San Jose Sharks goalie coach Thomas Speer was trying to come up with a fun game to wind down the 90-minute daily ice times at the NET360 Goalie Camp this summer, while still maintaining the skills-building approach the event was founded on.
The result was something he dubbed “Goalie Tennis,” a competitive game that also emphasized several important aspects of puck handling beyond simply shooting the puck. Speer debuted the game at the end of a session with Team Canada’s Kristin Campbell and a trio of juniors on Tuesday, and by the end of the week every goalie was asking if they could play too.
“I was thinking about ways for goalies to play the puck all the time instead of a coach rimming it from the wall,” Speer said. “It adds competition to playing the puck for the goalies. It’s goalie on goalie instead of a player or coach ripping the puck, and what I really want to see is goalies making quick transitions with the puck behind the net. If they are on their backhand, it’s a lot harder but that’s the whole point is they can transition the puck quick and make quick plays.”
The premise was simple, even if the rules evolved during the week. It starts by placing a second net at the outside hash marks of the face-off circle, being careful to keep the distance between the back of the net and boards the same as the space that is behind a normal net.
We’ll let Speer explain the game itself, just as he did for that first group in Kelowna:
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