Skip to main content

Elite Trainer

03/19/2013 02:47PM, Published by Anonymous, Categories: In Print, Community




story: Jim Dyar photo courtesy of Don Smith/San Jose Sharks

As a freshman at Anderson High School in the late 1970s, Ray Tufts discovered the book “The First Aider” by the Cramer Sports Medicine Co., and used it as a guide to help athletes recover from sprains, bumps and bruises.

Back then, the field of sports medicine was in its infancy. Wherever Tufts went, however, he soaked up information about how to keep athletes healthy.

Tufts continues that endeavor today. The Happy Valley native has been the head trainer for the San Jose Sharks professional hockey team for the past 13 years. In February, he’ll serve as a trainer for the U.S. Olympic Team as it competes in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Tufts will work primarily with the U.S. men’s hockey team.

“It’s quite an honor,” says Tufts, 45, by phone from his home in Los Gatos. “Hockey’s obviously something I really enjoy and, being that it’s in Canada, it’s going to be the top-billed sport by far. I love Vancouver and the building where we’re playing is where we (the Sharks) play the Canucks.”

In June following the NHL season, Tufts got a call from Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson saying USA Hockey was interested in having him work the Olympics. Tufts was excited by the opportunity, but his analytical side soon kicked in. NHL teams take two weeks off for the Olympics, but a pro trainer’s duties never really subside that much.

“You always want to make sure you’re prepared,” Tufts says. “There’s a lot that goes into something like this, and you want to make sure you can walk through that door with confidence.”

Being prepared is a big reason Tufts has enjoyed such success during his career. After graduating from Anderson in 1982, he worked under longtime Shasta College trainer Mike Vanderwerf, who saw a spark in the young man. Vanderwerf had a connection with San Francisco 49ers trainer Lindsy McLean and thought Tufts could land an internship position with the team during its summer camp.

Tufts got on with Niners and eventually worked his way into a full-time job. He served as an assistant trainer with the team from 1987 through 1996, earning three Super Bowl rings as San Francisco won NFL titles in 1989, 1990 and 1995.

“Ray’s kind of a can’t-miss person,” Vanderwerf says. “Once you were around him and saw his work ethic and how well he does his job, you just knew this kid was going to do well. He has all the tools. He’s personable, reliable and picks up things really quickly. At Anderson, he was kind of self-taught. When he had someone to teach him things, he was like a sponge. He was the best student trainer I ever had at Shasta College.”

Tufts, who graduated from Sacramento State University, learned the nuisances of working with pro athletes under people like McLean and Fred Tedeschi, now the head trainer with the Chicago Bulls. Being around athletes like Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott was an education into the minds and bodies of super-elite athletes.

“It’s very much a people business,” Tufts says. “I’ve been fortunate to work with very high-caliber athletes. Their desire to return to the playing field is paramount. It’s a very satisfying feeling to know you helped them achieve that.

“You can’t be cocky, but you have to be confident to work with these kinds of athletes. They come to you in confidence because they know they can work with you to regain their full strength and get back to work.”

With the Sharks, Tufts has attended hundreds of surgeries, which he believes helps the athletes trust that he’s there for them through every phase of their recovery. Sometimes that means players on his doorstep in the early morning or late at night. It’s an all-encompassing job, which includes managing a staff of an assistant trainer, a strength and conditioning coach and a massage therapist. He also coordinates the schedules of Bay Area physicians who attend games and perform surgeries.

Fortunately, Tufts’ wife Michelle, a Toronto native, understands hockey and the demands on her husband. The couple is expecting their first child in January. Tufts’ family in Cottonwood includes his mother, Jo, father, Bob, sister, Barbara and brother, Rob.

When Tufts made the switch from football to hockey in 1996, it brought in a brand new set of challenges. Hockey players do things like break their jaws and still want to finish games. They’re also, in general, very appreciative of what Tufts and his staff do.

“In hockey, the players get into a car wreck two or three times a week, as opposed to once a week (for football),” Tufts said. “You’re standing on a piece of steel going 35 miles an hour, and they’re in incredible cardiovascular condition. But they also tend to really appreciate your time and always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ I still hear guys say, ‘May I get a towel, please?’ ”

For a guy who started young in the business and remains young at 45, Tufts still has a long career ahead of him. “It took me a long time to get older than the athletes,” Tufts said. “I’ve had 20 years in the business and it’s just starting to feel like I’m hitting a bit of stride with athletes.”



spotlight


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/28/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 28, 2017 at A...


  • Shasta Bike Challenge

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Under the guidance of several longtime RMB members, you will be guided through the process of m...


  • Work Readiness Event

    03/30/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Nervous about finding a job? Not sure how to get started? Come to the 2nd annual Work Readiness E...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/30/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 30, 2017 at S...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/30/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Tarzan

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header We...


  • Love Your Pet Expo 2017

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    10th annual free pet-friendly event, with charity auction, pet adoptions, low cost vaccines, hear...


  • Friends of Shasta County Libraries

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    On Saturday, April 1st, 2017, the Friends of the Shasta County Libraries will sell gently used bo...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/01/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    04/01/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • 2017 Young Artist Showcase

    04/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    HIGHLAND ART CENTER ANNUAL YOUNG ARTIST’S SHOWCASE Weaverville, CA, March 22, 2017– It’s t...


  • Bunco Night Fundraiser

    04/01/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for a fun night of rolling dice! It's BUNCO time! This is a fun fundraiser that benefits ...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Rumi’s Caravan brings to life the rich tradition of ecstatic poetry, featuring the mystical poems...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header ...


  • Mojo Child at The Dip

    04/01/2017
    08:00PM

    "The Feast is about to begin..." -Jim Morrison Mojo Child delivers Doors music that is fun, en...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This event includes hundreds of exhibits with merchandise, product demonstrations and sample inte...


  • Spring 2017 Home and Garden Expo

    03/26/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Popovics Home and Garden Expo is coming to the Shasta District Fair and Event Center! This is y...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/28/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 28, 2017 at A...


  • Shasta Bike Challenge

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Under the guidance of several longtime RMB members, you will be guided through the process of m...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    03/29/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesday and get $3 off a growler fill.


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/29/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Work Readiness Event

    03/30/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Nervous about finding a job? Not sure how to get started? Come to the 2nd annual Work Readiness E...


  • Free Retail Healthy Food Sampling

    03/30/2017
    03:00PM — 04:30PM

    Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Free retail healthy food samplings on March 30, 2017 at S...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/30/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • Tarzan

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

    03/31/2017
    07:00PM

    Be Our Guest! You are invited to come to SSCCC’s amazing presentation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header We...


  • Love Your Pet Expo 2017

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    10th annual free pet-friendly event, with charity auction, pet adoptions, low cost vaccines, hear...


  • Friends of Shasta County Libraries

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    On Saturday, April 1st, 2017, the Friends of the Shasta County Libraries will sell gently used bo...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/01/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    04/01/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • 2017 Young Artist Showcase

    04/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    HIGHLAND ART CENTER ANNUAL YOUNG ARTIST’S SHOWCASE Weaverville, CA, March 22, 2017– It’s t...


  • Bunco Night Fundraiser

    04/01/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for a fun night of rolling dice! It's BUNCO time! This is a fun fundraiser that benefits ...


  • Tarzan

    04/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Rumi’s Caravan brings to life the rich tradition of ecstatic poetry, featuring the mystical poems...


  • This Year Come to Red Bluff and Celebrate All Fool's Day aka April Fools Day! A Double Header ...


  • Mojo Child at The Dip

    04/01/2017
    08:00PM

    "The Feast is about to begin..." -Jim Morrison Mojo Child delivers Doors music that is fun, en...


  • Clear Creek Wildflowers and Wild Plants

    04/02/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Come walk with David Ledger from the Native Plant Society. Enjoy the beauty of blooming wildflow...


  • Tarzan

    04/02/2017
    02:00PM

    Based on Disney's epic animated musical adventure, Tarzan features heart-pumping music by rock le...


  • Mornings with Mommy

    04/04/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    Mornings with Mommy isn't preschool and it isn't childcare. It's something different. Mornings wi...


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/04/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


  • Artistic Endeavors Spring Open House

    04/05/2017
    09:30AM — 11:30AM

    ***Raffle*** ***Paintings*** *** Pottery*** ***Jewelry*** ***Sewing Crafts*** ***Refreshment...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    04/05/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesday and get $3 off a growler fill.


  • Art Roster 5th Annual Forgery Show

    04/05/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Forgery Show is an annual art exhibit featuring the work of Mt. Shasta's ArtRoster Atelier pa...


Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors