The England National Team Programme’s long awaited Goalie Camp took place on the 4th February on the “back-yard rink” at Sutton’s Lammas Leisure Centre in Nottinghamshire.

Euan King, the ENTP Goalie Coach was leading proceedings with his first England Camp specifically for goalies. The day started at 10am with a player and parent briefing followed by a presentation on the role and fundamentals for goalies. It was an early start for some of the participants, a number of which having made made a four hour trip to Sutton just to be involved in this new initiative.

legacyAlso making the trip north was England Head Coach, Ben Pitchley who was keen to make sure that the programme’s newest addition was meeting the current England standard.

He said: “I brought England U13’s to Sutton a few years back and I was happy enough with the facilities back then. I know the ice is small but I think it is perfect for what we are trying to do with this new batch of future and current England prospect players. This is another huge step forward for England and our National Programme.”

King devised a full-day’s activities for the goalies with a mix of off-ice and on-ice sessions all designed to challenge the players across a goalie’s five fundamental areas. He was keen to get his overall objective across to players and parents.

“I have been planning today for a number of months and there is so much I want to try and cover,” he said.

“The overall aim for me is to try and create a programme for net minders that meets their needs and supports the England and Conference programme. I hope this is the start of a medium to long term programme that becomes an integral part of what we do with our National Team.”

The goalies present were tested in a number of different areas and coached in what is required of the goalies in current and future England teams. Reflexes, agility, skating, position, angles and general ability to stop not just the first shot, but the second shot and the third shot. King knows the task ahead of him is a big one but he is prepared to commit to the development of this part of the National Team Programme so long as there is an appetite for it from the players and their parents.

He went on to say: “I’ve said before that in England we have neglected our goalies over the last few years. There is not enough goalie-specific coaching being delivered and the fact that only three out of nine goalies at EPL are British trained presents a worrying statistic. We need a new plan and we need it now.”

The first England Goalie Camp was a sell-out within a few days of it being announced and the ENTP Staff have been encouraged by the response to their latest initiative which was opened-up to Conference and Club goalies at the request of the JLMC Chair, Jacqueline Pye.

With the JLMC’s plans for 2017 and beyond picking up momentum, this latest collaboration between England and the JLMC is further demonstration of the joined-up thinking that is taking place within the junior ranks.

After the event the parents of the twenty goalies who had participated in the camp were delighted. One of them, father of two young goalies, Paul Gledhill (Telford) was delighted and said: “I would to say a big ‘thank you’ to Euan King and his team of committed coaches for giving up their valuable time today. I saw great sessions across all areas. My boy Jace really enjoyed it. I hope there are more of these camps to come. We will definitely be there.”

So as the dust settles on another successful England training camp, England GM Gary Apsley and Pitchley have more progress to reflect upon.

Apsley said: “We have had a busy and challenging few weeks with the workload for England and the JLMC Development. It’s been pretty hard to be honest and I know that there’s so much more we are wanting to try and get done before our programme ends in April. We have a few more collaborations in the pipeline and the next Goalie Camp is now on that list.”