First, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to visit our website and consider our goalie mentoring program. This isn’t just a goalie school – this is a culture. If you want to be a successful hockey goaltender, you have to have confidence. You have to become a student of the position. You might have to be selfish – I missed some of the “fun stuff” other kids were doing to advance my hockey skills and career. Along the way, I learned that you can’t be beat unless you beat yourself. I found the true meaning of everything I had worked so hard at since my days of playing youth hockey.
All the years of sacrifice, moving away from home before my 15th birthday, missing prom, playing in an out-of-town tournament Christmas morning, and missing the cool parties because I had a big game the next day.
You have to be selfish to be a good pro. You have to be selfish with your time. You need sufficient rest and nutrition. I craved the structure hockey provides and at times resented it. I did some deep soul searching. I was a 27 year-old minor league hockey player with no education and no future outside the game. I decided to reinvest in myself. No different than any good Wall Street stock, I poured my resources into myself. I hired sports psychologists and a life coach. She helped me get clear and realize why hockey was so important to me.
Besides loving the game, I also loved the lifestyle that comes with being a professional ice hockey player. It’s the times in between the games where you actually have the most fun — that’s why when athletes retire, one of the things they say they’ll miss most is being around the guys. The in-between moments like playing cards on the bus and plane…the pranks, the jokes, going to dinners on the road and, of course, the camaraderie only a locker room can provide. What would happen when it was all over?
When I started to think about the future in one of my sessions with my psychologist, she said, “Steve, you have to realize one very important fact about life: the happiest people on earth are the ones that help others the most.” I had a lot to think about on my car ride home.
I put together a plan in my head and visualized it becoming a reality, just as I do when I prepare before a game or practice. I began my “pay it forward” attitude of the school in 2005, and started my first week of goalie school at the Wonderland Of Ice, Bridgeport, CT.
I had 12 students in the first year, and three years later I had three weeks of summer camps (that was was all I could handle while I was still playing). I still have goalies from that first week attending as coaches or students. Most goalies I have worked with have gone on to play at high school and prep school levels. Some students have even gone on to play in the QMJHL, part of Canada’s top feeder league to the NHL. Working with this special group of kids was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Living and playing in New York for four years was a thrill, but in the back of my mind I also knew that what I was experiencing and learning would help me become an even better hockey mentor. During my entire career, I wrote down everything that I learned. I have probably recorded 500 drills from the coaches that I’ve worked with over the years. Looking back on it now, I have to say that to be a successful goalie you have to become a student of the position. At times, growing up, you’ll have to coach yourself. Now, I’m 34 years old and I have come to realize that as my professional playing career is coming to a close, I now have the chance to make a difference in the hockey community where I live.
This isn’t just going to be a hockey school. This is a culture. A culture where you can visit my website and view archives of saves from our time together and also learn from the other students attending. My goal is to help as many kids as I can into Junior Hockey, New England Prep Schools, and ultimately NCAA Hockey. From there, it’s anybody’s guess. Just look at me.