Former NHLer hosts goalie school at complex

By Joel Charron

Aspiring local goalies got a special treat this past week.

Steve McKichan, a former NHL goalie coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who has taught the likes of soon to be Hall of Fame goalie Ed Balfour and Windsor Spitfire’s Jack Campbell held a goalie camp last week.

McKichan and the Future Pros Hockey School visited the United Communities Credit Union Complex teaching approximately 36 young goalies about being the last line of defense.

“I’ve been doing goalie schools for 20 years since I retired from the NHL,” said. McKichan.

Future Pros goalie school will train roughly 850 kids this summer.

Former NHLer Steve McKichan (far right) demonstrates rebound control a a group of young goalies during a session at his Future Pros Goalie School.

McKichan said when he heard about the United Communities Credit Union Complex and then saw it with his own eyes; he knew the multi-million dollar complex would be perfect for his goalie camp.

“There is no better place to run a hockey school than here,” said McKichan. “You have outdoor and indoor facilities. This is the nicest arena that I’ve had camps at in 20 years, its beautiful.”

While at the camp, the young goalies will learn about the three basic elements in goaltending, positioning, rebound control and puck handling.

McKichan said he brings professional experience to a town the size of Amherstburg.

“A lot of times you’ll have local hobbyist teaching goalies,” said McKichan. “But if it’s not your full-time gig you’re going to run into problems. The way I look at it is you don’t bring a Ferrari to a corner garage.”

McKichan pointed out that beside himself, there is at least one professional coach or player on the ice training the students at all times.

“Young goalies get an opportunity to learn from professional instructors at the camp,” he said.

Players range from nine to 16 years old.

McKichan also hires 10-12 local youth to help run the camp. He added that it gives the youth a chance to make some money as they help the young goalies polish their skill.

Amongst the hired instructors was Nick Keeler. Keeler helped backstop the Amherstburg Midget Major Stars to back-to-back OHMA championship and an OHF championship.

“I’ve known Steve my whole life,” said Keeler. “I’ve been going to his camps since I was eight-years-old. He’s great with kids.”

McKichan added that the staff at the new complex has been very helpful, stating that the staff came in on Sunday afternoon to help him unload equipments. He said that is something that has never happened in his 20 years of running schools.

McKichan played with the Vancouver Canucks and their farm team before retiring during the 1990-91 season.

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