Author Topic: Canadian Hockey League (CHL) might ban European Goalies  (Read 15205 times)


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According to hockey writer Damien Cox of the Toronto Star, the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) is considering banning imports of European goaltenders in the draft in order to solve Canada's goalie woes. The idea is to help Canada develop its own goaltenders and be more successful in international competitions. This was a topic of discussion with Hockey Canada in May 2013.

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Goalie Coach

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Re: Canadian Hockey League (CHL) might ban European Goalies
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2013, 07:39 AM »
"Goalie Discrimination" in Canada

With experience in Europe, Asia and North America, I have noticed the socio-cultural difference among nations in regards to goaltending. Except in Canada, goaltending is considered the most important position and training and resources are focused on goaltenders from early ages. In Canada however, there seems to be a general disdain for goaltenders (and their parents). I see goalie parents sitting alone at rinks or shunned by other parents. In dressing rooms, nobody wants to sit near a goalie. There is a lot of grumbling (mostly by other parents in younger age groups). If you are Canadian, how often do you hear or do you even say "goalies (or goalie parents) are a little weird"? Perhaps a lack of understanding and a fear of the unknown is to blame for this slight form of discrimination.

In Canada, non-goalie coaches and parents have a mindset that goaltending is not a priority and is simply an afterthought or ignored, but it often becomes the scapegoat when teams do not win. Goalies are thought of as non-athletes, fat and poor skaters. Goalies and their parents are left on their own.

"Put the worst skater in net."
"Put the biggest guy in net."
"Goalies can't skate."
"Goalies are not athletes."
"Goalies are crazy."
"Any kid with oversized pads can be a good goalie."
"Goalie coaches disrupt our practices."
"He gets lots of shots in practice. Isn't that enough training?"
"How come there's a separate goalie budget and none for my defence or forward?"
"Goalie dads are loners (freaks)?"
and so on....

Canada has formed these social views from early on while other countries have no inclination.

Though there are many goalie schools in Canada, the high cost, lack of standards, lack of time, and conflicts of interest (i.e. when school is asked to pick goalie for teams and picks only goalies from his school; marketing agendas) make it less than ideal.

Other countries that do not have this uniquely Canadian mindset or environment for goaltending are able to be more successful in developing goalies.

It will be hard to change the social mindset in Canada in a short period of time, but organizations may be able to create a better environment and standardized programs for goaltenders and their parents from early ages sooner.

Maybe Canada needs some of the following:
Goalie coach certification, standard goalie curriculum, regular free or subsidized instruction, team/league goalie coaches, etc.
And maybe a PR campaign (posters, info sheets, parents/coaching clinics) to change the social mindset in Canada.

Hockey Canada can and should play a bigger role in developing programs and a better environment for young goalies.


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Re: Canadian Hockey League (CHL) might ban European Goalies
« Reply #2 on: Jun 05, 2013, 10:24 AM »
With the recent debate regarding whether or not European goalies should be banned in the CHL, I feel it is important to look at the differences in goaltender development between Canada and Europe. In my opinion banning European goalies from the CHL does not make sense. While I am not familiar with the ratios of Canadian vs. import goalies in the CHL, I believe keeping European goalies out of the CHL will not contribute to the development of Canadian goalies. I think that the development of goalies has to start much sooner, before their junior years. Because by the time a goaltender reaches the junior leagues, development consists more of getting game experience and improving technique rather than major style changes. Goalies need to be led by qualified goalie coaches from young age in order to develop. Secondly I think that banning European goalies would reduce the competition for Canadian goalies, and this in turn would slow down their development. CHL teams do not seek out mediocre European goalies to replace a Canadian goalie of the same quality, the European goalie has to be much better in order to be successful as an import goalie. This means that the Canadian goalies currently in the league are up against some of the best junior talent in the world, which makes them better. However, the bottom line for improving Canadian goaltending is early development. Thinking about developing goalies at the junior level is simply too late; and if there were more goalies that were developed from young age it would simply mean that they would slowly push out the European competition, since no team will go for a European goalie if they have a Canadian goalie with the same talent at hand. In Europe, there is more systematic goalie development in top tier organizations; this is why there are approximately the same amount of goaltenders coming out of countries with less talent to choose from. Hard technical work from a young age gives them a competitive advantage.

Dusan Sidor
European Pro Goalie Coach

See my article about Goalie Development in Switzerland at
« Last Edit: Jun 05, 2013, 10:27 AM by Sensei »

Goalie Coach

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Ban is official now!
« Reply #3 on: Jun 21, 2013, 07:24 AM »
It is official now. The ban is in effect.
Now Hockey Canada is getting set to roll out its national goalie development program.
It's a good time to become a goalie in Canada!
We'll see how Canadian goalies fair in the next 5-15 years.