The Best Camp in the Land
We don't just mean Cleveland ....
Growing up in Cleveland there was nothing around for goalie training. I mean it, no goalie schools or clinics in Cleveland. No goalie coaches experienced with how to teach a butterfly, T push, RVH, VH etc etc. The best we had was c-cuts and glove saves. I was fortunate that my parents were willing to sacrifice a lot to take me to Toronto and get me the best training available. Luckily, Toronto was only 5 hours away. I attended the Jim Park Goalie School for years. It was the biggest and best goalie school in the region at that time (approx 1995). I would go to that goalie school for 3-4 weeks at a time. I couldn't get enough. I loved to compete and loved to train.
When I made Junior A at the age of 15 hockey became a lot more serious. I decided I would live up there in the summer time and spent my entire summers training before and after the camp while being an instructor during the daytime. Over the next few years I would continue this summer routine of training and working at goalie camps. I later transitioned to Jon Elkin's Goalie School and continued the same routine- working at the camps as a coach and training at lunch time or in the evenings.
At the time it felt like I was poker player who worked his day job as a card dealer. For anyone who follows poker you know that this is extremely valuable. You get to see thousands more plays and see the game from a different perspective. Coaching gives you an entire new perspective on the position.
Looking back at it I was coaching at the biggest goalie schools in the world all summer from the age of 15 to 25. I would be in my skates for over 10 hours a day. Continuously watching and learning the game and position. I would play 5 season in the OHL, 3 years in the CIS (Canadian College), and 4 years professionally - all while spending my summer time coaching and training at these goalie schools in Toronto.
This was great for me because I loved hockey. But it would have been nice to do this while living at home, spending more time with my family and siblings. I want our goalies to dream big. To push themselves to be the best they can be. To love the game and the position. To become better people and members of society and hopefully hockey can help teach them some of that. But most importantly i want them to believe in themselves. Just because you're not from a traditional hockey market doesn't mean to can't make it far in the game or think you have to move away from home at a young age to do it.
There are many talented goaltenders in this city. In only 3 years in Cleveland we have already had some of our goalies make impacts on the national stage. We hope our school can continue this trend and develop some of the best young goalies in the country. You won't have to drive several hours to get some of the best training in the world. It's right here at home , in Cleveland.