USA Hockey Magazine

June / July 2018

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JUNE/JULY 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 33 B EH I N D T H E M A S K "I would say that mental toughness is more associated with goalten- ding more than being weird or anything like," he said. "From a young age they 're in a spotlight to a greater degree than other positions and you have to be able to bear the brunt of losses or goals against even though it's never totally their fault. They 're the ones who are ultimately responsible for those things and they have to bear the brunt of that. The ones who survive and move on are the ones who are mentally tough." USA Hockey is working hard to remove those types of stigmas by introducing a couple of additional measures aimed at getting more kids to try the position. One is the quick-change goalie pads, which give kids at the 6 & Under and 8 & Under levels more opportunities to play goalie for a shorter amount of time. The other is to split playing time, which allows both goaltenders to keep their head in the game. "No one wants to go to the rink, put gear on and then not play, especially when you're 10, 11 or 12," Osaer said. "Through those years of sports sampling, long before you decide to specialize on a sport, we want to make our position more aligned with what we know about the adolescent brain so they're going to have the most enjoyment." Vanbiesbrouck would also like to see coaches get their goaltenders more involved in practices and preparations for games rather than leaving them to their own devices on the ice. "If he was a pitcher in baseball he would get the most coaching, if he was a quarterback in football he would get the most coaching but a hockey goalie probably gets the least amount," he said. "I think that's certainly something we need to take a look at in the future of how we develop practices around this very important posi- tion and remove all the stigmas." No matter what, even though many goaltenders will still go along with the joke, it's a stigma that has run its course as Osaer and others work hard every day to entice the best and brightest athletes to don the pads and get between the pipes. "I just hope that we can evolve past this because the kids that I've gotten to know are not weird. They 're really, really good peo- ple and great athletes," he said. "I hope this stigma dies with this generation." P to ever feel like they're on an island." OS A E R @nahlhockey made in the nahl opportunity commitment advancement 300+ NCAA commitments every season 1,000+ active alumni in the ncaa

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