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Start In Your Own End

By Bill Halbrehder, MGHCA President, 11/06/10, 12:00AM CDT


Most everyone knows that a good place to start the season establishing your system is in your own end of the rink. Most of us have heard of building from the goalie out, and that is certainly true.

Unlike college and the Pro’s, youth and high school hockey still cuts the goalies some slack when they get the least bit of pressure and freeze the puck.  Usually the refs will tell you when it is obvious to keep the puck moving, but with any kind of pressure they let you freeze the puck and stop play.  Goalies… make sure to use this opportunity when you sense that your players are chasing in your own end, or when you know they are tired and have been out there too long!  Some other things for your goalies are:
  • Count the number of players battling for the puck below the goal line.  If all you see is one, the rest are out front of you somewhere, and you may have to sneak a quick look.  If you see two, the third forward is out there somewhere, and now many teams will drop a ‘D’ down into the slot area as another attacker.
  • Change the direction on any shot or pass coming through the crease area, and within reach of your stick.  While it looks like it won’t go in, it is usually meant for another player camped on the back door. 
  • One last tip today, stay on your feet for any shot at the net taken from below the face off spot on either side.   Many goalies drop down and expose the upper corner, and you certainly don’t need to.  This is especially true if the shooter is coming in from their shooting side, a lefty on the left side, and visa versa.  If the shooter is coming in from the off side (a right hander on the left side), it still works not to drop down if the shooter and her stick are clearly below the face off spot, when they take the shot.  You have to practice this however, so get your coaches to set up a shooting drill once a week, where the shooters are forced to go below the  face off spot to shoot, and then stay on your feet to make the save.  
If you have former players, or teammates on college teams, or your daughter or a friend’s daughter is playing somewhere, chances are you know a web site where you can follow her.  
If you don’t is one of the best!  It has some great features. In addition to the usual score sheet format, it lists shots per player and plus/minus for that game. One feature that I really like is the starters are shown in bold type.  It also shows team records, and lists officials for that game.  There are other features as well, and on the main page there is a drop down list which allows you to follow a number of other things, such as scoring leaders, team statistics, scores from previous games, etc...  A great site!  Another good site is, and each college program will have their web page.
With the retirement of veteran Apple Valley coach Chuck Scanlon, after 16 years at the helm, South St Paul coach Dave Palmquist stands alone as the longest tenured girl’s high school hockey coach in the state.  Dave is starting his 17th season. Congratulations Dave, and continued success with a great program!  Dave has tried to move to a college position on a few occasions, but the reality is that unless it is an established major school, the pay is usually not enough to give up your coaching and teaching position in high school.  Several other coaches that have been at it a long time include Tim Morris (Eden Prairie) 16 years, Evan Zigler (Minnehaha) 16 years, Tim Hunst (Owatonna) 16 years, Pete Hyduke (Hibbing/Chisholm) 15 years,  Denny Bray (Austin) 14 years, Joe Fredrickson, (St Francis/North Branch) 14 years,  Brano Stankovsky (Blake School) 13 years, Glen Gilderman (Proctor/Hermantown/Marshall) 12 years, Tom KulenKamp (Spring Lake Park/St Anthony) 12 years.  There are many coaches around 10 years of service, but let me know if I have missed any that are over 10 years, and I’ll include them in the future.  Of those coaches listed, Palmquist has 4 state titles, and Scanlon, Morris, and Stankovsky have 2 each!  Amber Heglund, who stepped down last season at Wayzata, was one of the longest tenured female coaches in our association.  We will miss her, and hope that we have more long tenured women coaches in the future.
Coaches, I did a quick survey, and approximately 20% of you have your rosters posted.  As soon as you have made your cuts and know your squad, try and get them on your web site!  I know it’s early in the season, but I will keep reminding you, so that we can have our web site fully functioning!  I also checked the MSHSL web site and many more of you have posted there (about 40%), so I know that there are many of you that have your rosters ready.  Many teams have some very complete web pages, and if you want to see the potential for your team, check out the team pages for Matt Menne of Bemidji, Dave Palmquist of South St Paul, Tom Kulenkamp of SLP/SA,  and Tom Peart of Totino Grace to name a few.  Recruit someone from your program to help with the web site.  I’ll keep checking for progress on your web pages.