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Athletic Trainer Neil Hoch Helps Ontario Team Bring Home Bronze

February 10, 2012

As a young hockey player growing up, Neil Hoch was a big fan of his hometown team, the Kitchener Rangers. So much so, that during the summer that he was 14, he asked the team if they needed help. By that September, Neil was working as an Assistant Trainer for the Ontario Hockey League club. As luck would have it, Neil joined the Rangers at the national Memorial Cup in 2003. “From there I learned to love the injury side of the game and wanted to pursue it as a career after high school,” recalls Neil. “I realized that I could do more and go farther in hockey by learning how to keep players on the ice, rather than actually playing.”

Sheridan’s Athletic Therapy degree program offered plenty of opportunities for Neil to both gain that knowledge and apply it, particularly during hands-on labs which “made it easier for me to retain all the treatment and diagnosis tests that we learned in class.”

The highly regarded athletic credential combined with Neil’s six seasons as trainer for the Kitchener Rangers, made him a good catch. Not surprisingly, Neil was snapped up by the Ottawa 67s a week after graduating in 2009 and has been the club’s Athletic Trainer ever since.

During this time, Neil has worked with many players who have been drafted into the NHL or have moved on to other professional hockey teams. “It is a real pleasure to work with such high-end elite athletes as they make my job fun and easy when it comes to treating their injuries. They are so appreciative of the work we do for them,” says Neil.

His skills were put to the test over the past year, during his stint as Athletic Trainer with Hockey Canada’s Team Ontario Under-17. After battling to the semi-finals, the team won the Bronze medal at the World Hockey Challenge in December 2011 in Windsor, marking the highlight of Neil’s career so far. “Our team suffered a lot of major injuries before and during the semi-final game versus Russia, and to watch all the players come together the next day after being so heartbroken the day before was amazing.”

Naturally, all major injuries need to be treated with extreme caution, says Neil, including head injuries which have been in the spotlight over the past year. “Dealing with players at this young age I need to be sure that I am helping them realize the long term effects of head injuries, and ensuring that they don’t rush back because they feel like they are letting the team down,” says Neil.

Neil Hoch

Neil Hoch

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