Transition to Goalie – Initial Thoughts

I just had my 4th ice time between the pipes and it’s been quite the ride so far.

1st ice time – A pick up game with a group I normally play ‘out’ (as a skater) with:

The first thing I really needed to get accustomed to was getting into a routine.  As a skater I would always pack my bag the same way and put on my gear in the same order every ice time.  My main priority was to develop a routine and throughout the course of my first couple of ice times figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Growing up in the 90’s and watching goaltenders like Kirk McLean and Mike Richter playing the stand up style of hockey really influenced myself in the style I played on the street.  Because of that my initial reaction to blocking shots is to do a kick save instead of the more conventional butterfly style where you try to cover the bottom of the net as much as possible.  I understand how players like Gretzky were able to score 92 goals in a season back in the day because it has to do with how much goaltending techniques have evolved and improved over the years.  Some may think that only the fat kids can play goalie but it’s far from that.  Goaltending has become so specialized over the years that athletes have to be fit to play the position.

It was very difficult to slide on the ice and in total I let in something outrageous like 16 goals but the majority of them were 2-on-1, 2-on-0 or breakaways so my chances of stopping those were already pretty slim to begin with, especially for a beginner.  A couple of the shots should’ve been routine saves but I mishandled them.

2nd ice time – Stick & Puck with a friend:

I strapped on the pads at the Richmond Olympic Oval and whoever thought of having the rink and dressing rooms on different levels obviously never played hockey before.  The elevator was out of order so  I had to walk up a flight of stairs in full gear just to get to the ice, mind you these steps are not extra wide or anything to accommodate for goaltenders with big equipment.

This time I focused on my technique and more importantly, being able to butterfly slide.  One mistake I learned was not to have too narrow of a stance.  The reason behind this is if you have a wide stance and you drop to your knees and close your 5 hole, the pads will rotate and will be square to the shooter.  If your stance is too narrow the pads won’t be able to rotate and the face of the pad will be on the ice.  This is a problem because it exposes your knee and even though there are thigh boards giving you a bit of protection, it WILL hurt if you get shot there.  I learned this the hard way.

3rd & 4th ice time – Morning Hockey Clinic

I faced a lot of shots during these two clinics and I’m already starting to develop bad habits such as playing too deep in the crease.  At the end of the 4th session I’m doing alright with all the far shots and rebound control but shooters are still getting the best of me in close.  I’m also getting beat quite a bit in the 5 hole when I butterfly slide because of poor stick discipline.  I need to be aware of these things during my next couple of ice times but the positive is I am getting better slowly with experience.

Overall the experience has been quite interesting.  I went from a skater with barely 2 ice times per week to a goalie with 4 ice times and the best part is I get to play for free.  I also have a goalie bag with no wheels.  Many have asked how can a guy who is 5′ 9″ lug around such a huge bag but I have always been a firm believer of if you can’t carry your own bag it’s time to hang up the skates.  So I don’t understand why players need wheels for a bag that is half the size of my goalie bag.  You don’t see wheel bags in the NHL either…

– M

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2 Responses to “Transition to Goalie – Initial Thoughts”

  1. Yeah, ok der.

    NHL players don’t carry their own bags, dum dum. I have wheels on my bag and bet I’m 20x the player you’ll ever be. So you are a dum dum.

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