Tampa’s Nick Ryan lunges to try and stop a shot at the Goalies Inc. Performance Camp at AdventHealth Center Ice on Aug. 6.  (Photos: Mike Camunas) 

Nothing was going to stop these goalies from stopping pucks.

Despite the fact it had to be pushed back due to Covid-19, more than 40 youth ice hockey goalies recently were able to get in a training camp’s worth of goaltending work in two days (Aug. 5-6) at the Goalies, Inc., Performance Camp at AdventHealth Center Ice (AHCI) in Wesley Chapel.

Originally scheduled for March, Bernie Desrosiers, the executive director of Sunbelt Hockey Scouting and a long-time New Tampa-area hockey coach, says the camp was sold out well before the coronavirus shut down youth sports programs.

“We’ll have it again next year,” Desrosiers said. “This has been a great turnout and, so far, all the feedback we’ve gotten has been that everyone was happy to finally be able to come to this camp. “It’s been a great two days.”

Desrosiers added that of the 42 young goalies who participated, only one had to be sent home sick — not Covid-19 related — and that there were no injuries sustained. “Pretty remarkable, I’d say,” Desrosiers said.

Head instructor Jim Stanaway provides instruction to some of the 42 goalies in attendance. 

Led by Goalies, Inc. head instructor Jim Stanaway, boys and girls, teenagers and “tweens” went through various drills to hone their goaltending skills in the hopes of being the next Andrei Vasilevskiy (the Tampa Bay Lightning goalie) or Madeline Rooney (the starting goalie for the Olympic gold medal-winning 2018 USA women’s hockey team). The young goalies worked on glove and stick saves, rebound shots, skating backwards, diving for pucks and even how to hug the pipes to block shots.

Stanaway also preached a lot, not only about teamwork, sportsmanship and respect for the game, but also for the goalies’ fans (their families). 

As he watched netminders of all sizes and ages scramble to grab pucks, the goalie instructor of nearly two decades was impressed by his first trip to the Tampa Bay area and its local talent.

“With an NHL team, and them doing very well, it’s nice to see (the high interest in hockey in a southern city or state),” he said. “A lot of these southern NHL teams invest in their communities a lot, but the enthusiasm (here) is quite amazing.”

For more info about Goalies, Inc., camps, visit GoaliesInc.com.

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