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Book Review: The Hockey Goalie’s Complete Guide by Francois Allaire

The Hockey Goalie’s Complete Guide

An Indespensible Development Plan by Francois Allaire
Firefly Books, 2009

soft cover, 175 pages – available on (not an affiliate link)

Firefly Books recently sent me a copy of Francois Allaire’s latest book, The Hockey Goalie’s Complete Guide: An Indispensable Development Plan to review for inGoal Magazine readers. They have also offered to give copies to two lucky readers – more on that below.

My first reaction on getting the book was one of excitement. Here is an up to date guide by the most famous goalie coach in the world. The man who popularized the butterfly with protege Patrick Roy put together a “complete guide” and it arrived in a very professionally designed package. The book is well laid out, with great visuals, on high quality stock with a title that seems to suggest it has everything you would ever want to see in a book on goaltending.

Unfortunately, the book did not at all live up to first impressions. Yet, I would still recommend it for your goaltending library. How’s that? Simply put, I think that Allaire has delivered a useful manual and the publisher has brought it out at a very affordable price (less than $14.00 on Amazon) but it is packaged it for the wrong audience.

The title of the book suggests all things for everyone – a “complete guide” – and then implies it will take a goalie through their whole career – “Indespensible Development Plan.” Very early in the first chapter the author then lays out the three distinct phases in a goalie’s development – Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Throw in a few periodization charts and the book was looking like something an advanced coach, or someone who has studied sport science, could really sink their teeth into.

When you are set up like that, the rest of the book can only seem incomplete at best, and a real disappointment at worst. The problem is that this book is quite clearly a beginners guide to goaltending, or a guide for coaches of beginners. Allaire goes no further than teaching a beginners skill set. This book is not a complete guide.

So, what makes it good? Well, as a beginners guide, if the title were more appropriate and the first chapter clearly laid it out expectations then I believe anyone who bought the book would walk away impressed. That it can be purchased for under $15, there isn’t much to lose by picking it up and having a look.

Basic positions are clearly described, basic skills are given with a significant number of drills to help a goalie, or  their coach, to work on those skills. There is also an extensive section on dry-land training.

One piece that I believe sets this book a part is the work on on-ice and off-ice evaluations. These fit perfectly with the concept of development plans. Simply introducing them and putting them in context is fantastic. Allaire could have gone much further though. The testing sections could provide some standards – what would a begginer, intermediate, advanced or pro achieve? He could also relate training suggestions to these evaluations – if you score X then you should be doing these drills or this many repetitions.

I was also very impressed by the chapters on coaching a young goalie – guidance that coaches (and parents) don’t get enough of. How to progress teaching a skill, how to communicate, how often to correct and more.

The good material in this book leaves you wanting more and the resource Allaire has compiled is a useful tool in anyone’s kit. It’s just too bad it is laid out to be something so different. You really can’t judge this book by its cover.

How to get your free copy

Firefly has offered to give one copy to each of two inGoal readers. To be eligible all you have to do is follow me on Twitter (@dhutchis – so I’ll be able to DM you if you win) and then send a Tweet about this review or any other inGoal story. Be sure to include @dhutchis with your tweet so I’ll see it. I’ll randomly select two winners and DM them – you have until 11:59 PM PST on Wednesday March 3. Only one tweet per reader is eligible.

Contest is now closed! congratulations to @SeePuckCity and @NickyRobinson our randomly chosen twitter winners! We’ll get the publishers to send out your copies ASAP.

About The Author

David Hutchison

David is one of the founders of InGoal Magazine which he began in 2009. Of course he finds time for some goaltending of his own as well, and despite his age, clings desperately to the idea that some NHL team will call him to play for them - though in his mid-forties (OK, late 40s) it'll likely be for a practice when everyone else on their depth chart has the flu and the shooter tutor has gone in for repairs.


  1. JoeSteve

    If this isn’t the “book an advanced coach can really sink their teeth into” do you (or anyone else) have a recommendation of what that book might be? Or something even close?

    • David Hutchison

      I haven’t found it yet – but would love to hear from other readers – anyone?

  2. Jim Barnett

    I was wondering if this book relates to Roller Hockey at all? I haven’t played goalie in quite a few years and I recently started playing again and in the adult league we can’t practice other then our games let alone have a goalie coach. So I am looking for something to just refresh me you know? But all the books seem to be on Ice Hockey, I live in So Cal where there is not an ice rink for miles.

    • David Hutchison

      nothing Roller specific in it…I’ve never played Roller so I can’t say how applicable it is I’m afraid.

    • Ian

      I second ‘Hockey Goaltending’. It covers quite a bit of topics and has many different contributors which is one the things that I feel is key to learning as a goaltender. I got this book at the same time as Allaire’s and it was a far more valuable resource.

      In all fairness, I’m not a fan of Allaire but as you pointed out, the book was fairly basic

  3. Nick Hein

    Hey Jim,

    There are very few rollerhockey specific resources. The best roller book I’ve seen (and own) is Roller Hockey – Paperback (June 11, 1998) by Greg Siller ($4-$15 on Amazon). There’s also a decent DVD called “Hidden Secrets of Inline Goaltending” you can usually pick up for $15 that’s not too bad (I also own). also has a bulletin board with lots of goalies who have posed most every question you can come up with (searching in advance is encouraged).

    Good Luck (and don’t call it a comeback)! 😉

  4. Jason Power

    I have to agree completely with Dave on this review. When I first heard about this book, I had to add it to my library here. Granted, for anyone who is tenured as advanced…there never will be a book that is going to teach you anything new…most of the info in it was guided towards the Bantam and younger player/parent.

    I have, however, recommended this book to many families. It is the ONLY book that, with pictures, that explains the modern way to play the position. Even a guy like myself was able to take a few things out of it.

    My personal favorite, is the page where you track the shots on your goaltender. This page is great…I have my back ups on my Jr team do this for the starter…Helped out immensely.

    But like it was stated in the article, for under $15…you can’t go wrong.

    As for another great book in regards to training and dry land drills, Tretiak’s latest book was pretty good too.

  5. Matt in Montreal

    I’m thinking of giving some time to coaching the young goalies in my neighbourhood… think I’ll start here with Mr. Allaire’s book.

    Thanks for the review.