Hockey Goaltending (part 1 of 6)

Hockey Goaltending: The Definitive Guide to Elite Goaltending

By: Eli Wilson and Brian van Vliet (2018)

[Pigeonhole] A Practical Rule Book

[Premise] Being good at Hockey Goaltending is a progression from proper positioning through standard movements and into reactive tactics.  This progression of knowledge must be reinforced through specific drills in practice sessions and in live game scenarios. This book is the training manual to prepare you for real games.


  1. Selecting and Fitting Gear (p 1-14)
  2. Stance and Movement (p 15 – 36)
    • Drills 13 – 14
  3. Save Execution (p 37 – 62)
    • Drills 52 – 62
  4. Postsave Recovery (p 63 – 90)
    • Drills 78 – 90
  5. Puck Handling (p 91 – 114)
    • Drills 108 – 114
  6. Tactics (p 115 – 136)
    • Drills 127 – 136
  7. Off-Ice Training (p 137 – 198)
  8. The Mental Game (p 199 – 214)
    • Drills 211 – 214
  9. Mentoring the Complete Goaltender (p 215 – 229)

[Key Points]

The following 6-Part blog will focus on the pure tactical side of on-ice goaltending.  It is a digest of the basic movements and positions to get started in Hockey Goaltending. The digest will not go into the specific drills of the first six chapters, nor go into the second half of the book which is about specific exercise routines as well as coaching yourself and others. Each part of the 6-part blog reflects the key points of the corresponding chapter.


Goalie Pads

There are two types of goalie pads that are designed and engineered specifically for controlling the puck and preventing a goal. (They) are called the flat-face goalie pad and the knee-roll goalie pad, as these two attributes are the key visible differences. The flat-face goalie pad has one continuous plane from top to bottom, and the knee-roll goalie pad typically has three horizontal three-dimensional rolls running across the knee region.

Flat-Face Goalie Pads are designed for goalies who want to look big to cover more net. The goaltender who prefers this style of goalie pads is looking for a big rebound to the corner and out of play to allow time to recover from dropping to his knees.

The Knee-Roll Goalie Pad is designed fro goalies who are extremely agile when moving across the crease and want ta softer pad that fits tightly to their leg so it feels as thought it is an extension of them.

Catch Glove

Much like goalie pads, there are different closing breaks in all glove models. Some gloves, for example, close toward the fingers, and some close toward the thumb. One break is not better than the other; rather, the break is about comfort and forearm strength. Gloves are described as having either a 60- or 90-degree angle, which refers to the angle of the thumb.

Options are also offered in the tee pocket design. Most goalies prefer the double tee for its deep pocket and increased visibility from more lacing areas in which to see the puck, especially when smothering in front of the net. … they select the regular lacing option, as the skate lacing is wider and can reduce visibility.

Harder shots are being felt between the cuff and the catch area of the two-piece glove. This situation has created the need for a one-piece cuff, where the cuff and catch are integrated and provide more protection in the wrist and forearm areas.


The best pro goalies today use blockers that provide a large inside thumb and cuff protectors that not only protect the hand and wrist but also provide more blocking surface.

Chest Protector

Like goalie pads, chest protectors are available in two styles: squared, for goalies who want to look big and cover more net, and angular for goalies who want to maximize their mobility in the crease.

The most important areas of protection in the chest protector are the clavicle and sternum. The front midchest area is often positioned away from the body so that if the puck were to hit your chest, the air between the protector and your body would absorb the energy.


Goalie pants are designed to maximize your coverage and protect the thigh and groin areas; today, however, many designs are engineered with unique features to make you look big and increase your mobility. … You will need to consider whether you tuck in your chest protector or wear it outside the pants


It is important that the mask fits the head and that it is anchored at the chin cup. The more toward the front of the mask the face sits, the greater the peripheral vision.

The chin anchors the mask. The mask should fit snugly without any gaps between the forehead and cheek area and the inner foam. … There should be an inch or two between your nose and the cage. After the mask has been properly positioned, the back plate should be secured with the snaps and the elastic adjusted so the back plate is inside the shell.


An asymmetrical cuff on skate can provide more flexion when you are deep in your stance or in the power push, and it can also assist with recover to stand up. … It is important to ensure that your skate boot be constructed with high-performance composite materials with strategic reinforcements where goalies could receive a shot. (The toe area)


It is important that you have the correct stick length for your height and stance. … Two stick constructions are available: foam core and composite. … The main performance benefit of a foam-core stick is the foam reinforcement within the paddle to dampen the vibration from the puck. Composite goalie sticks are the lightest stick option.

A medium-size heel curve, which is very open, is designed to clear the zone. … A big heel curve, which is slightly open is deeper to help move the puck quickly. A medium midcurve position in the center of the blade is slightly open and is great for controlling the puck around the net.