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'She Is Phenomenal' Says Avs Prospect About Figure Skating Coach

DENVER (CBS4) - If I told you a former figure skater and figure skating coach was at the Colorado Avalanche development camp this week you might picture a bunch of guys in pads trying to do double axles and toe spins.

Yeah, not so much.

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Tracy Tutton (credit: CBS)

"We are working on a lot of edges, tight skating turns and learning how to protect the puck using skating skills," Tracy Tutton said, explaining one of the training sessions she had the Avs' prospects doing.

Tutton is a former competitive figure skater who has been a technical skating instructor for almost three decades. She worked with figure skaters for 25 years before switching to hockey full time a few years ago.

"Hockey has gotten so fast and the change of directions, the stops and starts, the puck protection -- it is unbelievable what they need to do to take it to another level," Tutton says.

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Tracy Tutton (credit: CBS)

So that's why more and more NHL teams are relying on skating experts like Tutton to help improve the skating technique of their young prospects.

"It has been great, she's a great coach," said A.J. Greer, a 2015 second round pick. "She has given me some hip soreness but it has been really working well. I love her practices. They are intense but also technical."

"She is phenomenal," said Conner Bleackley, a 2014 1st round pick. "Skating is the biggest part of the game and if you don't work on it you are going to hinder yourself."

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Tracy Tutton (credit: CBS)

But if you think being a woman would hinder Tutton's ability to work in the NHL, think again.

"It has been great," Tutton said about her acceptance by the NHL players. "If they are coming to me they want to learn."

Tutton has also worked with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Anaheim Ducks, and she has players travel to Toronto to train with her.

"They are elite athletes and they want to succeed," Tutton said. "A lot of them have never had technical skating instructions, they were just told to move their feet and skate hard."

"When she is doing her delivery to our group all eyes are on her," said David Oliver, Colorado Avalanche Director of Player Development. "They are focused and there is no question these guys are buying in."

Mark Haas is CBS4's weekend sports anchor and sports reporter. Read his bio or follow him on Twitter @markhaastv or on Facebook.

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