Hockey: Puck-smashing Bobcats try out new chocolate milk recovery regimen

Ohio forward Michael Harris drinks a cup of Snowville Creamery’s chocolate milk after practice. The local business is donating 13.5 gallons of chocolate milk per week to the hockey team. (Daniel Kubus | Staff Photographer)

In the spirit of “no-shave November,” members of Ohio’s hockey team are growing out their facial hair. But those aren’t the only mustaches becoming popular at Bird Arena.

Milk mustaches have become a prevalent sighting inside and outside the locker room, as team doctor Dan Black set up a deal with Snowville Creamery that gives the team 13.5 gallons of chocolate milk per week.

Head athletic trainer Jerod Keene said chocolate milk possesses the necessary nutrients that allow athletes to recuperate after exerting themselves.

“(Chocolate milk) has the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes that an athlete needs for recovery after exercise,” Keene said. “And part of what makes it good is that it tastes good, so they’ll drink it.”

Before Snowville first started producing chocolate milk in Spring 2011, owner Warren Taylor knew studies existed that stated the best drink to have after strenuous activity was chocolate milk.

“When you do that hard work, you need protein, and you don’t get that from sugar water with minerals in it,” Taylor said. “At this point, no one has discovered anything better than chocolate milk.”

A normal, 8-oz. glass of chocolate milk contains anywhere from eight to nine grams of protein. Snowville’s chocolate milk holds more than 14 grams in a conventional glass, which Taylor said makes his dairy’s milk ideal for the hockey team.

“That’s more protein and less carbohydrates than a protein bar,” he said. “The protein in our chocolate milk is a much higher quality of protein. … First of all, it’s from grass-fed cows, and the fact that they’re fed grass changes the nutrition of the protein and the fat, and secondly, our milk is fresher.”

Coach Dan Morris said it’s too early to say if the milk is having any immediate benefits, but he feels it could be beneficial in the long run. It also helps that his players enjoy the product.

“It’s a long season, and this is our first week with the chocolate milk, so we’ll see how it goes,” Morris said. “Physically, it helps them out, but also, the guys like it.”

Morris admires the way his training staff and his players go to such great efforts to take care of themselves before, during and after the game.

“I give Dr. Black and our team a lot of credit, because they’re very concerned about their nutrition,” Morris said. “Hockey is a very physically demanding sport, not only from the wear and tear from the physicality of the game, but also the cardio involved. … We’ll take anything that works, and (chocolate milk) certainly can’t hurt.”

The coaching and training staff told senior forward Nick Rostek about the benefits the milk will have on the recovery of his body, and he said the team members have embraced the addition to their postgame diet.

“The team seems to really enjoy it,” Rostek said. “They always fight and battle over it jokingly. ... I was told it was the best thing you can have after physical activity, so I guess we’re going to have to wait and find out if that’s true.”

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