Four Question Friday- Jamie McCaig from Above The Crease Goaltending

This weeks 4 Q Friday features Jamie McCaig in part one of two with the owners of Above The Crease Goaltending (ATC). A product of Penticton, Jamie played both his minor and junior hockey in BC. He went on to play in the CIS for the Brandon Bobcats and the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns before playing pro hockey with the Anchorage Aces (WCHL) and the Victoria Salmon Kings (ECHL). Since his playing days ended in 2006, Jamie has partnered with Dave Rathjen to provide some of the highest quality goaltending instruction across Western Canada. Most recently Jamie was selected to be the goaltending coach for team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge.

1. What led you to get into goalie development?

Dave and I have both been coaching goalies since we were 16. I think the biggest factor was having an opportunity to help out younger goalies. As athletes there are always positive and negative coaching experiences that happen throughout your playing career and we wanted to make sure that we are able to impact goalies in a positive way each and every time we are on the ice.

2. What is the first most crucial skill goalies need to develop as a strong foundation before adding components?

Goalies have to be able to move on the ice so skating/edge control is the biggest initial skill that needs to be developed. We encourage all our clients who are just starting out to make sure that they play forward or defence first before transitioning to being a full time goalie. Playing other positions not only allows the player a chance to improve their skating skills but to also get a better understanding of offensive and defensive tactics.

3. In general at the minor hockey league level, are goalies overlooked in practice? Or do you feel they receive adequate instruction?

Goalies are overlooked in minor hockey for sure, there is a lack of knowledge by most coaches about the goaltending position. Hockey Canada and all its provincial branches have come up with a goalie coaching certification program that gives all coaches an opportunity to gain basic knowledge on the position so that they can help their goalies a bit more. This certification program is free so its really a no brainer for all coaches, regardless of what level they coach, to find and attend one of these clinics. We are certified by Hockey Canada/Hockey Alberta to run these sessions so if there is interest we can help set up the clinic.

4. What advice would you give to first time or volunteer coaches who may have no idea what to do with a goalie in practice?

Most goalies now have a goalie coach/school that they work with and will be able to tell you what types of skills they work on in those sessions. For first time goalies its all about getting into your goalie stance before the shot is taken. Coaches can also help out their goalies by looking at the types of drills they have laid out for practice and consider how much time there is between shots, what types of shots are they facing and are they being included in team tactic discussions/drills.

Above The Crease Goaltending

ATC was created to meet the need for specialized goaltending instruction. The goal of ATC Goaltending is to provide quality goaltending instruction to individuals at all levels by building a solid foundation of technical skills and work ethic. The programs offered by ATC Goaltending will benefit the grassroots beginner goaltender all the way up to the professional goaltender. ATC Goaltending does not teach a specific style as each goaltender that straps on the pads has different strengths and weaknesses. ATC Goaltending will give you all the necessary tools to play at the highest level possible on a consistent basis. For more information on ATC visit call them at 780-289-5452

More on Competitive Thread

Competitive Thread is located in Sherwood Park, Alberta and is Western Canada’s leader in athlete testing and hockey development. They have worked with teams and athletes in the National Hockey League, the Canadian Hockey League and Minor Hockey teams and players across Western Canada. They take a holistic and balanced approach to development and aim to positively contribute to the individual growth of each athlete both on and off the ice. For more information visit or call us at 780-267-5795.