Caps, Goalies and Youth
After hearing how Jose Theodore was pushed into goal by four older brothers who needed a target, I asked a few other people at KCI for their youth goalie stories.
"Last time I played goal was maybe when I was 10, against a pretty inferior team," Brooks Laich said. "My dad stuck me in goal so that the score wouldn't get run up very much. I had to play two periods in goal, and then I started to go crazy and they let me back out."
I summarized Theodore's story of sibling influence; "you ask a lot of the goalies, they usually have older brothers," Laich said. "I know I stuck my brother in net a few times, and then also one of my best buddies that we always used to play road hockey with, I guess I was a little more dominant so I said 'I get to shoot,' and he played a lot of net for me when we were growing up."
Laich also said that plenty of kids fool around in net during youth leagues.
"I think most kids actually want to try it," he said. "It seems like a fun position, you get to put pads on....I'm sure every kid's played goal in road hockey at one point or another. But I couldn't even fathom sitting here now having grown men firing 90 mile an hour pucks at me."
But the "most kids" thing didn't apply to Bruce Boudreau, who scoffed when the subject of youth net-minding was raised.
"No, never, never wanted to lot try it," he said. "All my kids did, and my one young son IS a goalie. Still trying to talk him out of it."
Why didn't he want to try?
"Because if they score, everybody yells at you," Boudreau explained. "When you're a kid, you don't like that. My daughter started wanting to play goal. She says, 'Oh, I want to be a goalie, I want to be a goalie.' So we let her in. She lost 10-nothing the first game. She threw the stuff and she never played goal since. So it's not good."
Brent Johnson in goal wasn't surprising, since his dad was an NHL goalie, but he said he played both in and out of net during his first five years of hockey, alternating as a blue-liner.
"I was considered the best one-handed defenseman in the league," Johnson joked yesterday.
But by the time he was 9 or 10, Johnson started getting serious about the sport, and he stopped leaving the goal.
"My dad told me, 'Hey listen, you've got the option,' " Johnson remembered. " 'If you like it, you like it, if you don't you don't. Try on the pads.' I tried them on and never took them off."
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