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Unbelievable trip to Europe

This is a photo from Salzburg, Austria.

During the winter months, I am the goalie coach for the Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey team. In late December-early January, our team took a trip to Europe for sightseeing and to play a couple of hockey games. It was an unbelievable experience.

Coach Steve in Prague.

We flew into Munich, Germany and visited the Marienplatz area and ate as group at one of the historic bier halls. Even though we had reservations, seating our party of 65 was no big deal for this place as we ate dinner with several hundred other people who were at the restaurant.

The appetizer included meats and cheeses and the main course was schnitzel and french fries. It was delicious.

From then we headed by bus to Salzburg, Austria. This was the favorite spot for most of the players. They liked scenery and the small town feel. The Christmas markets were still open and the city was all decorated for the holidays.

This also the city where some of the famous scenes from The Sound of Music movies were filmed in Mirabell gardens. We were able to check them out during a walking tour. We also visited a nearby concentration camp. 

Christmas markets in Prague

In our first hockey game against the Austrian National team, we beat them 3-2.

From there, we headed to Vienna, Austria, a much larger city.

We went to the Schoenbrunn Castle, visited a local winery and celebrated New Year’s Eve in Stephensplatz. It was a wonderful place to ring in 2020.

After that, we headed to Prague in the Czech Republic. There we visited Old Town and the famous Charles Bridge. We also played a second hockey game in that area. It was at an arena that was in the hometown of hockey great Yaromir Jagr. We beat a local women’s team 2-0.

The players visited with a two-year-old hockey fan after the game in the Czech Republic.

Beside schnitzel, other food items included pizza, pasta, fried chicken and duck. The breakfast buffets were something else at the hotels we stayed at. Wide assortment of eggs, sausage, meats and cheeses, breads and pastries. It was a nine-day trip that flew by. So many memories from our trip to Europe.

Goalies should not be shutout from coaching

Just because a kid signs up to play goalie doesn’t mean they should be shutout from coaching. I recently wrote an article about coaching today’s goalies. It’s designed to help youth hockey coaches understand how to help the kids who play, I think, the most important position on a team. Too often though, coaches forget about goalie development and hope they somehow magically improve throughout the season.

Read the article 

Two more CGS clinics scheduled before tryouts begin

Just in time for tryouts, we are hosting two more clinics this month. The clinics, each featuring six hours of ice time, are set for St. Michael-Albertville, Sept. 19, 21, 22 and at Richfield, Sept. 20-22.

Coach Carroll visiting with goalie at one of his weekend clinics. 
(Photo by Bryan Singer© 2019)

“We help goalies take their game to new levels by building individual skills, techniques, athleticism, and self-confidence,” said Coach Steve Carroll, a hall of fame goalie at Edina High School and Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Carroll, who trains goalies at the youth, high school and college levels, uses his extensive experience as a goalie and coach to teach his students what it takes to be successful.

“We’re proud of the reputation we’ve earned for developing quality, fundamentally-sound goaltenders,” said Carroll who is in his 25th year of offering programs like these. “Our instructors are passionate about goaltending and do an excellent job of explaining, demonstrating, and reinforcing the essential techniques used in today’s game.”

Goalie parents like the CGS programs because they realize that training under the watchful eye of Coach Carroll and his staff can make a significant impact in the skill development of their goalies.

Goalies and coaches at CGS weekend clinic
(Photo by Bryan Singer© 2019)

“I was so impressed with your passion and kindness for the kids. I could tell within seconds that you are an amazing coach. Thanks for everything! My son will never forget the weekend,” said Tim C., Duluth, Minn.

“This was my daughter’s first time at CGS and I could not say enough good things about this school. We walked away very happy with the coaches and the whole program. We will most definitely be back,” said, Nicole W., La Crescent, Minn.

Limited openings available, register at www.carrollgs.com.

CGS to offer September program in St. Michael-Albertville

The Carroll Goalie School is pleased to announce that we have just added a new location and times for our popular Tryout Tune-up program. We will be hosting a three-day goalie development session in St. Michael-Albertville on Thursday, Sept. 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, 3:30-5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 22, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Coach Steve Carroll helped at a goalie clinic in St. Michael in December 2018.

At CGS, we help goalies take their games to new levels by building individual skills, techniques, athleticism, consistency and self-confidence. Goalies who train with us work hard and have fun in an upbeat and positive learning environment.

Coach Steve Carroll and longtime CGS student/coach Amanda K. will be the lead instructors at this six-hour clinic.

Coach Amanda K. is the goalie coach for STMA Hockey Association and the NWC Riverhawks. She runs clinics during the season.

The CGS staff will help goalies improve their skills, consistency, work habits and overall game. They’ll feel confident they’ve gained a competitive edge and are on top of their game to start the season.

Topics that we will cover include footwork, save and recovery techniques, hand-eye coordination, angles, rebound control and breakaways.

This clinic is open to goalies in the St. Michael-Albertville and North Wright County Riverhawks associations as well other youth hockey goalies who are looking for last minute training to help them prepare for tryouts and upcoming season.

Session is for boys, girls ages 8-15. Limited space available. Spots will be filled on a first-come, first served basis. Register now.

 

 

Shutout Wall Winner receives free gloves from Brian’s

During the winter months, the Carroll Goalie School and our partner from Brian’s Custom Sports, sponsor the Shutout Wall that appears in Let’s Play Hockey newspaper and on its website. 

Coach Steve Carroll presented Griffin Simpson with his new Brian’s Gloves.

It’s a popular way for goalies to get recognized for posting a shutout and as you can see there are easily a couple hundred shutouts posted on the wall. Congrats to all the goalies who earned shutouts in 2018-19.

Each week, a goalie, who had a shutout posted on the wall, was selected to receive a prize pack from CGS and Brian’s Custom Sports. The pack usually included a hat from Brian’s and a shirt from CGS.

Griffin SImpson wore his new gloves on the way to his baseball game.

In addition to that, at the end of the season, one goalie was selected to win a custom set of gloves from Brian’s Custom Sports.

This year, the winner was Griffin Simpson, a peewee goalie from Minneapolis. He was fitted for his gloves at the Let’s Play Hockey Expo.

Coach Carroll presented Griffin with his new gloves this summer at Richfield Arena. He was on the way to a baseball game and wore the gloves out of the rink. Congratulations to Griffin.

Look for the CGS/Brian’s Custom Sports Shutout Wall promotion to return to Let’s Play Hockey this coming hockey season.

Busy during state hockey tourney

The Minnesota State High School Boy’s State Hockey Tournament is a special time of year. It’s always fun to watch the games and see who comes out on top on Saturday.

The CGS/Brian’s booth at the 2019 LPH Expo.

It’s also a busy time for the Carroll Goalie School. We are long-time exhibitors at the Let’s Play Hockey Expo, which is held in conjunction with the state hockey tournament. The sales rep from Brian’s Custom Sports, who sponsors our program, comes to town to show off the latest gear and help goalies with getting sized for Brian’s equipment they are looking for, whether it’s gloves, leg pads or chest protectors.

During this year’s expo, I also had the wonderful opportunity to visit with Mick Hatten from the Rink Live.

We recorded a 30-minute interview live from the Expo. We discussed all kinds of hockey topics including my playing days in Edina, what it was like playing for legendary Coach Willard Ikola, winning the NCAA title at Minnesota State and my work with the goalie school.

It’s was fun to share some stories with Mick and I certainly appreciated the opportunity to be on his show.

State high school hockey tournament memories

Every year at this time, the memories of playing in the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament come flooding back. I had the opportunity to play goalie in the eight-team state hockey tournament during my senior year at Edina-East High School in 1977.

The 33rd annual tournament was played at the St. Paul Civic Center, the historic old arena that featured the clear dasher boards. (Game program cost .75 cents).

The talented tournament field included Rochester John Marshall (22-2), Mounds View (23-1), Hill-Murray (22-2), South St. Paul (18-1-5), Minneapolis Southwest (15-7-2), Edina-East (22-1), Grand Rapids (19-3-1) and Roseau (23-0). The record for all the tournament qualifiers was an impressive 164-17-8.

In the opening round, we played the late game on Thursday night against Neal Broten, his brother Aaron and Busty Erickson from Roseau. The Rams were ranked number one in the state, we were second. We came into the game with only one loss on the season. I remember the ice was soft, the lights were bright and it was hot in the Civic Center.

From what I recall, there was some sort of mix-up before the game which led to both teams wearing their green uniforms for warm-ups. That issue was resolved before the start of the game as we took the ice in our white uniforms. For our game., there was a standing room only crowd of 17,409, which, at that time, was the largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game in Minnesota.

To be honest, a majority of the fans in the building were pulling for the northern Minnesota school, except for a couple of sections in the corner where the Hornet faithful were seated.

I was so excited to be there – achieving a goal I had been dreaming about since I first strapped on the pads as a peewee.

But I was also nervous, playing on such a big stage, in front of a record crowd and with thousands more throughout Minnesota watching the game on WTCN-TV with announcers Joe Boyle and Lou Nanne calling the game. Watch the highlights of this game.

Once the puck dropped, I couldn’t wait to make my first save. After that, I was able to settle down and focus on the task at hand.

It was a back and forth contest with both teams exchanging excellent scoring chances.

Teammate Bret Bjerken broke the scoreless tie a couple minutes into the third period. Another Hornet tally by John Donnelly a few minutes later sealed the 2-0 victory.

That set-up a semifinal showdown against the two-time defending state champions from Grand Rapids. Their team featured a number of future Division I hockey players including former University of Minnesota Head Coach Don Lucia.

This game turned out to be a shootout from the opening face-off. Grand Rapids built up a 4-2 lead in the second period before the Hornets came storming back with four straight goals to take the lead in the third. Grand Rapids added one late but we hung on to win it in electrifying fashion 6-5. Current University of Michigan Head Coach Mel Pearson scored two goals in that game for the Hornets.

With the win, we advanced to the finals to face Rochester John Marshall, a team we did not know a whole lot about. But what we did know was the squad from southern Minnesota could put the puck in the net and had one of the best goalies in the state in sophomore Paul Butters who would go on to play at the University of Minnesota.

Rochester scored on a breakaway 36 seconds into the title game and added another seven minutes later. But we battled back on goals from Dave Terwilliger and Tom Kelly to tie the game at 2-2 after two. But that was a close as we got. JM added two in the third to win it 4-2.

Even though our team lost in the championship game – playing in the state tournament was a wonderful experience and something I’ll never forget.

And if I ever need a trip down memory lane, I can pop in a DVD and watch the games from that memorable weekend in March.

***

Fourteen players on the 1976-77 Hornets team
would go on to play college hockey.

Name                                     College
John Anderson                       Gustavus Adolphus College
Bret Bjerken                           Michigan Tech
Steve Carroll                          Mankato State
John Donnelly                        Dartmouth
Mark Gagnon                        Cornell
Paul Gagnon                         Notre Dame
Gordie Hampson                   Michigan
Scott Hampson                      Colorado College
Tom Kelly                              Colorado College
Mike Lauen                           Michigan Tech
Mel Pearson                         Michigan Tech
Steve Pepper                        Minnesota
Bill Peterson                         Hamline
Dave Terwilliger                    Minnesota

 

CGS offers weekend programs in 5 Twin Cities locations

The Minneapolis-based Carroll Goalie School (CGS) continues to grow and evolve as it enters its 24th season of providing skill development programs for boys and girls.

“We help goalies of all abilities take their game to new levels by building individual skills, techniques, athleticism, and self-confidence,” said Steve Carroll, an Edina, Minn., native, who is lead instructor at the popular weekend camps offered in the summer and fall.

Carroll uses his extensive coaching experience to teach goalies what it takes to be successful. He shares his wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the position with the goalies who attend his camps. “I’m proud of the reputation we’ve earned for developing quality, fundamentally-sound goaltenders, Carroll said. “Our instructors are passionate about goaltending and do an excellent job of explaining, demonstrating, and reinforcing the essential techniques used in today’s game, Goalies who train with us work hard, improve their skills and have fun!”

This year, CGS is offering four programs for goalies ages 6-15 including: Intro to Goaltending, Intermediate Skills, Advanced Skills and Tryout Tune-up.

Ice times are scheduled at night and weekends at five ice arenas in Minneapolis-St. Paul including Braemar Arena (Edina), Eagan Civic Arena, Richfield Arena, Schwan Super Rink (Blaine) and the TRIA Rink in St. Paul, which is the new practice facility for the Minnesota Wild.

Goalie parents like the variety of CGS programs because they realize that training under the watchful eye of Coach Carroll and his staff makes a significant impact on the development of their kids.

“Wow, Steve and his crew run a great program. My sons never complained when coming off the ice tired and were eager to get up and go to the ice early the next day. My oldest said he loved it and “by the way dad, we are doing this again next year,” Mike Swenson, Savage.

“I would highly recommend CGS. Goalies have a fun time learning new skills. Very professional coaches and great locations,” said Joyce Birchard, Willmar.

“CGS has improved our son’s goalie skills tremendously the past two years,” said Megan Altman from Woodbury. “Coach Carroll and his staff always treat the goalies with respect and you can tell they love what they do.”

Brian Kalafatich from Mahtomedi said, “This is our second time with Steve Carroll. We love the camp, from the good price/value, coaching, ice time, and skills that are developed. As long as our son continues to have fun, love hockey, and love being a tender, then we will find a way to attend his camps.”

Goalie Logan Cooksy from Lakeville said, “Is it a coincidence; five years with Carroll and five winning seasons?”

COACH CARROLL’S BACKGROUND

Carroll is a USA Hockey Level 4 certified coach who trains goalies at the youth and high school levels. He also is the goalie coach for the Gustavus Adolphus College women’s team .

As a goalie, Carroll won a State Peewee “A” title with Edina, participated in the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament, played in four consecutive NCAA Division II Final Fours and won a National Championship while at Minnesota State, Mankato. Carroll has been inducted in the Minnesota State, Mankato and Edina High School athletic halls of fame.

For more information, visit www.carrollgs.com.

Coach Carroll’s connection to Hobey Baker Award

We were just finishing up a team meeting following my senior year at Mankato State in 1981, when coach informed me that I had been named as a Top 10 finalist for a new award being given the best player in men’s college hockey.

It was called the Hobey Baker Award, in honor of a standout athlete from Princeton University.

While things went well for me in Mankato, I had a hard time believing the selection committee would consider me, a NCAA Division II goalie, as one of the 10 best players in all of men’s college hockey. It was an unexpected and humbling honor to even be considered for this prestigious award.

Steve Carroll was a Top 10 Finalist for 1981 Hobey Baker Award

When you look at the list of finalists at the bottom of this page, it was clear from the beginning who would be winning the award. And no one couldn’t argue with the choice. Neal Broten was named the winner of the first annual Hobey Baker Award. The Roseau, Minnesota native was a star at the University of Minnesota who already had an Olympic gold medal and a NCAA championship on his impressive hockey resume.

I was invited to attend the award banquet, which was held at the old Decathalon Club in Bloomington. The guest speaker was Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe.

At the banquet, I got to meet Neal Broten. I had played against him when my Edina-East team defeated his team in the quarterfinals of the state high school hockey tournament. We talked about that game for a bit, but not for very long.

It was huge thrill for me to meet Broten, who continued on to have a magnificent NHL career.

Being named a Top 10 finalist for the first-ever Hobey Baker Award means more and more to me with each passing year.

Top 10 finalists for 1981 Hobey Baker Award
Pos. — Name — School — Hometown
G – Steve Carroll, Mankato State University, Edina, Minnesota
G – Bill Provencher, Bowdoin College, Lewiston, Maine
G – Rick Strack, Plattsburgh State University, Lake Placid, New York
D – Ed Small, Clarkson College, Ottawa, Ontario
C – Steve Bozek, Northern Michigan University, Castlegar, British Columbia
C – Neal Broten, University of Minnesota, Roseau, Minnesota
C – Mark Hentges, St. Thomas University, New Hope, Minnesota
C – Tom Lawler, Merrimack College, Andover Massachusetts
LW – Sandy Beadle, Northeastern University, Regina Saskatchewan
LW – Steve Ulseth, University of Minnesota, Roseville, Minnesota

By the way, did you know that 1980 Olympian and Richfield, Minn., native Steve Christoff served as the model for the the Hobey Baker Trophy?