The New York Islanders continue to grow their relationship with youth hockey on Long Island.
Former Islanders goaltender and current General Manager Garth Snow hosted a one-day goaltending clinic Saturday at Iceworks geared at teaching proper fundamentals to aspiring young netminders. The session was open to kids of all age groups, who got a chance to work with several instructors, including 1-on-1 time with Snow himself.
Brandon Singer, 8, of Merrick, talked about the fast-paced clinic, which lasted an hour-and-a-half, and involved the participants rotating to different stations and executing a variety of drills with live shooters.
“It was a really good experience,” Singer said. “[The instructors] knew what we had to do. If you didn’t do something correctly, you had to do it again until you got it correct.”
Brandon’s father, David, says the two have been to a number of goaltending camps, but that the interaction and instruction provided at Snow’s clinic was at another level.
“We go to other clinics, but goalies are pretty much there for target practice,” David said. “When you actually get a opportunity to receive goalie training, it’s awesome. As soon as I told Brandon that Garth Snow was going to be the lead instructor, he was excited.”
The kids weren’t the only ones who got something out of the camp. Snow says the feeling was mutual.
“It’s a fun experience for me to help goalies, no matter what age, to get better,” Snow said. “It’s a luxury that I didn’t have growing up – being able to learn certain tricks of the trade to get better and work on your game.”
Through clinics like Saturday’s, as well as programs like the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, Snow and the Islanders coaching staff have put an emphasis on youth hockey development on Long Island. Helping young players, no matter the age or experience level, improve at a game they enjoy is a major motivating factor for Snow and Co.
“We want to have the best hockey program on Long Island and in the area,” Snow said. “We can do that through coaching, whether it’s myself helping these goalies out. Doug Weight, Brent Thompson, Jack Capuano, Bernie Cassell, Matt Bertani – we’ve all done clinics in the last couple years. It’s really been a focus from our staff. We’re just trying to use all of our resources to help the kids of Long Island.”