Big Changes Bring Big Chances

Big Changes Bring Big Chances

One of the best personality traits you can have as a goaltender is an ability to embrace change.

Where there’s change, there’s a chance for growth. Where there’s growth, there’s a chance for major progress. These steady ticks on your evolutionary clock as an athlete is made ever more beautiful by one simple universal law; the only constant in life is change. Never fear it. Never ignore it. Always accept it.

“Embracing change” is an important lesson you not only learn as a player, but as a person.

“Never get too comfortable in your way of thinking or way of life, because things are bound to come out of nowhere and alter your path forever.” I wrote this in a journal entry during a goalie camp when I was in college, and the message still rings true to this very day.

So here I am, another summer of obnoxious baggage fees and international data plans swiftly shrinking in my rearview mirror. Exhausted again, I’m still blissfully soaking from head to toe in sweet, sweet change.

Fueled by another collection of lessons learned and new ideas shared with incredibly intelligent people, I’m aiming for loftier goals than ever before. With the help of my good friends in Sweden and FinlandĀ  and Canada, I’m taking on a special assignment right here in Colorado and leaning on them for support.

The Goalie Guild’s new direction is straightforward; we’ve established a nonprofit 501-c3 foundation in order to support underprivileged and under-educated goalies and goalie coaches. Creativity, both functional and artistic, is still the essence of our identity in the hockey community, but now we’re striving to be way more functional. Starting this week, we will be rolling out all-new programs committed to developing goalies and goalie coaches across the USA.

I started by establishing and funding five brand new annual scholarships:

  1. The “Lone Star” Playing Scholarship
  2. The “Korn Camp” Coaching Scholarship
  3. The “GoaliePro” Coaching Scholarship
  4. The “NetWork” Coaching Scholarship
  5. The “GGSU Legends” Scholarship (coming)

These scholarships will give rare training and learning opportunities to those that meet certain requirements. Selections are made by our Board of Directors and partners, but are aimed specifically at those who live in non-traditional hockey areas, or for those who display a high level of dedication and desire to improving their craft.

Another vital pillar of the new nonprofit is currently under construction.

As the newly-appointed Director of Goalie Development for the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA), a major focus this season is on creating a full-blown goalie development model for the entire state of Colorado. It’s a chance for me to not only apply everything I’ve learned in Europe over the past few years, but also act as a resource center for all youth hockey associations, goalie parents, and head coaches. In the long run, I hope what my friends and I create for Colorado improves the culture of goalie development in North America by inspiring other states or regions to adopt a similar structure.

A big part of my plan is to grow the number of goalies at the 8-Under level. If this is to be successful, I’ll have to fill my small warehouse in Castle Rock with donated or used goalie equipment. In order to help more people coach and play the position, we want to give every kid a chance to try on the gear and fall in love with stopping pucks. Away from the rink, I’ll lean heavily on my writing skills for funding. I’ll be applying for annual grants, asking for donations from partners and sponsors, and I’ll come up with more ways to use our design skills and services to support our cause.

One project that reflects this creative integrity and new nonprofit mission is The Periodic Table of Goaltending Elements. A tedious infographic packaged side-by-side with a free digital workbook, this project is an educational tool that helps goalies visualize the key principles of the position. It’s fun, free, and most importantly, functional.

I also want to share a lot of the ideas discussed at the first-annual NetWork Goaltending Coaching Symposium back in August in Madison, Wisconsin. The event featured 100 pro and amateur goalie coaches from all over the world, including 12 pro goalie coaches that represented nine NHL teams. For those of you that aren’t familiar with NetWork Goaltending, you can read about its genesis in my book, Between Two Worlds. As the Director of Operations and one of five co-founders, it’s a huge honor to be a part of this organization. The other founders changed my life in a very short amount of time, reminding me once again that the more I learn, the less I realize I know.

At the end of the day, the lesson heading into the new season is simple: Big changes have the power to bring big chances. Conversely, I’m proud to create more chances for goalies and goalie coaches to make positive changes to their future.

So there you have it. The Goalie Guild, a nonprofit foundation with wild ambitions, is officially off and running.

Let the games begin.