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National Goaltending Summit sows seeds of development

By USA Hockey, 06/25/18, 9:30AM MDT

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Goalie think tank convenes at USA Hockey Arena

"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." - Andrew Carnegie

Carnegie’s quote applies aptly to USA Hockey’s nationwide goaltender development initiatives. The latest example came June 14 in Plymouth, Michigan, as USA Hockey hosted its National Goaltending Summit at USA Hockey Arena. More than 50 goaltending development coordinators and associate coaches in chief attended the event at the invitation of Phil Osaer, USA Hockey’s American Development Model manager for goaltending.  

During the event, attendees met in a bright room that became even brighter as it was transformed into a goalie think tank with fluorescent sticky notes covering the walls, tables pushed together to nurture creative collaboration and detailed conversation on how the United States can build our youth goalies into world-leading puck stoppers.

One consensus conclusion was that aspiring puck-stoppers need world-leading coaches if they’re ever to realize their own world-leading potential between the pipes. As such, the four-day summit emphasized the importance of not only developing better goalie coaches, but also developing the knowledge and teaching skill of team coaches to enhance their ability to work with the goalies on their rosters. “I’m not a goalie guy” is quickly becoming a phrase of the past as the “Goalie Nation” slogan grows to include all coaches.

During the summit, participants worked on both the on- and off-ice curriculum from USA Hockey’s new Goalie Coach Development Program. Discussion topics included positioning, puckhandling, recovery, dealing with screens, skating and newer techniques like the lateral release. Not only were skills and drills discussed, attendees also were filmed while presenting the drills on-ice. The video was later critiqued by fellow coaches providing detailed feedback. The summit concluded with the coaches creating and leading a goalie clinic for 30 young netminders. Afterward, summit attendees shared their key takeaways and ideas they were planning to bring to their local affiliates in an effort to spread the goalie-coaching knowledge.

“Our program is built on the engagement from our national network of volunteers and this weekend highlighted their desire to continue to evolve and improve,” said Osaer. “I look forward to seeing the results as they bring the summit ideas and drills to life in their own areas throughout the country and work to make USA Hockey a world-leading goaltending developer.”

Erik Hudson, who now serves as goaltending development coordinator in USA Hockey’s Southeastern District, was among the attendees. He liked the actionable nature of the event and was bullish on what it would inspire not only at the local level, but nationwide.

“It was great to be a part of the effort in Plymouth,” he said. “The group of coaches who assembled there put together a fantastic blueprint for the future goaltenders in the U.S.”

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