Select Page

The Mouse Trap Trapper

The Mouse Trap Trapper

I was recently asked to assess a Minor Midget ‘AAA’ goaltender who was deemed to be struggling by his coach. One of the things I found flawed in his game is something I refer to as THE MOUSE TRAP TRAPPER. I will discuss this very briefly as a technical tip to developing goaltenders.

There are numerous variations that one will encounter as a goaltending observer with respect to the location of the goalie’s trapper while in the ready stance or set position. This varies based not only on the personal preference of the goaltender but also on the instructors with whom said goaltender has trained, and the philosophy of different goaltending schools.

Photo #1 reveals what I believe to be a reasonable approach to the trapper position:

Trapper Position


There are certain principles which I believe must be adhered to including the following: (1) The trapper hand must be held out in front of the body. (2) The trapper must actually be open to catch the puck. (3) The trapper , just like the rest of the goaltender, must be square to the attack and (4) it should be angled slightly downward (i.e., closed) from the top to the bottom. The final point hopefully means that the puck (if not caught) will drop down in front of the goaltender and not deflect upward and potentially into the net.

This leads us to The Mouse Trap trapper.

Photo #2 shows how the goaltender I assessed was holding the trapper with the arm far away from the body (opening up the 6th hole) and the pocket facing the ice surface. You want the pocket facing the shooter and covering some net surface area.

mouse trap trapper


If you have the pocket facing the ice surface you will require an additional small move and added time to get the pocket in position to catch the projectile. I refer to it as the mouse trap trapper because it reminds me of the children’s board game ‘Mouse Trap’ where the net comes down over the mouse as it runs around the board. The positioning actually looks impressive when you see it and the goalie looks intense but image is NOT what stops pucks. It is sound technique and a great competitive spirit.

In conclusion, you will see goaltenders of all ages and abilities holding their trapper in many different positions. We all remember the photographs of Gump Worsley or Johnny Bower holding their trapper beside their pad below knee level. THE MOUSE TRAP TRAPPER is but another trapper location variant but I just don’t see it being a sound technical approach.

Copyright 2011 Tomas Hertz, MD,BA

About The Author

Tomas Hertz, MD BA

Tomas Hertz has been a contributing author to InGoal Magazine since 2010. He operated  "No Holes, No Goals Goaltending" in Kingston, Ontario for a decade and worked with developing goalies in the G.K.M.H.A. and K.A.M.H.A. He remains active as a timekeeper in the O.M.H.A. - O.W.H.A., the O.J.H.L. (Kingston Voyageurs), and the O.U.A.A. (R.M.C. Palladins). 


  1. Ryan


  2. Tomas Hertz,MD,BA


  3. Ryan

    That’s great great goalie i haven seen many kids work as hard as we does i coached him a lot this summer at Franco Canadian and one camp i trained with him he is a good goalie.

  4. Ryan

    and btw love the article all your ones are great

  5. paul szabo

    I am amazed at how many goalies, even those who are experienced or elite level, still hold their glove in a ”closed” position i.e. tight to the body, fingers forward (what is sometimes called the handshake position). Any of these require an extra movement to make the save, just as the article explained. Yet look at how many examples we have of this in the pros- Kiprusoff uses what is effectively the mousetrap position and rotates his wrist on every glove save, Luongo has to open up his hand to face the shot because he too uses a rather fingers forward position. And these guys are in the NHL

  6. Tomas Hertz,MD,BA

    Hi Paul! Yes ! It is interesting the numerous variations that exist. Another thing about Kipper is rotating his trapper to catch the puck in front of his chest like a baseball player. Many professional instructors refer to this as the “Kipper Catch”. When I first learned about this I thought it was stupid for a couple of reasons. (1) Why not use your body unit and craddle the puck since it seems to me a much safer option! (2) It goes against the conventional wisdom of not crossing the midline with your gloves. How many times as intructors have we seen a young boy ,with a shot to his trapper side, turn and try to hit it away with his blocker or vica cersa more commonly? (ans: Many times). Then I learned more about it and the fact that for quick transitional purposes this was a much quicker and effcicient method(i.e., if you to transition the play quickly then do the Kipper Catch, drop the puck immediately, and pass it to a teammate. In the end we both know that as instructors we teach fundamental principles and the ngoaltender takes it from there. If they stop he puck with their trapper behind their head who care, right ? Just stop it ! I enjoy your articles and wish I had the ability to make nice graphics like yours !

  7. Tomas Hertz,MD,BA

    Hi Ryan ! Thanks for your kind comments about Leif! He works very hard with Dave and Marco and with the OHL’s Frontenac’s goaltending coach here in Kingston. He has to continue to work very hard and stay humble but a lot of good people are interested in helping him. More than anything he is a good human being! Glad you like that articles. Thanks !!