Goaltending has sure come a long way since the early days of hockey. The sport is more demanding, physically challenging and technology has pushed even the best players to continue improving. The main objective of a goaltender is simple, stop any pucks from entering the goal, thus keeping the opposing team from scoring. As simple as that may sound, goaltenders are constantly evolving their playing styles to stay competitive during the game. Goalie equipment continues to improve over time, getting lighter and more protective. These days, goaltenders have various styles of equipment to choose from depending on their playing style.
Standup goaltending is the oldest style of goaltending and has lost major popularity over the years. Standup goalies would make a majority of their saves standing up with their leg pads together and stick on the ice. As the name implies Standup Goalies would rarely go down partially because the lack of protection, especially for your head. Standup goalies relied on their outstanding reflexes and positioning but were highly susceptible to shots down low and lateral saves. Standup goalies would use kick saves to stop low shots and rely heavily on stick saves.
Butterfly style goaltending is very common these days being very accepted throughout the game. Patrick Roy is probably the most notable Butterfly net minder of all time, perfecting the technique and winning four Stanley Cups throughout his career. A butterfly goalie plays with their feet apart and bent at the knees allowing them to drop down to the ice stopping any pucks down low. The advantage of the Butterfly style is mobility and the ability to cover the bottom of the net quickly and effectively. Positioning is key to this style of goaltending, ensuring maximum net coverage.
Photo Credit Sports Illustrated
Hybrid goaltending is a combination of styles, taking the best of both Standup and Butterfly. Dominik Hasek is well known for his Hybrid style of play, doing what ever it took to make the save. In general most goalies play some sort of Hybrid style, capitalizing on ones own strengths and weaknesses. These days it’s less common to see a goalie playing strictly Butterfly or Standup.
Battlefly is the newest way to categorize goaltenders like NHL Stanley Cup Champion Jonathan Quick. Battlefly goalies basically use the same techniques as the Standup, Butterfly and Hybrid style goalies but blend them together, improving overall performance. One could say that Battlefly goaltenders go to battle, taking more of an aggressive offensive approach, challenging the shooter and doing what ever it takes to make the save. Excellent skating ability, quick reflexes, extreme flexibility, and outstanding positioning allows the Battlefly goaltender to make incredible saves throughout the game.
Goaltenders are a breed of their own and even though many of the core techniques are similar no two are identical. The four playing styles listed above are a general outline and only through individual experience, strengths and weaknesses can a goalie master his or her own style.