Cornell's ice hockey teams, both men and women, use this ice skating treadmill for training. Check out the video...
Has anyone ever used one of these or know anything about them? What are your thoughts?
This thing is awesome. We have one in Dublin California. Great tool to work on your stride. Also nice to be able to handle the puck in front of you on the surface.
This is probably too late of a reply to help you, but maybe it will help someone else.
I have been using the skating treadmill at Athletic Republic in Colorado Springs for about 7 months. I started playing hockey about 6-7 years ago at age 26/27 and became obsessed with it. I think I'm relatively athletic, and am typically on the ice 3-5 times a week. I'm relatively fit (24 minute 5k time, run 6 miles, lift weights twice a week, etc.).
I found that the treadmill improved my top-end speed first. I went from being in the top half of my league in terms of speed to being in the top 10%. After that, my speed seemed to level off and my endurance and recovery made a big jump. My trainer really pushes me hard - I end up collapsed on the floor almost every session, and I have trouble walking down the stairs after each session as well. While he kills me twice a week on the treadmill, games have become easy. I can go 100% for a full shift, and after a minute rest I'm fully recovered and ready to go for my next shift. I finish each game with lots of energy left in the tank. When I travel for tournaments, I feel great and well rested before the 5th game in 3 days - hockey just doesn't fatigue me any more.
I think my stride was pretty good before I started using the treadmill, so it hasn't changed all that much. I do get a deeper knee bend and better extension now. I also am better able to get my power through the full length of my blade and throughout my stride.
I will say that you need to stick with it and really need to have a trainer who works with you to meet your goals. For most people I've seen on the treadmill, it takes 2-4 sessions to just learn how to skate on it - it feels different than ice. After that, the 5th-10th sessions will show your biggest gains. Hopefully your speed will improve during this time, and towards the end you'll begin to see an improvement in your recovery during games. After the 10th session I started to see smaller gains - my legs seemed to get bigger and more muscular, and we started working on stressing me in different ways (incline, speed, shorter intervals, etc.).
It's not a prefect single source for hockey training, though. It will not help your lateral agility or backwards skating. I saw my puck skills decrease a bit because this replaced some sticks and pucks time. And, after a few months the gains start to plateau. I'm at a point where I can fly around all game, so any further gains won't help my game much. I am worried about stopping though because I worry that even with running and weight lifting I'll start to lose some of the gains I've made.