For goalies in the Peace, their craft is often forgotten.
For several generations, goalie was usually the ‘throw your brother in net’ or ‘stick the worst kid back there’ position.
In the north, for kids passionate in pursuing the last line of defense, the opportunity to get better always meant long road trips south and a week-long barrage of information.
So, one hockey mom, Tammy Mackenzie thought of a way to help out, when she implored the help of Gold In The Net, a travelling goalie clinic that put on a weekend long session in Taylor.
In the second year in town, almost 30 goalies from the region hit the ice to sharpen their skills for the upcoming season, something that impressed master goalie coach Dawson Guhle.
“It’s a way bigger group. Last year we only ran one and this year we have two groups of 13. A lot more kids came out which is good,” Guhle said. “You see some of the kids from last year and the improvements that they’ve made.”
Guhle went on to explain that it’s difficult to pass on all the intricacies of the position in two days, so the focus tends to be on what drills and skills players can work on themselves throughout the season to get better.
“The biggest thing is we can teach them and show them how to do these things throughout the two days but at the end of the day they have to take it back to their practices and apply it,” he said.
“We’ll show them the right techniques, we’ll show them some things they can do.”
Along with those take-home skills, Guhle added the position has grown into one that is more focused on skating and technique.
“Skating is really important. They used to throw the person who couldn’t skate in net,” he said.
“Now, the goalie should technically be the best skater on the team. Skating is really important (and) work ethic. The time you put in is what you get out of it. And at the end of the day just having some fun doing it.”
Ben Gaal, who was one of the goalies in the clinic last year and returned for more advice this year, said he likes the one-on-one coaching and how hard he’s pushed to get better over the course of a couple days.
“He really works us on our skating, positioning at our posts and stuff in the net. He kicks your butt,” he said.
Second-year goalie Michelle Querin, 12, who was also in the clinic last year, said some of the technical coaching at GINT has helped her improve significantly from last year to now.
“You learn a lot of things that you don’t get to learn when you’re in practice,” she said.
“The shuffles, the butterfly. Post-to-post. Lots of people come here because they don’t know what to do because it’s their first or second year.”