Tavistock Minor Hockey: developing goaltenders one clinic at a time
Date: May, 09, 2022 12:00 PM EDT
Tavistock Minor Hockey is a small organization with a big sense of community.
This year the Minor Hockey Association celebrated the time, commitment, and dedication of just under 100 volunteers who help to ensure the shape of their game continues to function. Without these volunteers, many of the structures that keep the game going in Tavistock would not be possible. This includes their goalie clinics.
This past year, Tavistock Minor Hockey applied to the Hockey Canada London Legacy Fund for funding to support their strategic goals regarding the recruitment, development, and retention of goaltenders at a young age. With these funds, the Minor Hockey Association has developed a comprehensive clinic program that allows young players to try goaltending without the financial barriers that often confront them, like the cost of equipment.
“This year, I’m coaching the U11 and both of my goalies, are playing hockey for the first time,” said Darryl Austin, Coach and Director at Tavistock.
“Just like every other coach I know; I am not experienced in training goalies. So having this program has drastically improved the way they move, how they play and their positioning - it’s fantastic.”
The program is supported not only by volunteers but now a new goalie coach who has been running specialized clinics, as well as coming in to work with individual teams to allow constant attention on the goaltending craft.
“The funding has allowed us to hire a goalie coach for our organization…we have had them come and work with our individual teams, which is been a big help,” said Dave McLaren, Director and Ice Scheduler.
“We are hoping by next year, we can roll the clinics our earlier and more often. Maybe have them monthly and have the money from the fund allow us to bring in the goalie coach on a more individual basis.”
Director, Jen McKee led the process to identify where funding would not only help the organization but the participants as a whole. From McKee’s perspective, this was a no-brainer initiative Tavistock and will only further encourage participants to not only stay in the game but also, enter the game for the first time.
“The application email came to one of our executive members, and I volunteered to do it and I had an executive meeting. We just put it out there, what do we need for Tavistock Minor Hockey? And it was pretty much unanimous, ‘we need to develop our goalies’, said McKee.
“We didn’t want parents at a young age to have to buy equipment just to ‘see’ if their child wanted to play goalie. We wanted to offer that and development. When you get to an older age there are not many goalies in our organization…It was a no-brainer. I outlined the costs, what we needed, ice time, etc. and now we are so happy with the results. “