The Calgary Flames top puck-stopping prospect and reigning American Hockey League Goalie of the Year starts by spraying water from his bottle high into the air and trying to focus on a single drop as it falls. Then he shakes out each leg, and loads up a pretty impressive standing jump:
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“Just trying to get myself ready to go in the period. I like to shake out the legs and get a jump and just get in the right mindset to get going,” Wolf said after a 3-2 overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks. “Definitely a little energy. It’s almost a little bit of a swagger too.”
Wolf didn’t want to read too much into his routine, but it certainly fits the trend of goalies trying to identify their ideal “hype level” and find tools to make sure they reach it before the puck drops, especially after sitting in the locker room for a while between periods.
Some have routines for every puck drop. Dylan Ferguson, who is coming off a perfect pre-season period on a PTO with the Toronto Maple Leafs, shared his “anchor” last season:
As for the water bottle routine made famous by Braden Holtby while he was winning the Vezina Trophy and Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals, it’s a re-focussing tool he learned from his long-time sports psychologist and former junior goalie coach John Stevenson. It’s one that fellow former Stevenson pupil Carter Hart adopted at a young age, and one Wolf would have seen firsthand playing with Hart on the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League.
“It brings my focus back,” Hart told InGoal Magazine a couple seasons ago.
Fans of Hart might also recognize the pre-period jump component:
“It’s a trigger that makes me feel ready and feel confident,” Hart said.
It won’t be for everyone. As Wolf advised, “do your own thing, whatever makes you stop pucks better.” And whatever helps you feel ready to start a new period.
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