Tricks of Pro Goalies

Ok.. when I was reading the last article, all I could think to myself was, “Ok.. who cares.. everyone knows that.” But there is a lot that most skaters don’t know… the real tricks of pro goalies. Being an ex-Junior player, I was taught some of these tricks… and I’ve come here to tell you about some of the more obvious and some of the deviously hidden.First we’ll start off with the obvious. Patrick Roy is infamous for two cheating tactics. We’ll start with his jersey. In the mid 90’s, Roy started using over-sized jerseys… so oversized that when he stretched his arms out, his jersey made a web inbetween his body and his arm. And furthermore, when they weren’t outstretched, his jersey was cut so low that it dipped into his 5-hole area. After over-sized jerseys were limited, he still puts 3-inch inserts in the arm pit area to make a web-like formation. You can see it in a few goalies in the NHL.

His other famous tactic is using oversized pads… although you wouldn’t notice that it was, indeed, he that came up with this. If you notice his pads during the… I believe it was 1997 playoffs, his pads are obviously 34″ pads. A year later, he raised an inch. And from then on, he raised his pads up to a whopping 39″. Doesn’t sound like much, but other goalies caught on and Turek’s went from 37.5″ to an insane 46 1/2″. I have a nice picture of him in a Blues team picture and you can barely even see his head over his pads. What this over-sized pad does is protect the 5-hole in the half-butterly. I’ve noticed even in my own play that because I wore 35″ pads and I’m only 5’11”, the extra couple inches really added a lot of protection for my 5-hole. Recently, the NHL put a 38″ limit on the pads. Another pad trick is to make the pads incredibly loose. For instance, on my pads, I kept the top straps loose. Some NHL goalies don’t even have top straps. This makes the pad stiff and easier to block the 5-hole on half-butterfly saves.

I believe the most obvious trick of them all was Garth Snow’s outrageously-sized chest protector. Not only were the breast/shoulder plates specially-made to come bigger than the norm, but there were inserts made in the sides of the chest protector to make his stomach bigger. Some other NHL goalies do this, too, with the use of old mattress foam. It’s quite interesting to see the set-up that some guys have. Just like the over-sized pads, the NHL put a mandate on this, too. Just another note about chest protectors: Marty Brodeur’s arms aren’t connected to the chest protector. This is so he can move his arms better while stick handling… it’s also the reason you see him wince about 5 times a game when he takes a high shot to the bicep. That has to hurt.

Now onto the shorts. What can you do with the shorts? Good question… first of all, in the late 90’s, Vaughn introduced ‘5-hole rolls’. These were foam inserts in the groin area that would protect your inside thigh from getting bruises. In the NHL, however, some goalies started getting bigger and bigger 5-hole rolls. The NHL quickly made it known that it would not be an acceptable action. So what did goalies do? Took the 5-hole rolls out and stuck them on the outside of the hips! I happen to own a nice example from Garth Snow… can still see where the foam was taken out and inserts were MADE on the outside of the shorts. Best shorts I’ve ever worn, too.

Ok.. on to other things: skates. There’s not too many tricks with skates… it’s mostly preference between goaltenders. A few years back, world-famous goaltending coach Francois Allaire came up with a modification for goaltender skates.. adding a second blade near the back of the skate. It promoted further balance for butterfly goaltenders and was briefly used by Patrick Roy, J.S. Giguere, and a few others. For some reason or another, they ditched the idea. A second preference for skates comes at the skate sharpening. I’ll start off with the difference between regular skates and goaltender skates. Not only are the blades of goaltender skates more wide than regular skates, but they are cut different, too. Instead of a mostly flat blade or just barely a curvature, goaltenders get pretty big curves put in their skates. It makes a sort of “U” in their blade. Now of course the “U” has special designations such as 7/8″ and sorts, but a special trick that has come over from Europe is to get the inside edge smaller than the outside edge. This is a trick that even I used in Juniors. Basically, it gives much more of a push when going side to side and makes a huge difference on lateral play. NHL goaltenders who use this include Milan Hnlicka (ok, so he’s not NHL right now) and Pasi Nurminen.

Ok, so we’ll move away from equipment and go to random tricks. First, if a goalie is faced with a penalty shot or if it comes down to late in a game, you can see some goalies make a small snow barrier on the line in the goal. This is in hopes that if the puck barely squeezes through, it’ll stop it.. although I haven’t seen that happen yet. Another trick is to not have ANY snow inside the net. You’ll never see a goalie in the NHL with snow in the net. Why? Because if the puck goes in, it’ll get stuck in the snow. If there’s no snow, the hope is that the puck will go in and out so fast that no one will notice. I’ve seen that a few times. Furthermore, when the goaltender wipes his snow compact to the side of his net, that’s not just to get it out of the way. That’s in hope that while a player is attempting a wrap around, it’ll get stuck in the snow. I’ve seen that a few times in the NHL as well.

Well, that’s all for now. Hope I’ve shared some new information with you!

39 Responses to Tricks of Pro Goalies

  1. DaveG says:

    Good article, you did the topic justice.

  2. Lint07 says:

    Finally, a good post!!! There is a God after all..

    More seriously, being a goaltender myself I quite enjoyed this article. Most of the tricks I already knew but you still managed to teach me some as well.

    Excellent article. Thank you.

  3. wingsfan13 says:

    O comon give me a break. Yes I admit this article did give me more information. But really we don’t care about your exjunior crap about how you put a towel in your hockey shorts. Seriously “justice” gimme a break this article was not about tricks in hockey TECHNIQUE it was how they cheat in equipment. I could of told you that Roy and Giguere cheat. Any who ever watched them in a hockey game has to have noticed their oversized equipment. O yeah and i can’t help but say that you missed a few things. There is also a thing called the cheater on some goalies catching gloves the add an extra inch or two. This helps cheat and cover more up top and more leather to catch the puck. Another trick is having a wider stick blade. This obviously helps cover the bottom half of the net more. Next time you explain about your kiddie games in the park get all the facts….. yeah and ur doctrine degree should be revoked with that retard retaliation.

  4. shady313 says:

    Who cares about you being an ex junior and we all know these goalies cheat

  5. shady313 says:

    wingsfan13’s article is more relevant than yours, he talked about the goalies styles and techniques, not talk about stupid equipement

  6. shady313 says:

    I totaly agree with Madskillz9,

    This isn’t a post about the game of hockey,

    It’s a post about the game of cheating

  7. RangerSteve says:

    Nice article..kinda figured some of these cheat tactics out a while ago. But I’ll be the asshole here first…

    Hey guys, how do forwards cheat..they blow torch their blades so the curve is the shape of a banana! hahaha..can i have a post? just playin doc.

  8. DrHockey says:

    Thank you very much, I greatly appreciate your comment.

  9. DrHockey says:

    Thank you very much for your comment. It’s about time someone took more than 5 minutes on writing an article, eh? I know exactly how you feel. Lately, most of the articles that have been posted look like they are being written by 12 year olds.. and I bet they are. I’m happy that I taught you some tricks… especially since you’re a fellow goaltender. Nice to know someone reads these and makes appreciative comments.. unlike most of them below.. 🙂

  10. DrHockey says:

    LoL Cheaters on the gloves are something of the past. The only glove makers that make illegal cheaters now are the custom pad makers such as Battram. Those cheaters are huge… and very illegal.

    Secondly, goalies don’t usually use a wider blade. It’s too obvious. I’ve seen it twice in the past with Dominic Roussel getting caught twice in the same game.

    What I am talking about here are tricks that are legal. Devious, but legal. The one’s you said are regulated.

  11. DrHockey says:

    LoL… he talked about styles.. and got it wrong. That’s all I’ll say about that.

  12. DrHockey says:

    LOL Great comment. You’re absolutely right. Some other ways that forwards and defenseman cheat are: the huge shin guards, the ‘banana curves’ that you mentioned, elbow guards with plastic or even metal on the outside..

    or even a trick that they use when they are hurt.. is that they will order gloves that are otherwise normal, except for that the insert between two fingers is sewn together so accomodate for a broken finger being tied to another one. That’s a little trick I saw on ESPN.

  13. OldTimeHockey_28 says:

    Very informative post Dr. I too being a goalie know many of these tricks.

    For those that call it cheating. It’s not cheating until it’s made illegal.

    Couple changes I’d like to make Dr. First off the extra blade was actually made illegal in the NHL as of 2 years ago. It was termed a slider and was used for much easier lateral movement while still on knees(very helpfull for a butterfly goalie).

    A technique that is purely technical is knowing the angle your shooter is coming in on. If a player is right handed, coming down the right wing he will obviously see more of the right side of the net, This is called SHOOTERS ANGLE! I know you cannot guess, but this is a reason a lot of players do try to go short side. Although the puck does not have the angle, the players vision feels it does.

    The snow on the goal line for the penalty shot is not allowed. I’ve even seen referees kick snow away from goal line during stoppages. Also the snow around the post is also an illegal ploy. Which is why the referee will kick it away.

    Overall a well written post.

  14. wingsfan13 says:

    quiet you. cheaters are not custom they are customary on goalie equipment now you old geeser. And hasek got checked for a wider stick blade in the 2002 playoffs by the colorado avalanche but it was legal. Your stupid if it is so obvious then y did they check him. wrong again check espn commentary.

  15. wingsfan13 says:

    thanks for supporting my article. Your obviously the only one who knows anything about hockey.

  16. rob_b1980 says:

    There is also the waterbottle above the goal line and black stick tape for the knob. Both of these aare for video replays so the knob looks like the puck and the waterbottle hides the puck.

  17. Ed-dee says:

    Ed Belfour also uses the “U” cut for his blade. Belfour maintains his own equpiment and sharpens his skates before every game, just like Potvin, and wont let anyone else touch his stuff. One time, while he was with Dallas I’m pretty sure, one of the trainers’ sons or the trainer himself sharpened Eddie’s skates and Belfour went crazy.

  18. rob_b1980 says:

    as for player tricks, there was this guy along time ago that when he was about to go onto the ice and take the faceoff he would keep water in his mouth and spray the other players once the puck dropped, he also cut out the inside of his gloves and was able to grab players jerseys or arms to pull them back. There was a player he had two sticks one with a illegal curve and a legal curve marked with different color tape. and when he got traded he switched the tape on the sticks before he played his old team and an old buddy on the other team knew about the illegal stick and when he saw the stick with the lets say red tape he told the coach, and the coach told the ref and asked him to get it checked. the team got a penalty for delay of game.

  19. dkball7 says:

    If anyone remembers, Jay Pandolfo scored a goal which went in and out of the goal real fast. It wasn’t even reviewed, even though replays showed it was a clear goal. If that goal counted, Jay would’ve had ended the playoffs with more goals in the post season than in the regular season! At least the goal didn’t affect the outcome of that series and the one after it.

  20. DrHockey says:

    Thank you VERY much for your comments! I wasn’t aware that the NHL had banned the slider. I, too, have seen the referees kick away snow on the line. And recently, I noticed that rinks now employ hot girls to shovel the snow away from the nets. 🙂

  21. DrHockey says:

    The NHL made black take on the knob illegal. According to almost every rule book, the knob must be white. But yes, the water bottle still works. 🙂

  22. DrHockey says:

    I know a ton about Eddie’s equipment thanks for Goalie’s World Magazine. It’s a great mag. Anyways, Eddie likes his pads extremely stiff, takes the top strap off, and his gloves are basically standard. Kind of interesting. Turco’s gloves are the thinnest of the NHL, with Thibault’s being the most padded (since MacInnis broke his hand).

  23. Lint07 says:

    Sound like someone is jealous….. hahaha! I like it!

  24. Lint07 says:

    Dude, don’t even bother!!!

    It’s called ”Back up your crew” and it’s the new cool game here on HTR.

    You know the SCTP/WC crap?? Exactly.


    The name of our alliance / team is:

    ” W.C. ”

    current members are:

    Me (Leaf_Expert),









    and balls223

    *We will also be accepting new members. So if interested comment below or contact me through private messaging….


    Did you really think his article was better than yours?? It’s getting more and more ridiculous in here!

  25. the_expert_44 says:

    it started on Long Island 🙂

  26. G_Money says:

    Great article. Amazing. Very Interesting.

  27. still_fly72 says:

    Actually everything he said had to do with the game of hockey. Cheating is part of the game, rules can be broken. Hooking a player down is not tolerated so you get a penalty. Every rule has its concequence. Good post.

  28. DrHockey says:

    Thank you very much. Your comment is greatly appreciated.

  29. Lint07 says:


    Things I wrote about the WC and STCP stupid crews have been erased????

    That I don’t like. The article says 32 comments and I can only count 27…. 5 comments are missing then. Looks like somebody here is backing the ”crew thing”.

    I’ll say it again then:

    ”I Don’t need any dumb crew to back me up when I come talking about hockey. I can do it by myself!”

    It really piss me off to be censored. Especially when I come talking about hockey. I know that Cwtrash was in the comment thread also. Something’s wrong with that.


    stupid, just stupid.

  30. RangerSteve says:

    Eh, i don’t think id call teh insert between the fingers as a trick. Some gloves are actually made and sold on the market like that today. I think Mission or CCM puts them out.

  31. cwthrash says:

    I don’t think it was anyone who backs them up. Very much to the contrary. I believe it’s an effort to do away with it all-together. I could be mistaken, but I have a feeling that is the case.

    Didn’t I say that I might get into a little hot water for that? Prophetic somewhat.

  32. Lint07 says:

    yeah you may be right, I don’t know but it’s just plain dumb nonetheless.

    I said that because there are so much ”defenstrate” articles published even though half of the time the are not even related to hockey.

    I don’t care about the guy, in fact I just don’t dig his humour, but it kinda scratch me a bit sometimes…

    1 non-hockey article every now and then is alright with me, don’t get me wrong but it’s just that it was 1 article after another at some time.

    I’m a purist, that’s the way I like it…

    By the way, would you like to join my ”No-crew” crew?? pfff.

  33. cwthrash says:

    Before the juvenile group entered the fray, it was fine. The other group was just out to have fun, and I’m being very liberal in calling them a group. Those guys involved didn’t really change styles or attitudes; they posted the same before and after. Only difference being that after they put a little quote at the end of their comments. Harmless.

    It’s understandable that you don’t like his brand of humor. It isn’t for everyone. Personally, I liked it. But everyone has a different sense of humor.

    I actually thought the non-hockey related articles were a good idea. I remember how incredibly dull last off-season was. There is only a limited amount of hockey-specific material at this time of year. As much as I like to gab about all sorts of different hockey topics, there just weren’t that many stories fit to talk about this off-season. Once the season gets started, then they would be somewhat annoying, but it helps to pass the time for now.

    It looks as though those who don’t like him much are getting their wish. He hasn’t written an article in a while, or even commented much lately. I know some of the reasons why, but it wouldn’t be approriate for me to say it here. Let’s just say those reasons anger me, and I daresay they might even anger you even though you don’t care much for d-strate.

  34. OldTimeHockey_28 says:

    But the waterbottle has been there for years and years. Long before the video replay came into existence.

  35. DrHockey says:

    I hope he dies along with Leafs Expert, shady, and the rest of the assholes.

  36. cheeze says:

    Great Article! You missed out on Belfours Tricks

    I found this out through my girlfriends family who live in Carmen Manitoba where Belfour is from. Belfour leaves the ice midway through the 3rd period and has 6-7 beers and replaces himself with a cardboard cut-out taken from the hockey hall of fame down the street.

    You also failed to mention Grant Fuhr’s most famous trick was doing a few lines of coke before each period. He was so jacked most nights he could have gloved bullets.

    Lalime’s trick is obviously smoking a reefer before each game otherwise he wouldn’t looked so meesed during the national anthems or have Marvin The Martian on his mask.

    Osgoodes trick is very deceptive… is having a great defence in front of him.

    Just a few pointers that’s all, otherwise nice article.

  37. cheeze says:

    that is not very nice. I totally agree with you though. Fuck them

  38. cwthrash says:

    Don’t get me too wrong for the following because I did very much like this article and the way it was written.

    But I suppose that your wish includes me. I’m very much an asshole when I choose to be. Seems to me that isn’t the best reason to hate someone here. I choose not to like others for their lack of knowledge, juvenile behavior, ignorance, etc. Being an asshole usually goes right along with those but there are several of us who can be pricks yet still know what we are talking about.

    To each his own, I suppose.

  39. rojoke says:

    I heard a story where one goalie, I can’t recall who exactly, used to tie skates laces from his elbows to his chest protector or his pants. By wearing an over-sized jersey, whenever he extended his arms, they laces would tighten, creating wings under his arms.

    And while not really related to goalies, there are other equipment modifications happening. A lot of centers slit the in-seam of their pants a few inches, allowing them to get lower to ice for faceoffs. And fighters are known for wearing jerseys with wider sleeves so they can get their elbow pads off faster. Marty McSorley was widely known for wearing an over-sized sweater, before the tie-down rule came into effect.

Leave a Reply