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Community Comment: As the hockey season ends, a tribute to goalies

A tap on the pads goes a long way for a goalie
Hockey goalie stance
There’s a couple things I have to remind coaches and parents about goaltenders, writes community columnist Brad Sherwin.

I’ve been coaching hockey goalies for more than 10 years.

I was a goalie as a kid. I wanted to be a goalie because you stayed on the ice the whole game. A little selfish I guess, but it was fun.

I started coaching when my son played hockey. He moved to skateboarding, I stuck with the player between the pipes. I’ve coached hundreds of young athletes. I have and continue to learn a lot about the position.

One thing is for sure – you don’t want to watch a hockey game with me. Unless you want to see a save or a goal replayed over and over and over again.

Being a goalie in hockey is one of the most difficult roles in sports. You have to be a great skater, be fearless as the puck is fired at you, and be resilient enough to get over a puck that gets past you. As Ted Lasso says, be a goldfish. Goldfish can’t remember what happened 10 seconds ago. Be a goldfish.

There’s a couple things I have to remind coaches and parents about goaltenders.

First, they are one player on the team, not the whole team. Their role is to make up for everyone else’s errors. If someone gets by a player, the goalie has to make up for that.

Second, limit shots on goal. Every shot that’s ‘not’ taken is one less opportunity for a goal. And every goal that gets scored needs at least one and sometimes two goals at the other end to get back in the lead. I wish players got rewarded for breaking up a play, because it’s just as important as a goal or an assist.

Finally, the TV highlights are examples of what not to do – you don’t have to scramble so much when you are in the correct position.

Goalies are fragile. When the puck gets by them, they feel it, more than anyone else on the ice. Goalies playing with confidence can win you a game. With the playoffs in full swing for minor hockey, make sure your goalie goes into the game thinking nothing can get by them. So that fancy dangle move you did in warm-up, flipping it past ‘your’ goalie and celebrating like you won the lottery, won’t help.

A tap on the pads goes a long way for a goalie.

So little to ask, when they always have your back.

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