Along with representing the Canterbury Red Devils for over a decade, Chris Eaden is the recipient of numerous MVP awards and is one of our game’s most prolific goal scorers. You could say Eaden is already an ice hockey legend in New Zealand.
After encountering some stiff defensive play from his dog Beauden, I was
able to talk to Chris at his strength and conditioning gym ‘The Eaden Project’
which he established four years ago. The gym was a natural outcome of his
dedication to, and understanding of, the importance of individual physical
development and fitness, and his story provides plenty of inspiration for young
players looking to reach the top-level in ice hockey.
He started playing hockey when he was eight years old but was overlooked for
regional and national team selection until he was 16. For Chris, this was not a
deterrent, but a compelling reason to perfect his preparedness for the game.
As Chris says “talent alone won’t get you there. Hard work and doing things
over and over until you get them right” is what is required. “Getting to the gym
at an early age and doing the right kind of training saw my game escalate.”
Eaden is returning for the 2018 NZIHL season with greater passion than
ever after an energizing sabbatical over the summer months. With the Stanley
Cup Playoffs on and the season looming he’s itching to get back on the ice. For the coming season Chris says there is a lot to be excited about, “This year’s team is an exciting mix of young players with terrific imports. I’m one of the oldest players on the team now!”
He is just as enthusiastic about the Devils set up this year with a strong
professional management and coaching group that provides clear direction
and goals for the team. Interestingly, Chris likens the team to a family where
there is a natural flow of advice, understanding and expectation as well as a
shared sense of purpose.
By the time our conversation had ended, big Beauden was sitting on the sofa
next to me – clearly I had become an accepted part of the team, and Chris had
almost signed me up for a fitness program at the Eaden Project.
Main photo: Jemma Wells.