Select Page

Does Canada Need Goalie Coaching Certification?

Does Canada Need Goalie Coaching Certification?

Guest article by Jack Hartigan of, posted by Taylor Lush 

News the Canadian Hockey League is considering a ban on European import goalies to improve the quality and depth of North American goaltenders created a stir in the goaltending community, including a long and growing list of comments on the InGoal article about it.

Much of the commentary focussed on the need for a national goaltending development program likes the ones being used in Sweden and Finland. Jack Hartigan is a Canadian coach who played minor pro in Europe, recently spent time training with GoaliePro in Finland, and has been a part of Hockey Canada’s National Coaches Mentorship Program. He sent InGoal this article, which originally appeared on the GoaliePro website, outlining his thoughts and experiences with European development and goalie coach certification programs:

Currently there is no national goaltending certification program in Canada. The importance of filling this void and the need to develop a standard is crucial for Canada and the United States if we want to keep up with the rest of the world in developing great goaltenders. Countries like Finland and Sweden have been able to generate great results with limited resources and a very limited number of players compared to Canada.

GoaliePro Camp

Many European countries have recognized this need and have created national certification goalie educational programs, including Finland and Sweden, which I believe are the leaders in this category in Europe. Finland has had a national goaltender coach certification program established since 1986. Finland’s success is built from the grassroots up. Just one example is having some of the country’s best goalie coaches working with young goaltenders in Finland regularly, not just in the pro and junior ranks.

Since Finland’s inception of their goaltender certification program in 1986 it has taken almost two decades to start to see results at the top of the global goalie pyramid. Establishing such a program takes time to see results as each year the program is retooled, modified, revamped, and improved. Over the years the program has been developed to the point where results and the products of their program are being showcased at the highest levels.

The number of goaltenders for the Finns and Swedes are now starting to show in the NHL. With just 4.56% of registered players internationally, the Finns make up 15% of those NHL goaltenders who played 30 or more games last season. For a more statistical look and breakdown of the high percentage of NHL goaltenders being produced from smaller countries check out this article by goalie coach Larry Sadler.

Sweden has also followed suit and more recently established a nation-wide goaltenders’ certification/education program in the early 2000s. After spending three and a half years as a goaltender playing in Finland, I took note of how much focus the minor hockey organizations put on goaltender development and the quality of goaltender coaching the youth were receiving.

For example, in the Warkis Minor Hockey Organization in Varkaus, Finland goaltenders from the time they start playing the position until they leave to play junior, receive during the season: one all-goalie on-ice specialized goaltending session, two off-ice specialized goaltender training sessions, a goalie coach present at almost all of their team practices, and a goalie coach at all home games. There were two goalie coach leaders for this minor hockey organization who ensured all goaltenders were developing, receiving proper training, and had their progress tracked throughout the season and off-season.

It was evident that these coaches put forth great time and effort and were very knowledgeable, because they were receiving the goaltenders education/certification program. They were also consistent with the methods that they were teaching directly from their training and certification process. This gives every goalie in the minor hockey program an equal chance to develop.

I was also very impressed with the goaltender-specific off-ice training, which focused on hand-eye coordination, flexibility, balance, and quick/active hands. The off-ice goaltender-specific training program that goaltenders in Finland practice religiously is the single biggest difference between goaltending in North America and Europe. Goaltenders in Finland focus on off-ice training year round which includes mandatory goalies only off-ice training sessions every week.

The focus is not just lifting weights but on achieving balance, hand-eye coordination, and flexibility – all of which are key elements of being a great goaltender on-ice. Coaches put a big emphasis on these elements and value these types of training sessions as much as their on-ice training. One quick example would be that goaltenders from Finland in the NHL are often known for their “active” and unbelievably quick glove hands which is usually credited to their glove positioning. Yet, in order to have such an active glove hand the goaltender must be able to have great hand-eye coordination, which these goalies have developed through off-ice hand-eye coordination training. Mandatory pre-game warmups and post-game stretches/cool-downs are stressed throughout all levels of hockey in Finland.

These training philosophies have been infused into Finland’s hockey culture by having certified coaches preach and practice their methods that are taught to them by the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation. European goaltenders are improving so quickly as they are provided with a goaltending program that is taught to them by certified instructors at every level.

If goaltending experts/coaches/trainers in each province of Canada were able to come together and share their expertise, information, and training methods, we could create a goaltending program that could compete with the programs Finland and other European countries have been developing for years. It is time to stop talking about it and put a goaltender coaches certification/education program into action nationwide.

Teaching Active Hands

Coach Jack Hartigan teaching active hands

Every goaltending coach needs to receive consistent training so they can deliver a consistent program, and every coach needs to be certified. This would result in optimum development in young goalies as they go through the minor hockey program. Having a goaltender coaches certification/education program would also result in producing more goalie coaches in the region, and see more educated goalie coaches throughout minor hockey. The problem in Canada now is that some goaltenders are receiving strong goalie coaching and training and others are not because we leave the training in the hands of goalie companies to train and provide instruction/education. Which results in some goalies not receiving enough or any goaltender training.

What Needs to be in a Goaltender Certification Program.

In order to achieve a great goaltender certification program there should be a manual with chapters covering all sections that goaltenders use to develop and improve on and off the ice. This manual should not only be printed and given to everyone who has decided to take the certification program, but it should also be provided online as a resource library that coaches can access.

There also should be a system to constantly update the online library as the game changes and new goaltending methods are constantly being developed. Applying such criteria and forming a curriculum throughout an entire organization, province or country would ultimately result in every goaltender having an equal chance to develop. This concept should be lead by Hockey Canada as a nationwide mandate to set the bar of what should be recommended to goaltender trainers and what should be implemented into minor hockey associations. If an identity of Canadian goaltending is not created by Hockey Canada, goaltender trainers will continually try to reinvent the wheel and resources will be wasted. Depending on the curriculum being taught to coaches, and then passed on to the students, goaltenders would learn methods in a consistent identity and style throughout the country.

Before launching a program everything that would be taught and trained to aspiring goaltender coaches would be based on a complete analysis of the game of goaltending. This analysis should start with a team of goaltender experts across Canada and perhaps use outside experts from countries who have already established successful goaltender certification/education programs (Sweden, Finland) to come together to build a goaltender coaches certification program for Canada. After the initial program is established, launched and provided to every provincial hockey branch the program should constantly be evaluated, updated and improved. It should be the responsibility of Hockey Canada to ensure the certification/education program is constantly being improved. An example I experienced first hand while attending The GoaliePro Mentorship Program last summer was that Jukka Ropponen and his team of coaches have been doing full analysis of their programs and the game of goaltending every season. Based on their theories they have modernized their teachings and drills/methods to align with the complex position. This summer GoaliePro have changed their on-ice and off-ice drills by 30% from last year. This same theory should be applied to a national level goaltenders certification/education program.

Below is a list of contents that would be taught in a national goaltender coaches certification program.

National Goaltender Coaches Certification Program (Table of Contents)

On ice goaltender drills
-Movement drills
-Shooting drills
-Reaction drills
-Battle drills
-Game situation drills
-Technique and stance skating focus

Off ice goaltender training methods
-Slideboard exercises
-Stability ball exercises
-Agility Ladder exercises
-Hand eye Tennis ball exercises
-Balanceboard exercises
-TRX training
-In gym training program
-Spring/Summer training program

The mental game
-Dealing with pressure
-Sports Psychology

How to properly warm up on Gameday (Off-ice)
-Dynamic Stretching
-Focus drills
-Handeye Coordination drills

How to properly warm up on Gameday (On-ice)
-A goaltender friendly game warmup
-Crease Movements
-Focus routine

Team Drills in Practice Which are Goalie Friendly
-Time to follow rebound
-No rapid fire shots

Training Equipment On-ice
-Rebound boards
-Deflection Boards
-White pucks
-Mini pucks

Training Equipment Off-ice
-Reaction ball
-Balance ball
-Skipping ropes
-Tennis balls
-Video Camera (For Video Analysis)

Game Analysis

– Game analysis breakdown for goaltenders through video
-Physical analysis of the goaltenders game. (Breakdown of stance, techniques , save selections etc.)
-Statistics recorded to track goaltenders progress.
-Game logs and notes to give goaltenders instant feedback post game.

Equipment Info

-Selection of proper gear for goaltenders.
-Diagrams of recommended ways to properly put goalie gear on.

Certification Levels

Certification Levels could be tiered into three levels. These levels would be valid for only three years. After three years coaches must retake the certification. To ensure all goalie coaches are constantly updating their coaching with new training methods and theory.

NCCGP 1 (This level would certify a goalie coach to train goalies from Novice to Midget Minor)

NCCGP 2 (This level would certify a goalie coach to train goalies from the Midget Major level to Junior “A” )

High Performance Level (This level would certify a goalie coach to train goalies for the Major Junior, Universtiy , Pro)

These levels could be achieved by a similar format that Hockey Canada has established for its standard coaches program.

Goalie Training Media

-Hockey Canada needs to develop online resource center that should be open for all coaches that enter the goalie certification program.

-DVDs showing all the drills and training methods would be a useful tool to teach coaches the proper goaltending methods listed above.

-Hockey Canada made Youtube Tutorial videos teaching their latest methodology and training methods.

Goalie Coaching Professional Development Seminars

Development weekends could be established throughout the year with the possibility of having seminars presented by top goalie coaches and experts from around North America and Europe.
Some areas that could be covered:

-On-ice seminars from top goalie coaches on how to properly run clinics, drills etc.

-Certified sport trainers could provide seminars on how to properly train goaltenders off the ice.

Sport psychologists could teach a weekend seminar on the mental game of goaltending (Visualization techniques, positive thinking , game focus , etc.)

General Annual Meetings for Goalie Coaches

The provinces top goalie coaches should come together each year to work on and improve the certification program. New ideas and strategies would be formulated and discussed. It would also provide a great opportunity to network and share information on goaltending.

Provincial Camps and Clinics

Provincial branches with its certified instructors could execute an annual program including summer camps, weekend clinics and training resources to support an ongoing development model.

Implementation of Goaltender Development Plans

Here is an example of how I have used the criteria and info above to implement it into a minor hockey hockey organization:

Bedford GoaltendingThe past year and a half I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to establish a comprehensive goaltender program in Bedford, Nova Scotia for the Bedford Minor Hockey Association. There are 45 Male and Female hockey teams that are part of Bedford Minor Hockey ranging from Novice (Age 5) – Midget (Age 18) that all receive the Bedford Goaltending Development Program. All goaltenders who are in the Bedford Goaltending Development program receive the following:

In-Season Development September-March

  • Goalie coach on Ice for one of two practices per week.
  • One goalie-specific training clinic per week
  • One goaltender-specific off ice dryland training per week
  • Goalie coach attendance of all home games
  • Post Game feedback
  • In-season Progress report cards
  • Goaltender specific pre-game warmup and post-game stretching
  • Video Analysis game and training breakdown

Spring Development April- May

  • Weekly off-ice training sessions
  • 6 on-ice goalie development sessions
  • Opportunity to participate in Spring 4-on-4 Bedford Minor Hockey League

Summer Development July- August

  • Bedford Minor week-long goaltender development camp for each age group
  • Off-ice training program
  • 6 on-ice goaltender development sessions
  • Bedford Minor team practice skill sessions
  • Development extras
  • Goalie Coaching Seminars
  • Website goaltending content zone(Goalie training videos, drill plans , practice plans etc.)

I originally mirrored this program from what I have studied through the minor hockey systems in Europe. As time goes on I am continually trying to add new methods, approaches and ideas to improve the development of the goaltenders. All funds for coaching and resources are from the goaltenders minor hockey registrations. I believe this program is giving every goaltender a fair and equal chance to develop – giving the same chance for a “B” goalie to improve and develop as a “AAA” goalie.

Some things in the program that will be looked at to be improved in the coming years are:

  • New strategies for getting young players to try-out and start playing goalie.
  • Improvement of Novice/IP goaltending program.
  • Goaltender gear swap and sell program.
  • Young volunteer goalie coaches mentorship program.
  • Improvement of goaltender stats and game analysis.
  • Focus on educating parents on goaltender development.
  • Implementation of yoga to off ice program.
  • More focus on year round off-ice goaltender specific training

This article on developing a goaltenders education program is only a small piece with ideas of what could be in a national goaltending program in Canada. I believe if some of the best goaltenders, goaltending experts and coaches came together across Canada to create a certification program for goaltender coaches, a great certification module and program could be created to help out aspiring goalie trainers, parents, and goaltenders across Canada and give every goaltender a fair chance to develop. The need to develop a certification program is integral to help maximize the production of top-level goaltenders nationwide.

Goaltender Specific Dryland: Incorporating hand eye coordination in dryland training.

Goaltender Specific On Ice Drills: Active Hands

About The Author


  1. GoalieDojo

    With experience in Europe, Asia and North America, I have noticed the socio-cultural difference among nations in regards to goaltending. Except in Canada, goaltending is considered the most important position and training and resources are focused on goaltenders from early ages. In Canada however, there seems to be a general disdain for goaltenders (and their parents). I see goalie parents sitting alone at rinks or shunned by other parents. In dressing rooms, nobody wants to sit near a goalie. There is a lot of grumbling (mostly by other parents in younger age groups). If you are Canadian, how often do you hear or do you even say “goalies (or goalie parents) are a little weird”? Perhaps a lack of understanding and a fear of the unknown is to blame for this slight form of discrimination.

    In Canada, non-goalie coaches and parents have a mindset that goaltending is not a priority and is simply an afterthought or ignored, but it often becomes the scapegoat when teams do not win. Goalies are thought of as non-athletes, fat and poor skaters. Goalies and their parents are left on their own.

    “Put the worst skater in net.”
    “Put the biggest guy in net.”
    “Goalies can’t skate.”
    “Goalies are not athletes.”
    “Goalies are crazy.”
    “Any kid with oversized pads can be a good goalie.”
    “Goalie coaches disrupt our practices.”
    “He gets lots of shots in practice. Isn’t that enough training?”
    “How come there’s a separate goalie budget and none for my defence or forward?”
    “Goalie dads are loners (freaks)?”
    and so on….

    Canada has formed these social views from early on while other countries have no inclination.

    Though there are many private goalie companies in Canada, the high cost, lack of standards, lack of time, and conflicts of interest (i.e. when school is asked to pick goalie for teams and picks only goalies from his school; marketing agendas) make it less than ideal.

    Other countries that do not have this uniquely Canadian mindset or environment for goaltending are able to be more successful in developing goalies.

    It will be hard to change the social mindset in Canada in a short period of time, but organizations may be able to create a better environment and standardized programs for goaltenders and their parents from early ages sooner.

    Maybe Canada needs some of the following:
    Goalie coach certification, standard goalie curriculum, regular free or subsidized instruction, team/league goalie coaches, etc.
    And maybe a PR campaign (posters, info sheets, parents/coaching clinics) to change the social mindset in Canada.

    Hockey Canada can and should play a bigger role in developing programs and a better environment for young goalies. Perhaps Hockey Canada is waiting for someone to take initiative or perhaps they do not have the expertise or resources. All the main private goalie companies and coaches in Canada with input from associations/leagues should get together on this issue and form a program and a curriculum that can be proposed to Hockey Canada to adopt and implement nationwide. Who will get the ball rolling and get everyone working together?

    Right now it seems to be a wild wild west of goalie schools/coaches in Canada with no clear development programs or plans following a child from early ages to advanced levels.

    I am sure most of you agree with this post. We are all just frustrated that nothing is really being done despite the great and practical ideas presented.

  2. Paul Ipolito

    Thanks for a great article and a good discussion.

  3. Carolyn Wentworth

    Well said. As a goalie parent,i have had to put out thousands of dollars for my kid to be coached over the years. Its about time the position is given its due.

  4. Goalie Dad John

    As a goalie parent who has a son playing in a neighbouring association to Bedford Minor Hockey, I will say that the goaltending program Jack runs is completely comprehensive and is putting preseaure on other associations to establish a similar program. Bedford is a leader in our area who also has a player development coach Shawn MAckenzie who is a former QMJHL coach and ex NHLer who runs team practices for Bedford. He integrates Jack and the goalies throughout the practices. Well done Bedford. Hockey Canada head to Bedford and see how minor hockey is supposed to run for development.

  5. The Goalie Guru

    At one time the Quebec goalies were the be all end all of goaltending. That fad is gone. Now the fad is Finns and Swedes. Which will fade. What’s next?

    Finland hasn’t won a medal at the World Junior tourney since 2006. Sweden has only one gold medal in last ten years.

    At World under 18’s Sweden and Finland have no wins in last six years. USA and Canada have won multiple times!

    If goaltending so important to the sport of hockey why are the Finns and Swedes not dominating at Junior levels?

    • Larry Sadler

      I’m sorry with only 4.5% of the population Sweden has won Silver (2009) and Bronze (2010) 4th place in (2011) and silver again in (2012)
      if they are such a fad how come they are “boxing so far above their weight”
      maybe its their goalie dev!!!!!

  6. The Goalie Guru

    Memorial of Ivan Hlinka

    Every August, Hockey Canada holds a development/selection camp. Under the watchful eyes of a coaching and scouting staff, the players experience play on an international ice surface and are introduced to many elements of the international hockey experience. At the conclusion of the camp, twenty-two players are named to the National Men’s Under-18 Summer Team which takes part in the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

    Canada also competes at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship, taking part in the championship for the first time in 2002, and winning their first gold medal in 2003 in Russia. Because the playoffs are still underway for many of the players in this age group, the team is comprised of players not involved in the playoffs in the Canadian Hockey League, the Canadian Junior A Hockey League or NCAA and CIS hockey.

    Once they have moved through the Under-18 program, the National Junior Team is the next challenge that faces the players internationally. Over two thirds of the players who have starred at the World Juniors have donned the maple leaf for the National Men’s Under-18 Team.

    All-time Results
    Year Event Gold Silver Bronze CAN Location
    2012 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka CAN FIN SWE 1st CZE/SVK
    2011 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka CAN SWE RUS 1st CZE/SVK
    2010 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka CAN USA SWE 1st CZE/SVK
    2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka CAN RUS SWE 1st CZE/SVK
    2008 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka CAN RUS SWE 1st CZE/SVK
    2007 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka SWE FIN RUS 4th CZE/SVK
    2006 Under-18 Junior World Cup CAN USA n/a 1st CZE/SVK
    2005 Under-18 Junior World Cup CAN CZE FIN 1st CZE/SVK
    2004 Under-18 Junior World Cup CAN CZE SWE 1st CZE/SVK
    2003 Under-18 Junior World Cup USA RUS CZE 4th CZE/SVK
    2002 Eight Nations Cup CAN CZE RUS 1st CZE
    2001 Six Nations Cup CAN CZE RUS 1st CZE
    2000 Four Nations CAN USA CZE 1st CZE
    1999 Four Nations CAN USA CZE 1st CZE
    1998 Four Nations CAN CZE SVK 1st CZE
    1997 Three Nations CAN CZE SVK 1st CZE
    1996 Pacific Cup CAN USA FIN 1st CAN
    1995 Pacific Cup RUS CAN USA 2nd JPN
    1994 La Copa Mexico CAN USA RUS 1st MEX
    1993 Pacific Cup RUS USA CAN 3rd JPN
    1992 Pacific Cup CAN RUS JPN 1st JPN
    1991 Phoenix Cup USSR CAN USA 2nd JPN

    • Larry Sadler

      I’m sorry what has this to do with the article re: Goalie coach certfication program?

  7. Jeff

    I totally agree with the article. My son has been a goalie from the time he has started playing. Not one single season has he been coached in his role as goaltender from his association due to the fact that the coaches” don’t know how to coach goalies”. I have been trying every season to convince the association to implement goalie training as part of the curriculum. The goalies are the only ones on the ice that are not being trained.

  8. Steve McKichan

    I will personally go ANYWHERE in Ontario to deliver a free clinic on how coaches can effectively coach their goalies, and a fundamental understanding of their goalies with a “Goalies 101”

    Just need travel expenses.

  9. Sensei

    Can you tell me who at Hockey Canada is pushing this forward or in charge of goalie development? It may be too big for one person to handle.

    If HC doesn’t pick up the ball soon, perhaps a new non-profit body such as the “Goaltending Association of Canada (GAC)” is needed to oversee, manage and regulate everything.

    Jack, Larry, Steve, InGoal, anyone? Why don’t you get everyone (main goalie school owners, coaches, Hockey Canada, major federations/leagues/Associations, parent liaison, goalie liaison) together for an online conference to discuss this issue and organize a committee to set forth a plan.

    • Steve McKichan

      I am in. It clearly is too big for one person and the capability of hockey Canada.

      Tell me where and when.

      • Ted Wilson

        Steve, sounds like you are one the main proponents with tenure on this subject for us passionate Canadians with children goaltenders. Dave Wells below (June 6, 4:49am reply to Sensei) stated that “… Steve McKichan has also penned a solid goaltending manual that could be a solid starting point for such a program.” As a passionate goalie parent who is committed to his child for access to the available information out there, would this goaltending manual that you have penned be available for purchase? If so, please email me at [email protected] with instructions on how to receive it, payment, etc.

        Thanks “Keeks”! I appreciate this forum as a means of staying dialed in to best support our kids who have the passion and commitment to a long term player development model.

  10. steve in Langley

    I’ve spent the last 3 seasons working with initiation and spring hockey goalies. It’s just something that minor hockey doesn’t invest in, but it is getting better. More and more goalie parents are recognizing that the position needs some help and even doing some basic goalie drills helps. A national certification would help. If it’s a good curriculum with lessons on how to put drills together, I would be happy to sign up.

    Also, learn to shoot.
    Being a goalie I never really learned how to shoot. Being somewhat of a goalie coach now, it’s been a heck of a ride blowing out my elbow practicing high wristers.

  11. Nathan Reeves

    As a goalie parent myself for a girl in Ringette and a son who plays part time in hockey ( due to his age) I hear a lot that goalies are a breed of their own. I am the goalie development Director for the local Ringette league and even in this league there is the same perception. I also have seen that previously there was no development, coaches would tell the girls to shoot on the goalie and that was all the practice that would occur. In hockey this is the same that I have seen. As parents you shell a lot of money for goalie camps and training and there is no guarantee that the training you are getting is good training as there are no standards. Goalies can make or break a game and yet there is no respect. I also get tired of hearing my kid is not playing goal when asked why the common response is they need to be a real player. My daughter can out skate most players on her team and is athletic as the others but they deem her not a real player. My Son is the same in hockey. We need coaches to understand how to coach a team and include the goalies, we need to have specific goalie coaches who know and understand the position and certified training would be great. I know in Ringette I have take to hiring companies to work with the girls and they are fantastic but more is always needed.

  12. Paul Ipolito

    Paul Ipolito says:

    June 3, 2013 at 2:54 PM
    I have posted this reply on another article related to this series. I am passionate about goaltending (as we all are) , and I felt compelled to speak up and offer another point of view. The USA has the same issues with training young goalies as Canada does. I played goalie too far back to have anything to offer as far as technique but there is an incredible array of information available on this site alone. Use it. Thanks for hearing me out.

    It is time to speak up. I have followed the related articles with great interest and I believe it is time another side of the story is presented. Many have commented on the fact their young goalies have little or no attention paid to them. I have recognized this problem as a goalie parent and here is how I attacked the problem. The first step was to join USA Hockey and become a certified coach. Step two was to obtain as much information as I possibly could about goaltending. I used (and still do) every source available. I have built up a collection of CDs, DVDs, articles, books, magazines, etc,etc, etc. on every aspect of goaltending I could find. I devoured this information and I continue to look for new information. When it became obvious my son was going to continue playing goalie after his first Pee Wee season, I made some inquiries with his coaches and I was invited to “help the goalies” For the last two seasons I have tried to be on the ice with our goalies at least two nights a week. I have used the USA Hockey and Hockey Canada drills. I have advocated for them by explaining to the other coaches that we need to keep the drills as realistic as possible. I have tried to design in-season and off-season programs that will help the goalies improve their hand-eye coordination, flexibility, and strength. I have attempted to explain the mental aspects of being a goaltender and I attend every game and work the penalty box if possible so I can be available to support the goalies during games. I’m not patting myself on the back (too much) here, but I think it is important to point out that there are many volunteers like me who are trying to rectify this situation and maybe even help a little. I’m sure I will hear from many goalie school owners who will say I am the bogeyman doing more harm than good, but I also recognize that my knowledge is limited and I do more than my share in supporting our local goalie schools. We have many fine instructors in our area and I will be the first to admit my son would never have progressed to his current level by working exclusively with me.Thank you for allowing me to make use of this wonderful forum

    • Paul Sharpe

      Way to go Paul, I am taking the same trail you have blazed. Anything you can pass on to me would be greatly appreciated.

  13. larry sadler

    Paul way to go
    excellent show of dedication and determination. Keep working on improving your skills

    • Paul Ipolito

      Thank you Larry. Your articles and website have been among the resources I have relied on, along with Steve McKichan’s, Corey Wogtech’s, Eli Wilson’s, Brian Daccord’s, Ian Clark.s, Travis Harrington’s, Zach Sikich’s, Mitch Korn’s, Bob Janosz’s Tomas Hertz’s, Vladislav Tretiak’s and about a 1000 others. Thank you all very much. My hat is off TO ALL of the members of the goaltending community.

  14. Dave Wells

    Well written article and I concur, something needs to change, and soon.

    I have been after Hockey Canada for more than six years to get their act together on this issue. It’s a bad joke that the largest hockey playing country in the world has no formalized goalie coaching standards. Every year I get a parroted reply that “something is in the works” but nothing happens, it’s just offside.

    I will throw my hat in the ring along with Keeks (Steve McKichan) and any others who are willing to roll up our sleeves and get this done, with or without Hockey Canada’s blessing. It’s well past due and we cannot afford to keep dragging our feet on it. Too many kids are falling through the cracks, they are being taught ineffective methods, it’s a shame.

  15. Sensei

    6 years is a long time trying to get Hockey Canada to get on the ball. Do you think that if we (i.e. a good group of goalie coaches) create a national goalie development program and goalie coach certification program that Hockey Canada would adopt and implement it? If Hockey Canada does not mandate the program, then it will be hard to get leagues/associations to adopt anything we develop. And would be a waste of our time.

    A good program would include:
    1. A central organizational body (i.e. Hockey Canada or its agency) to run the program and support participants.
    2. A standard goalie curriculum from tyke to midget (of course coaches can go beyond standards)
    3. National goalie coach certification program (can have levels from initiation to advanced) with regular refresher clinics
    4. A certified goalie coach assigned to teams (i.e. 1 coach per 3-5 teams) whose duties might be:
    – to attend team practices or games and be responsible for the overall development of all assigned team goalies according to the curriculum (and beyond)
    – communicating regularly with head coaches (i.e. planning drills for team practices, addressing performance, etc.)
    – weekly dedicated goalie ice-time (lessons/clinics) run by goalie coach for his assigned team goalies or in a larger group run by association
    – assigned goalie coach participates in rep team goalie evaluation and selection process together with head coaches
    – support goalies, parents and head coaches with online/offline resources and direct consultation

    There can be local, regional to national seminars/conferences (online or physical) for goalie coaches to discuss issues, give feedback, report progress, share ideas/experiences, review/update curriculum, provide/modify online/offline resources, ensure consistency, etc.

    Goalie coaches involved in program should remain neutral (i.e. no marketing of their private goalie schools) and are also evaluated like head coach. Hockey Canada (or its agency) can run the program and act as a central organizational body managing, supervising, evaluating and supporting the certified goalie coaches and making sure leagues/associations are following the program.

    This program should all be free to goalies/parents. Naturally, the organizational body needs funds for start-up and administration of the program but goalie coaches can be volunteer (or can receive a small fee). Travel and materials costs can be covered by the association.

    The agency can raise funds through fees charged for goalie coach certification. In addition, leagues/associations can allocate part of their overall budget to the program. A standardized goalie budget can also be set for all rep teams whereby a certain amount is paid to the body to run the program. (i.e. $1,000 to $2,000 from each rep team goalie budget can go to the program)

    Anyway, there is a lot I can write about and a lot we can do but without Hockey Canada doing anything, it all seems futile. We need a politician or big name goalie to push this. Isn’t Ken Dryden both? If anyone can get someone like him on board and with some more public and media pressure, maybe Hockey Canada will move forward itself or formally welcome and contract an external agency to do the work.

    • Dave Wells

      I think it needs to be driven from the top through a nationally funded and recognized program… ie: Hockey Canada. They have the name, the funding and the recognition as a legitimate stakeholder.

      As Keeks alluded to, and I somewhat agree with, each individual stakeholder (in this case each goalie school) has little incentive to see this implemented. Little Johnie’s failures equates to more business for us!

      At this point in time, in Canada, its the Wild West in terms of what is taught and how. I’m not suggesting that individual style should be stifled, there are a lot of good goalie coaches out there, but I think there needs to be a well written guide as to what should be taught at what age group.

      Along with that a series of clearly written technical points should be developed that both a pro and a parent can implement, along with supporting video and well explained rationale as to why this is being taught.

      Like him or hate him, Ian Clarke wrote one of the most comprehensive goalie series in his “From The Crease” journals that could serve as a basis for a program if they were updated to today’s game/style. Steve McKichan has also penned a solid goaltending manual that could be a solid starting point for such a program. I have read many other talented authors on the subject who could add valuable insights. No one person can own this, it has to be a nation wide approach, check your ego at the door.

      My point is that we have no lack of goalie coaching talent here in Canada, there is simply a lack of leadership at the top to pull it all together and formalize it.

      Not trying to kick a guy while he is down, but clealy Ron Tugnutt didn’t have the ability to pull this together (nor was it likely his mandate) but someone at Hockey Canada has to grab this and run with it. It’s too big (and important) for one person to handle and it requires a national approach to deal with the diversity of opinions on the “proper” style of play.

      What one coach believes as a basic tenet of goaltending at one goalie school may not even be on the radar at another. We need a basic set of goaltending teaching points developed, to ensure we are all checking off the most important elements at each age group, regardless of our individual beliefs and teaching focuses.

      This is long overdue and adds fuel to the fire when people suggest it’s time for a total overhaul at Hockey Canada, a cleaning of the house from Bob Nicholson on down. I think it’s time to get some new blood in there with a fresh perspective and dedication to the grass roots of goaltending, They have had more than enough time and opportunity to develop a goalie program and they have dropped the ball big time.

      • Sensei

        A good manual would show that there may not be just one way to do something but show different techniques or points of view. Developing a manual/curriculum from what is already out there and from the input of goalie coaches seems to be the easy part. Getting Hockey Canada to do anything is the challenge.

        Even with a national program, goalie companies can still operate profitably. Perhaps one or several goalie companies can be contracted to implement the curriculum in a certain league or association. With a given part of the budgets of leagues/associations and rep teams going towards the program there should be more than enough funds to run the program and compensate the goalie companies. There will always be those who want a little extra help outside of what is provided by the league/association and they will demand private, semi-private and group lessons. So goalie companies will not lose business but become busier as they work more closely with leagues/associations.

        I hope Hockey Canada will do something within my lifetime. Perhaps the more we talk about this in public media, they will finally get the point.

  16. Paul Sharpe

    I too am a parent of a goalie. I have pressed this to our home association every year to develop and implement a goaltending program. For the most part it fell to deaf ears.
    In the last year I was a part of the executive for our local minor hockey association. From here I have had some better luck but not much. I did manage to get an adult goalie to come to the practices for the younger ones to give them some pointers, which when he did come, they did learn some good things.
    Its really sad to see these young goalies coming to every and the only instruction they get is which net to get into and when to switch, yet the players get 100 times that each week, and yet they are the first ones that the coaches and teammates look at when they lose a game.
    I have went as far as to draw up drill I seen on the internet, explained drill that my son has done at the summer goalie camps and even went and picked up a set of instructional goaltending DVDs that I offered to the coaches so they could see some drill and find something they could use.
    I feel that it is Hockey Canada’s place and responsibility to develop this program and make it a requirement for all provincial bodies to enforce. Our kids are just as important as any forward or defence , they have developed programs for them!!
    This past winter I have completed my IP and coach stream course so I can go out with my boys. I plan on developing my own program that I will use to give some instruction to the goalies of our association, if anyone has anything that they carry to share with me please contact me at [email protected] any input would certainly help.
    We should start a petition and send it from the west coast to the east, they can ignore us all!!

    • Jeff

      Paul which province are you in? I have the same problem with my son’s association here in Newfoundland. I have brought it up at meetings and sent emails to the president of the league. I have sent emails to Hockey Canada and Hockey Newfoundland (who didn’t even respond to my email). I am as frustrated as you are in this situation. My son went to a private goalie school for almost a full season because the owner is a local and he gave me a really good deal,plus he gave me so many sessions one year for free because he had an open slot . The school was a great experience for my son but I couldn’t continue with it because it was just too too expensive. They were teaching the right skills though for young goalies. The owner was trying to make a deal with our home association to give weekly instruction with the only cost was to pay for his expenses ,they declined but I don’t know for what reason. They have a technical advisor in place but she only coaches the players and it is only skating skills,which doesn’t benefit the goalies.
      Something has to be done for the sake of all the goalies. I pay my registration every year and the only players on the ice who are being taught anything are the ones who score the goals.

      Jeff Glynn

  17. Richard St-Onge

    2-3 years ago, I recognized that, as a goalie instructor, to help me be taken more seriously on my knowledge and experience (having not played pro hockey), getting certified at a provincial and national level would be a great asset and good for business. This is when I decided to contact Hockey Canada and inquired if such a program existed. The answer was “not at the moment but the subject has been brought forth before but again, we don’t know if and when discussions and developments will take place of the matter”. The only resource that can be found on their site is a “pre-dated” downloadable short document that covers the very basics of goaltending positioning and drills.

    Many good points have been brought up in regards to the tools and resources needed. If I can only offer one pointer, it is to avoid at all cost a program that will try to create a “style” identity for Canadian goalies,such as the labeling of all Québec goalies to be only butterfly goalies. A program that caters to all goalie types, physiques and abilities is of best interest.

    I’m hoping this plan can go into action very soon so I and many others coaching at all levels can benefit from such an opportunity to further our on-ice carreers.

    Keep us posted please.

  18. Rob Bennett

    These are all great comments and ideas. It sounds like there are lots of us out there that are ready and able to provide valuable goalie instruction. I have been teaching goalies for over 20 years, and have found that a lot of organizations are looking for somebody to step up and run goalie clinics. In 2010, the Alliance hockey in southwestern Ontario started a program that brought in goalie mentors from the area, this year, we meet again to see progress and evaluate the program. At least, this is a start by Hockey Canada, and if all goes as planned, we will expand this program. It’s a good program, but needs to be implemented everywhere.

  19. Todd Bengert

    Both Steve McKichan and Dave Wells are heroes and models of mine and have heavily influenced my own programs. Without a doubt, very little will really happen unless professionals like them aren’t on board, as HC doesn’t have the ability and knowledge base to create a comprehensive development program to service minor hockey. That is a shocking fact, I know.
    The one area that I differ with Wellsie is based on my belief that HC is incapable of doing such a thing. As a result, I think a top down approach may never happen and it will continue to die at the gate for the next 10 years as it has in the previous 10 years.
    Working and discussing things with Jack Hartigan, I have really come to believe that this has to start at an association level and Jack has a great opportunity (and he has already kickstarted it to all our benefit) to create an association-based goalie development program. I won’t speak for Jack, but I’m following his template very closely for the associations which I’m involved, as well, and in working with other professional goalie coaches here, we hope to roll out a program for other associations to copy in the near future.
    My strongest conviction is, while having high-level goalie coaches is still very important, we need to develop and create a cadre of volunteer goalie coaches or assistant coaches that have resources and training to provide help for goalies on every minor hockey team (and not just rep teams) during their standard team practices throughout the season. Most people forget the 95% of our minor hockey development for players and teams are done by volunteers and these men and women have helped create the Crosbies, Subbans, and Staals. The manpower and willpower is out there, and it just needs to be harnessed.
    The resources are already available, like Keek’s manual and great videos from Wellsie and others, but it probably needs to be pulled together into a coherent structure and presented into an easy to use and follow format.
    Have no doubt, it will happen, with or without HC. It reminds me of an old quote: “There go my people, I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.”

  20. wesley armstrong

    the sooner coaching certification starts the sooner we will be able to compete for our canadain jobs in junior and professional ranks.

  21. Mark Oram

    My son is a goalie and this is a great idea that is long overdue. In fact, I would be willing to volunteer to help with this intitiative. I have experienced first hand the problems with the lack of a formal goalie program. We have used some of the trainers whom have responded to this article, however it’s been 99% me taking the initiative to get the team to have some kind of training during the season, maybe only for parts of the practice, normally at my cost. Certifying goalie trainers makes sense, however only goes part of the way. Bench coaches need to be educated as well, with some goalie training being part of their certification, tryouts at the minor hockey level for goalies needs to be addressed, and I could go on.

    It needs to be addressed from both levels, the grass roots minor hockey leagues and with Hockey Canada. It can be done . When do we start?