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Playing with your size

Posted by on in Alexander
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Unfortunately, as you move up the hockey chain, it does matter.  Even, sometimes at the Minor Hockey level.  And, many of us are not as physically gifted as some of our counterparts.  However, don't despair.  There is plenty room at a lot of playing levels for the smaller goaltender beyond Minor Hockey or High School.  Generally there is still a place in Major Junior for smaller goaltender and most certainly the smaller goaltender can flourish at the Junior A or Junior B level. (our Director of Goaltending Development, David fashioned a successful Junior A career despite being just 5' 8")
Beyond that, CIS, NCAA, ECHL, AHL and European teams are options open to those who do not reach the "supposedly ideal" 6' 2" height for an NHL goaltender.  Understand, reaching the NHL is no easy task.  At any given time there are only 60 goaltenders playing there (62 next year when Las Vegas ice their team) and, literally, these come from every part of the world.  So, in reality your competition is not the kid on the next block or in the next town, but the kid playing minor hockey in Switzerland, or Germany or Russia.

So, here are some things you need to be to maximize your ability to compete at any level, no matter what your size:

- athletic (incredible agility, balance & coordination)
- an incredible skater (master at using inside edges to position, or reposition on skates or in lateral slide in and around the crease area)
- a student of the game (watches games observing player tendencies and play patterns and how shots are generated and from which locations in the defensive zone they originate)
- be excellent at reading the shot release (studies player shooting tendencies and able to determine height, velocity and shot location immediately as the puck is leaving the stick using complete puck focus)
- a master at staying up and on skates (is patient and confidently remains on skates and does not go down until the puck has left the stick)
- near perfect at positioning (must, must always have proper angle and depth on every shot and must arrive "on time" every time so feet are set and/or in proper position "BEFORE" the shot is released)

Hope this helps. 
Never give up. Work hard. Be the best you can possibly be every time you step on the ice and enjoy the game.

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Guest Monday, 09 December 2019