The ninth annual Warren Strelow National Goaltending Camp will feature a new look Friday when it opens for the first time at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. But the location isn’t all that’s new for 2016. The event will also feature a first-time gathering of USA Hockey’s freshly appointed goaltending development coordinators, a group that will serve USA Hockey affiliates locally while also forming a nationwide network tasked with enhancing grassroots goalie development in the United States.
“Adding more resources and support for goaltenders, both on the national level and the local level, is a priority for USA Hockey and our American Development Model,” said Phil Osaer, USA Hockey ADM manager for goaltending. “The goaltending development coordinators will play an important role in that process, giving young goaltenders support and guidance from experienced coaches with a wealth of goaltending experience.”
The coordinators’ multifaceted duties will include educating local goalie coaches, meeting with clubs and associations to implement goalie training curriculum and leading USA Hockey’s student goaltending coach programs. Each coordinator was nominated by a USA Hockey affiliate, a process that produced a sage group to lead the initiative. Maine, Michigan and Minnesota were among the first affiliates to appoint coordinators, bringing Ray Jean (Maine), Darren Eliot (Michigan) and Steve Carroll (Minnesota) into the fold.
Jean is a former goaltender at the University of Maine who played professionally in the American Hockey League, the East Coast Hockey League and the Central Hockey League. For more than a decade, Jean has operated his own goaltending school, and for the past three seasons, he has served as the Black Bears’ volunteer goaltending coach.
A sixth-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 1980, Eliot was an All-American goaltender at Cornell University before embarking on a professional career that included games in the NHL with Los Angeles, Detroit and Buffalo. He serves currently as director of hockey operations with Little Caesars Amateur Hockey, and also as an in-studio analyst for Fox Sports Detroit during Red Wings telecasts.
Carroll starred at Mankato State University (now known as Minnesota State University, Mankato), backstopping the Mavericks to an NCAA Division II national championship in 1980 and earning national tournament MVP honors. He has operated his own goaltending school for more than 20 years, serving also as an assistant coach with the Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey team. Additionally, Carroll directs the Dave Peterson Goalie Camp as part of the CCM Minnesota Hockey High Performance Program.
In all, some 21 affiliates will be represented when the coordinator summit commences Friday, including some – like Wisconsin, California, Mid-American, Michigan and Massachusetts – that tabbed multiple coordinators. Among them will be Brian Daccord (Massachusetts), who serves currently as a Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending consultant and worked previously as the Boston Bruins’ goaltending coach.
During USA Hockey’s training and collaboration event, the coordinators will create a collection of goalie development practices and devise strategies for introducing more athletes to the position and improving their development opportunities. The group will also see a demonstration of a new quick-change pad that will allow young players to try the position, and in a matter of minutes, conveniently remove the gear while on the ice to allow other players a turn between the pipes.
Summit presenters will include longtime NHL and Team USA goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, who will cover goalie development in junior hockey, and USA Hockey’s Ron DeGregorio, co-chairman of the board, former Team USA goalie and a passionate advocate for goalie development, who will be on hand to open the event.
For more information on USA Hockey’s goaltender development program, click here.