MR. BIG

Scheifele comes to camp car­ry­ing 11 more pounds of mus­cle

SundayXtra - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Wiecek [email protected]­ress.mb.ca Twit­ter: @PaulWiecek

Mark Scheifele was among the play­ers sign­ing au­to­graphs for wee fans Satur­day at the Jets Fan Fest. The cen­tre has im­pressed many at the Win­nipeg Jets train­ing camp with his bulked-up physique

HE’S big­ger, way big­ger. But Mark Scheifele — who re­ported to train­ing camp 11 pounds heav­ier than last year and more than 30 pounds heav­ier than his rookie sea­son — is some­how ac­tu­ally faster this sea­son ac­cord­ing to the speed tests the Jets did other day.

How come when the rest of us put on weight we get slower, but when Scheifele puts on weight he gets faster?

Be­cause we just get fat­ter, while Scheifele gets stronger ev­ery sum­mer, thanks to the help of fit­ness guru and for­mer NHLer Gary Roberts.

“It’s not like I just went and ham­mered McDon­ald’s ev­ery day,” Scheifele grinned Satur­day fol­low­ing Day 2 of Jets train­ing camp at the MTS Ice­plex.

“I’m ob­vi­ously eat­ing the right food and do­ing the right things to main­tain my speed while putting on strength as well. It was a good sum­mer for that. I was happy I was able to put on a bunch of mus­cle and in­crease that weight...

“The way Gary ap­proaches it is un­be­liev­able. We did DNA test­ing this year to see what foods di­gest well in (my) sys­tem. I learned a lot of things about my body and the kind of ath­lete I am.”

Scheifele has been a dis­ci­ple of Roberts for as long as he’s been in the Jets or­ga­ni­za­tion, but the change in his body over this past sum­mer has been par­tic­u­larly pro­found.

Not only did Scheifele put on some se­ri­ous weight, but it all ap­pears to have been mus­cle. When he ap­peared in street clothes be­fore re­porters Satur­day he looked a lot more like a small CFL line­backer than the scrawny kid who first showed up in Win­nipeg in 2012.

Scheifele spent five days a week with Roberts in New­mar­ket, Ont., over the sum­mer, work­ing out and eat­ing right. And yes, you heard that right — get­ting his DNA tested.

“It was a DNA test to test what type of diet you should be on and what type of foods di­gest well in your sys­tem. The per cent that you’re a power ath­lete com­pared to an en­durance ath­lete. There’s a very in­tri­cate sys­tem — half the things I didn’t un­der­stand I had to get a nu­tri­tion­ist to tell us.

“But it’s a pretty cool thing to have done and that’s the way Gary is — he’s never sat­is­fied. He al­ways wants to make it bet­ter for his ath­letes and it proves out dur­ing the sea­son, I think.”

Jets head coach Paul Mau­rice says young NHLers bulk­ing up over the sum­mer is noth­ing new, but the way Scheifele has gone about it is ex­cep­tional and bodes well for the com­ing sea­son.

“It’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing — we have these young kids come in and even if we tell them it doesn’t mat­ter, they all go home and try to put on a lot of weight. They all think that’s the key, be­cause they walk into a room and see some enor­mous men.

“So they all think ‘I’ve got to get big­ger and I’ve got to get stronger.’ The way we want them to do it is by eat­ing all the right foods and train­ing re­ally hard. And that’s what’s hap­pened with Mark.

“He’s worked with Gary the last three or four sum­mers. So we know the work ethic is there and his diet is spec­tac­u­lar... His speed num­bers in the test­ing — and you can see it on the ice — he’s faster than he was last year. He’s put on more mass... that’s just Mark be­com­ing a man.”

Blake Wheeler — who along with Drew Stafford has been play­ing on a line with Scheifele through the first two days of camp — was asked if he thinks Scheifele is poised for the break­out sea­son many think is in­evitable.

“I cer­tainly hope so — I’m stuck with him,” said Wheeler with a laugh. “He’s made some def­i­nite strides. And I think for him it has noth­ing to do with his abil­ity. He cares so much. I think for a young guy that can some­times be a prob­lem as much as it is an as­set.

“He wants to do well, he works so hard out there that I think some­times he al­most goes a lit­tle slower than he would nor­mally if he just clears his head a lit­tle bit.

“But I think his con­fi­dence has grown. I think you saw in the sec­ond half of last year that he def­i­nitely took a step as a player. He was a con­fi­dent player and he’s as dy­namic a cen­tre as you’re go­ing to find in the NHL.

“He seems to have grown into his skin a lit­tle bit this year. He’s ma­tur­ing and the sky is the limit...”

RUTH BON­NEVILLE / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

RUTH BON­NEVILLE / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

The heav­ier, faster Mark Scheifele pun­ishes the ice sur­face dur­ing drills at ‘Jets Fanfare’ Satur­day at the MTS Ice­plex.

JOE BRYKSA / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

To­day, Mark Scheifele is 30 pounds heav­ier than when he at­tended his first Jets camp.

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