What do Figure Skating and Ice Hockey have in common? Ask the Syracuse Crunch

Barb Underhill works with Syracuse Crunch Center Tanner Richard

Many members of the Syracuse Crunch hockey team have been to the Calder Cup in the past two seasons (going back to their time in Norfolk as well)

Believe it or not, there's a secret to the team's success.

Her name is Barb Underhill. She's an incredibly accomplished figure skater, representing Canada at the Olympics in 1980 and 1984 and winning a World Championship in 1984.

These days, Underhill works for the Tampa Bay Lightning, teaching the organization's players to have better skating technique.

That includes the stars in Syracuse.

Underhill says this job "fell into my lap" and certainly wasn't something she dreamt up.

Still, the results speak for themselves. Tampa is notorious for the best farm system in hockey, and about half of its current NHL-playoff level roster was in the minors in the last couple seasons.

It's clear, Underhill's experience as an Olympian and World Champion instantly garnered the respect and appreciation of the players. She tells me that former Crunch star J.P. Cote wrote her a "thank you" note when he finally landed his first NHL contract.

Watch the video, to see Barb at work with the Syracuse Crunch.

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