yes, it was sheer grit that helped Stock break into the big show.
And it was his passion for fitness that kept him there for eight seasons.
“When I made it to the National Hockey League, my skill set was probably not at the top of the list of what I could bring to the table,” the 37-year-old Hockey Night in Canada panelist tells Sun Media at a recent press event introducing Reebok’s new Training collection.
“I relied on energy to be able to compete with those guys that were much better than me. And the way I was able to do that was to make sure I was in better shape than all of them.”
But for Stock, it was a labour of love.
“I’ve always been in love with fitness,” he adds. “It has been a passion of mine.”
Of course, his fitness regimen has evolved significantly over the years — especially on the nutrition side.
“The diet of a hockey player when I was playing was pizza, spaghetti, beer,” laughs Stock, who played with the New York Rangers (1997-2000), Montreal Canadiens (2000), Philadelphia Flyers (2000-2001) and Boston Bruins (2001-2004).
“It’s so different now. The training, the diet, it has completely changed.”
Stock points to an old-school, muscle-isolating machine such as the pec deck to illustrate the progress made in the fitness industry not only in workout apparatus but also in training philosophy.
“The pec deck, those days are gone. It’s a whole new way of training, a whole new thought process,” he explains.
“As a hockey player, I was training completely different. I was eating completely different. And now I’m living a life where I know better, I train differently and I’m hopefully helping other people do the same.”
Stock, a muscular 200 pounds at five-foot-10, is part owner of a gym in Montreal called Adrenaline Performance Centre.
The training facility’s high-profile clients include Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Benoit Pouliot, Calgary Flames winger Jiri Hudler and UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald.
The gym is also open to the public.
“Just because you’re not a professional athlete, why can’t you train like them? That’s the philosophy behind the gym,” Stock says, noting the facility is composed largely of functional-training equipment.
The one-time competitor on the reality TV show Battle of the Blades urges new clients to be patient.
“The hardest thing is when people start working out, they expect to see immediate gains,” he says.
“Don’t get frustrated. It takes time. Set yourself some achievable goals and grow with them. And just push yourself.”
Stock also advises clients not to neglect their nutrition because, by his estimates, that’s 90 per cent of the fitness equation.
“Diet is so important,” he notes.
“I’m not going to tell anyone you’ve got to just eat kale and salmon. You’ve got to make sure you enjoy life. At the same time, you have to understand that if you want to train a different way, there are sacrifices you have to make to make sure that you’re living healthy in the long run.”
That’s where the passion comes in.
Earlier this year, Stock signed on as an endorsee of Reebok Canada’s new Training collection. The company’s current campaign slogan, “Live With Fire,” has struck a chord with Stock.
“You’ve got to live your life that way,” he says. “I do it in everything.”
— CARY CASTAGNA, Sun Media News Services