There’s something magical about Christmas time for goalies. Right up to the biggest NHL stars, it’s hard to find a goalie who doesn’t have a fond memory of finding a special piece of equipment under the tree. Whether it was a new stick, a custom mask or full set of pads and gloves, for some that special present either inspired or cemented a love for the position. For others it sometimes signified a step up to getting more serious about it, but every goalie has a story.
InGoal Magazine looks forward to sharing a collection of those stories from NHL goalies every Christmas, but for now we want to help make this year a memorable one by sharing some of our favorite items from the past year sure to brighten the big day for the goalie in your life.
For those of you organized enough to already have your goalie’s stockings stuffed, there are also some great savings listed below just in case you want to stuff your own equipment bag instead, because let’s face it, because let’s face it, it’s important to practice self-care as well!
So, in no particular order, here are items that every goalie might enjoy:
GIFT OF GOALTENDING
We used to play modest and put ourselves at the bottom of the list as “last but certainly not least” but we’re going a bit bolder now because seriously, we think a gift subscription to InGoal Premium is the perfect gift for all goalies, and because we deliver digitally, you can buy right up to the last minute.
Seriously, though, what could be better than a full year of access to tips, drills and advice from top NHL goaltenders and goalie coaches? How about four full years for the price of one?
That’s right, buy a one-year gift subscription to InGoal Premium and you not only get access for the upcoming year, but you also get access to our entire archive of three years of premium content, featuring more than 200 Pro-Reads with 36 NHL goalies doing video review sessions to help young goalies learn to read the game better, plus more than 600 other articles including Pro Tips and Pro Drills from top goalies and coaches like Thatcher Demko, Carey Price, Carter Hart, Connor Hellebuyck, Ian Clark, Bob Essensa and many more.
You can order a gift subscription to start anytime, including Christmas morning, and we have gift certificates that can be downloaded with images of their favorite goalie to make sure you have something to put in their stocking or under the tree with this gift.
And if you love listening to our feature interviews on the InGoal Radio Podcast you can now subscribe to our premium podcast channel to listen to archived interviews on their own. There are more than 250 there already with new interviews added each week. You can even gift a gift subscription to our premium podcast channel. With the ads and chit chat from each week’s show removed, you can focus on the main feature of each show as you binge listen to the best goalies and coaches in the world talk about — and share advice on playing — this great position.
NEW REALITY FOR GOALIE TRAINING
We’ve been banging the drum for Sense Arena for years on the InGoal Radio Podcast, but you don’t have to just take our word on the value of position-specific virtual reality training for goalies. Instead, ask Joey Daccord, who used it between periods with the Seattle Kraken.
“I didn’t feel like I was super dialed with my glove, like my glove was as clean as I want it to be,” Daccord said. “So, I turned it on, lined it up to do high glove, middle glove, low glove and just caught a bunch of pucks in the intermission, and then I went back out and my glove felt better.”
Daccord uses NHL Sense Arena as part of his preparations before every start, including cognitive drills and making saves off both computer-generated shooters and actual NHL shooters.
“I usually start with some of the cognitive warm-up drills that get your brain firing and then I get into the goalie cannon which is a drill where I can take exactly where I want the shot to come from and where I want it to go,” he said. “I use that as a warm-up to dial-in my mechanics, make sure I’m making every single blocker save and glove save perfectly. One of the cool things about Sense Arena is you can see exactly where the puck hits your blocker. It lights up green exactly where the puck mark is, so I try to make sure every shot goes perfectly in the pocket of my glove or dead center on my blocker. From there, I move into the video drills with real shooters: there’s NHL shooters doing drills and right before the puck gets to you it switches from a real puck to a virtual puck. I do mostly those and that’s what I finish with.”
Daccord’s training plan and game-day routine is actually available for others to try within the program, which recently rebranded from Sense Arena to NHL Sense Arena. The new version allows goalies at every level to go into NHL locker rooms, step onto the ice at NHL arenas, and compete wearing — and against – the jerseys of all 32 NHL teams. There program has also increased its interactivity, allowing goalies to compete against peers all over the world, or just against themselves, with diagnostic tools like play and puck tracking percentages.
The idea is to bring goalies at every into the NHL virtually but the reality is Sense Arena is already there, in the locker rooms with goalies like Daccord, Devon Levi and Eric Comrie.
“I use it to takes shots, see pucks, and just get warm,” Levi said. “I use it on off days, if I want to get on the ice but there is no ice. I’ve also used it when I was injured when I’m not able to get into the gear. I still have the opportunity to go get pucks, go see pucks, go read releases.”
Even better, NHL Sense Arena has a pre-Christmas sale for 50% off when you purchase an annual subscription, and it includes sleeves so you can use your glove and blocker. It’s ideal for anyone who already has a VR headset but if not, you can add one to your purchase. Remember to use the code IGM50 at checkout to save even more!
GIVE GIFT OF BETTER HAND-EYE COORDINATION
When InGoal asked Jake Oettinger what he does to get his eyes ready to play, the Dallas Stars No. 1 immediately turned to his stall in locker room and grabbed a bag with a picture of a giant eyeball with muscular arms flexing on either side.
We recognized the logo immediately. It’s from True Focus Vision, a Minnesota company run by visual performance specialist Josh Tucker, who has worked with 30 NHL goalies and 12 NHL teams over 18 years.
“All the hand-eye work keeps you sharp and keeps your brain guessing and that’s a good thing,” said Oettinger, who met Tucker at a gym in his hometown late this summer. “I didn’t get to do the full program this summer like I wanted to, but next summer I’m going to do the full program with Josh.”
In the past, goalies had to travel to see Josh or vice versa to access the True Focus program, but now anyone can access the training through their recently launched online Hand-Eye Training Membership. It features dozens of drills for goalies of all ages and skill levels, including the drills they use with NHL goalies.
True Focus even has a special Christmas season offer for InGoal readers.
In addition to a Free 7-Day Trial for all subscribers, sign up before Jan 1st for an exclusive InGoal discount on your first 12 months.
It’s an ideal gift for goalie parents or grandparents looking to help the goalie on their Christmas shopping list, or for goalie coaches looking for position-specific hand-eye drills to do with goalies 1-on-1 or at larger camps.
$20/month (monthly plan)
$15/month (annual plan)
InGoal Discount Codes
Use code: INGOAL25 for the monthly discount.
Use code: INGOAL40 for the annual discount.
NEW GOALIE GEAR (AND ACCESSORIES)
FROM THE HOCKEY SHOP
Nothing is better under the tree than new equipment. As we’ve written Christmas columns over the years, many an NHL career was sparked in part by a special gift of goalie equipment. Whether it’s a big-ticket item like pads and gloves, a hard-to-wrap (and harder-to-hide) stick, or smaller accessories to stuff the stocking, who better to turn to for great ideas — and even better savings — than our weekly InGoal Radio Podcast equipment expert Cam Matwiv from The Hockey Shop.
We’re going to start with an item that debuted on those InGoal gear segments just a couple of weeks ago, quickly sold out, but is back in stock and makes a perfect short notice stocking stuffer, the new Trinity padded glove from Paddle Wedge:
Cam has also put together a list of the top items from 2023 as part of a goalie-specific gift giving guide that you can access by clicking here.
A WIDER, STRONGER, HEALTHIER BUTTERFLY
Our good friend Maria Mountain has worked for year to help goalies right up to the NHL get stronger, faster and more injury proof, but perhaps the best part of her Goalie Training Pro programs is how they are always expanding and evolving to help more goalies.
That includes her Butterfly Challenge 3.0 to help you add two to four inches to your butterfly flare – and it’s free! – as well as the recently added, adults only Beer League Boot Camp for in-season training (it’s been an invaluable addition for us old guys at InGoal), her Game Winning Goalie Formula for more individualized training led by Maria, and a brand new program for young goalies ages 10-13 that is so fresh it’s not even on listed her website yet.
You can’t go wrong with any of these programs, which are often instantly accessible on short notice, but check out Maria’s website to find out which one is best for you (or the goalie on your Christmas shopping list).
CUSTOM MASKS (AND PADS) FOR LESS
Getting a custom-painted goalie mask is on the Christmas wish list of a lot of goalies every year, but that takes time to organize and the reality is not everyone needs or can afford high-end custom paint. The good news is there are reasonably priced alternatives.
Custom Cages is a Vancouver-based company that has quietly built up a strong reputation for delivering great custom goalie mask designs for less. You can choose from their assortment of stock vinyl decal kits for as low as $35, or create your own custom look by adding a team logo or other graphics to a range of template base options for just $65.
They has also added pad and glove templates and custom order options in the past year, allowing goalies to add logos and numbers, or create complete custom designs on the pads, glove and blocker.
Check out their website for the full range of stock designs, which include over 100 different options, or get to work designing your own, like the one above for Vancouver Canucks goalie coach Ian Clark:
GIFT OF MENTAL STRENGTH
InGoal Members are already familiar with Pete Fry, the Goalie Mindset Guy, who works with goaltenders from minor hockey right up to pro.
Many of those goalies, including former NHLer and current AHL goalie coach Jeff Glass, have attended Fry’s summer seminars, including one in Vancouver that InGoal co-hosted. Now anyone can access those same invaluable tips by downloading the entire one-day seminar, which features countless tips to help goalies manage their mindset and game.
Pete has several fantastic programs for goaltenders, including the Goalie Mindset Academy which includes daily activities online to build your mental skills combined with regular Zoom meetings with other goaltenders and a certified coach.
INSPIRING READS FOR ALL AGES
Longtime friend of InGoal, former NHL Goalie Coach and Director of Goaltending and now goalie coach at Boston University, Brian Daccord, has released How to Be A Goalie Parent, a book that is perfect of goalie parents
but also for anyone who just wants to learn more about the position. Daccord is back with a second book this year called How to be a Goalie: A Guide for Goalies of All Levels, and it too is the perfect holiday season read for anyone involved in the position.
Daccord isn’t the only InGoal Magazine and podcast regular with a new book that would double as the perfect Christmas gift.
Corey Hirsch shares some deeply personal and important lessons on mental health in his new book, The Save of My Life: My Journey Out of the Dark, a riveting look behind the mask of an NHL goalie that offers understanding and hope to anyone living with mental illness.
Another InGoal friend and former NHL goalie coach Eli Wilson can be found here in many places from our webinar with Carey Price to teaching tips and more. If you want to learn even more a great place to start is his book, “Hockey Goaltending,” which has something for goaltenders of all ages and abilities.
Shannon Szabados and Sami Jo Small have inspired goalies of all ages with their careers on Canada’s National Team, and continue to do so with their new books.
Szabados joined the InGoal Radio Podcast to talk about her incredible career, life as a new mom, and “Every Bunny Loves to Play,” the children’s book she wrote, illustrated and published. It’s gotten great reviews from parents and former teammates as a fun and easy read with universal underlying messages about adversity, persistence and encouragement for kids.
Small also joined us on the podcast to talk about her book, “The Role I Played,” a memoir about her career that is loaded with great stories and important messages about the ups and downs of elite athletics, that can both inspire and help goalies of all ages.
And with so many of us stuck at home wanting to work on our fitness, you might consider Devan McConnell’s, “Intent: A Practical Approach to Applied Sport Science for Athletic Development.” While the book is not goalie-specific we’re sure you’ll learn a tonne you can apply from the newly appointed High Performance Director for the Arizona Coyotes, who shared this video series on an NHL off-ice warm up for goaltenders when he was working with the New Jersey Devils.