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A goaltender's attitude is as important
as any save that is made.

Hockey at the youth, high school and college levels is receiving high levels of exposure with the advent of showcase leagues, tournaments and publications. Good goaltenders are valuable commodities who can be promoted well beyond the realms of honesty. Over the years, I have read or heard of the exploits of the current "hot" goalie. When I see them play in person, their play is levels below what their press clippings claim. Often times, when a goalie begins to believe his or her press clippings, they leave themselves open to being outplayed by goalies with more desires and dedication.

There is a fine line between cockiness and arrogance. Cockiness, to me , is a supreme confidence in yourself and your ability to respond to any situation you may face. Arrogance is contempt for the abilities of others and the belief that the game revolves around you. If your squirt team goes 80-0 during the season, does that mean the Bruins will come knocking to offer you a contract? If you have a great season in high school and your name is in all the papers, will things always be great? Obviously, the answer to the previous questions is a resounding "NO"!

What I am finding in my travels is that the truly elite college and prep school goalies are cocky on the ice, but, generally very classy and humble off the ice. They have worked awfully hard to get ahead and they don't take their success for granted. They practice hard and seek out every edge they can find in order to stay ahead of the competition. The arrogant goalies usually have an exaggerated sense of themselves. They look for shortcuts when practicing and if they get scored on in a game, they quickly blame their teammates. If things aren't going well, they tank and mentally bail out.

As nice as it is when you get written about in newspapers, or hockey publications, it is important to remember where you came from. No matter how famous a person gets, there is still a human being behind all the hype. Madonna still has to dress herself, Wayne Gretzky must pay the mortgage, President Bush has to clean up after Millie, and Andy Moog is a family man as well as "THE BRUINS (Montreal now. krb) GOALIE". The point I'm trying to make is that no matter how much acclaim you receive, there is no getting away from dealing with real life issues. Being a great goalie is a privilege, not a right. The real world has a way of humbling those who believe the world revolves around them.

Don't ever forget the responsibility that goes with being a visible, acclaimed player. Whether you like it or not, there are responsibilities that will befall you. If you are a spoiled, obnoxious person, you will set a bad example for your teammates and a bad reputation will develop. When you represent a high school or college, hundreds or thousands of people notice your behavior. By behaving with class, you set a positive example for others and you represent your team with class. Never assume that no one important is watching you when you behave like a boor. College scouts or pro scouts are at many games and if you show a bad temperament or streak of immaturity, you'll see how much interest you generate in the future.

There is nothing wrong with cockiness. Confidence in yourself is contagious to your teammates. Arrogance, however, distances yourself from others and isolates you as a petty human being. You will be a human being for longer than you will be a goaltender. Think about it!

This article was contributed by Fred Quistgard of Quistgard Goalie Training


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