So this is the credibility portion of the website. Yeah, I would not go so far to say that I'm an expert or the end-all-be-all of goalie knowledge. That would be a bit presumptuous of me. :) I do say though, that I can usually hold my own when debating a good goalie talk. And I love a good hockey discussion. It's a fast and complex game, but breaking it down to the core functionality is how I approach it.
I think I was first taught of the simplicity through a few books I read like bibles growing up. None of these were more entertaining than Dick Irven's "In the Crease." I still have it on my shelf. It rants stories from the legends themselves; Gump Worsley, Glenn Hall, Gerry Cheevers, Patrick Roy to name a few. These stories weren't about the accolades or the fame, but about the hardships and emotions of the position. These were the entertaining "how it used to be" stories and the "I remember whens" or more aptly for goalies "that guy was a nut" fables. But even through the antics and long-winded monologues, it was from this book that I learned how simple the game had to be - in your mind that is. The game has evolved from their time, but its still a simple game. Don't let them score. So I learned to analyze the game, break it down and still remember that at the end of the day, it's about 60 minutes of sheer focus on one thing: the puck.
This ideology brought me from a little town in Florida up to the hockey havens on the Northeast. I played at Berkshire Prep School where I spent summers working on technique and the winter seasons working on my mental game. And not just on the ice - Goalies are always a bit weird. It's part of our charm ;) But also blending in with teammates and forging those bonds. Because these will be your friends and family after the clock stops, and having that at the end of the day was just as important if not more.... "The applause soon dies away. The prize is left behind. But the character you build is yours forever." Oh, and this was not just working on the mental game out of choice. My team was sick. Disgustingly sick. So I had to learn to pay attention for a whole game and be just as good without as many shots.
After the prep school thing, I found my way to New Jersey. Weird I know, but when it's Princeton who's asking, it's tough to say no. I battled for two years on the bench, and I can honestly say, these were the most frustrating and humbling years of my life. But I found out two great things about myself: 1) I liked to work hard and give it my all, and 2) I loved hockey. I probably knew the second one before, but it was the first time that it was tested. And that's cool. It's hard to know who you are before you're tested.
I've always believed you get what you give. I guess that theory stands up when looking at my college career. I sat on the bench for two years and then played just about every game for two years. But even better than that were my teammates. A truly amazing group of women. I think we did so well at the end of my career because we all just got it. Everyone believed and was willing to put forth the effort to make our run to the Frozen 8 happen. It also didn't hurt that the one leading us there would later become a professional iron-man triathalete... we always wondered why she kept making the team do bike sprints two days before games -- because she is super human and it didn't phase her.
After college, my coaching and post-collegiate career began up in Montreal. Why a French city? Because I couldn't understand all of the cursing and ridicule about me that was spoken in French :P (just kidding, I think). That's where I began coaching full time to make ends meet. If you ever think coaching is tough, try coaching 40 eight year olds in another language for an hour and half. Luckily, I only needed to know a few words: faster and again! Works like a charm haha.
So I guess that's my hockey story. It's still evolving. I haven't had a chance to really work on my coaching lately as I don't coach a team anymore. So sad. I definitely miss it. It's a more difficult challenge than actually playing. There are so many times I'd want to jump in the skin of my goalies and execute as I know how. But coaching is more about learning from your students and figuring what will work best for them. They are a puzzle which cannot necessarily be solved. But that's never stopped me from trying (except Sudoku. That's just annoying).