As part of its nationwide goaltender development initiative, USA Hockey wants every willing 8-and-under player to have a chance to stop the puck.
Providing an easy means to try the position has been a challenge until now, but that’s no longer the case thanks to the recent introduction of QuickChange goalie gear, which can turn an 8U skater into a goaltender in 60 seconds.
The equipment set consists of 24-inch leg pads and a padded goalie jersey, both designed to fit over standard player equipment. It comes packaged in a USA Hockey gear bag that makes it easy to gather and transport.
Minnesota Hockey recently announced that it would purchase 300 sets of QuickChange goalie gear to distribute free-of-charge to each of its 145 community-based youth hockey associations. The gear will be distributed in November.
“This is a very exciting step taken by Minnesota Hockey,” said Steve Carroll, who was named the state’s USA Hockey goaltending development coordinator in April 2016. “I fully expect more boys and girls in Minnesota to fall in love with goaltending because of it.”
As a result of Minnesota Hockey’s investment, every association, regardless of size or location, will now be able to conveniently familiarize 8U players with the goaltending position – and not only one or two of them, but every player who wants to try it. In addition, it will also facilitate having goaltenders at every 8U practice and game, which benefits goalies and shooters alike.
“We applaud Minnesota Hockey for its leadership and for what is truly a huge step toward promoting goaltending throughout the entire state,” said Phil Osaer, USA Hockey American Development Model manager for goaltending. “The QuickChange gear will help introduce more players to the position while ultimately producing more goaltenders and better goaltenders in the future.
“Thanks to Minnesota Hockey, more kids will be given the opportunity to try goalie without their parents needing to make the commitment to purchase gear until much further down the line.”
Notes: While Minnesota Hockey’s QuickChange effort ranks as the largest thus far, several other states have also made significant commitments, including Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine and Wisconsin. Additionally, QuickChange gear will be finding a home in Tennessee and Illinois as well, thanks to purchases by the NHL’s Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks, who plan to use them in their learn-to-play initiatives.