What's Happening to Canadian Goaltending?

By Mark Visentin

September 15, 2023

For years, people have questioned the talent and prosperity of "Canadian goaltending". There is a notion that Canada has not been able to keep up with the talent of goaltenders arising from other areas of the world. I disagree that their is a "problem" with Canadian goaltenders at the professional level. Here are some other thoughts

Here are my thoughts:

First, what deems a goaltender to be "successful"? This is never clearly stated on news channels BUT, it's obvious that the focus refers to the nationality of NHL goaltenders only.

Here is a list of professional leagues that aren't the NHL, but they're not too far off:

  • The American Hockey League (the AHL - one level below the NHL)

  • The National League in Switzerland (Western Europe)

  • The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia

Which begs the question; is a goalie who has a 10 year career in a different high level professional league not successful? Food for thought... We'll get back to this later.

The First Issue: Minor Hockey Development

Let's start with minor hockey. I'm directly involved in coaching goaltenders at the minor hockey level in Southern Ontario. Here are the grass root problems I've identified thus far:

  • The lack of organizations spending time and money into implementing a goalie development program

  • Goalie coaches who do show up are lazy/lack the skills to follow development models

    • Most of the time, goalie coaches show up, scrap together random drills before the session OR during the session, collect their check and leave

    • There is no system in place to develop the core foundational goaltending skills at a young age in a proper sequential order

    • Drills are put together randomly and goalies are rarely told why they are doing what they are being taught - being left to go through the motions

This has a massive trickle down effect. The earlier this is introduced, the higher chance of success. The Netmindr app aims to fill this gap.

The Second Issue: NHL GM's Mentality