(January 4, 2005) -- For the past two years, Steve McKichan has been Ed Belfour's personal goaltending coach. In Ed's first year in Toronto he set a team record for victories with 37 and was a big reason the Leafs had a successful season. This past season Eddie had another stellar year finishing the season with a career win total of 435. During the playoffs he posted three shutouts in the opening round as the Leafs sneaked by the Ottawa Senators.
After the season ended, McKichan accepted the position of Goaltending Coach with the Maple Leafs, which means that all of the goalies in the Toronto system will now be under his guidance and coaching.
As an NHL goalie coach, Steve must develop all the goaltenders in the system and try to get them all progressing towards the mutual goal of playing in the "show". Besides the two goaltenders on the big club, most teams will have two goaltenders in the AHL and one or two goalies in a third tier level like the ECHL or the Central League. In addition there are normally two or three other youngsters that have been drafted but still play in Major Junior or college hockey.
Now, Steve will regularly offer up some great practice tips for goalies of all ages at all levels...
"All pro goaltenders do things really well as you would imagine but clearly they all have areas of weakness or more accurately areas the need to improve on. The fact that they are getting paid to play doesn't mean they have the position perfected. This applies to the guys on their way to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the guys trying to get their first taste of the Big Leagues.
"Each individual goaltender in our system would have specific areas to address but all goaltenders need to work on three core areas. Even goaltenders still playing in youth leagues or in the recreation leagues can benefit from these ideas...
Passion to Excel
In all walks of life, passion for what you do determines your level of success. A man who opens a sub shop and pops his head in once a week may get a nasty surprise a couple of months down the road resulting in a pad lock on a failed business.
On the other hand, a man who is the first one to the store and the last to leave will see trouble coming and recognize opportunity early. This man has a passion for his work and will make every sub as if it was for his mother. This type of passion will guarantee a successful and profitable restaurant.
As a goaltender you have to have this passion to excel or succeed. By getting on the ice first and leaving last you display your passion for improvement. By treating every puck in practice as if a scout was watching, you display your passion.
Great minds and passionate people never stop thinking of ways to get better even if they are already successful. Even future Hall of Famer, Ed Belfour is still searching for ways to improve his game and his gear with a view towards continuing his amazing success. In fact after a win with few shots against you bet the Eagle will be putting in a high effort 45 minute run on the treadmill! Turn out the lights when you are the last one out of the Air Canada Centre.
"If you want to reach your goals in hockey as an elite goaltender it is important to focus on these core areas. If you have any other questions you could drop me an email or visit my website www.futurepro.com.
Toronto Maple Leafs Goaltending Coach