HELENA – One hundred miles per hour. That’s how fast a puck can move during a hockey game.
So why would anyone, anywhere, EVER, on purpose, want to put their body in front of that?
“Oh yeah, being a little insane helps,” laughed Helena Bighorns goalie Eric Berglund.
Ok, I guess that explains it.
It takes a different breed of human to want to be a hockey goalie. A fact that the net minders for the Helena Bighorns take pride in.
“You got to be crazy, like me and the other guys (MTN Sports) interviewed,” added fellow goalie Nick Battaglia. “Sometimes they come and they hit you in the head. They hurt a little bit. You just got to keep going through it and you get used to it eventually, but it’s definitely not for everybody.”
And being tough isn’t the only requirement for the job. These guys might say they have a screw loose, but some of the smartest guys on the ice have to be between the pipes.
“You have to scout every single person on the other team and know where they’re going to shoot and know the other team’s plays and have to constantly be thinking about, ‘If the puck goes here, then I have to be in this position, looking over this shoulder if this guy’s here,'” said Berglund.
“It’s 80-percent mental and 20-percent physical,” goalie Cofy Brewer said.
He might be short-selling the physical requirements just a little bit, because even though the goalies aren’t speeding up and down the ice, they have to be fast.
“We have to focus on the quick movements, like super quick and then stop, super quick, stop, super quick, stop,” said Berglund. “And then we have to move in all directions. It doesn’t matter, it’s just all over. Instead of back and forth, we’re kind of moving in 360 degrees.”
And they have to have ice water just as cool as the rink’s surface running through their veins.
“It takes a special person to try and be the guy that all the pressure is on,” said Battaglia. “A forward can have a bad game and you can still win, but if the goalie has a bad game it could mean the whole game is lost.”