Goalie connections to the Olympic Games

This will be a different Winter Olympic Games for me to watch because I personally know some people who will be participating.

First off, there is U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney, who is from Andover, Minnesota. She is one of three goalies on the U.S. squad. I have interviewed her a couple of times in the last few months and even recorded a podcast with her.

Following one of our conservations, Maddie mentioned how she remembered going to the Carroll Goalie School when she was younger. That was cool to hear.

Maddie Rooney at Blaine following an interview with Coach Carroll.

The head coach for Team USA is former University of Minnesota goalie Robb Stauber, who owns a goalie training center in Edina. We are both in the goalie development business and have been on the ice together at the same goalie camp.

Another player I know is Marissa Brandt. She played for the Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey team from 2011-2015. That’s the team I am the goalie coach for. Marissa played both forward and defense for the Gusties. She is a member of the Korean Olympic hockey team.

Her sister Hannah is a member of the U.S. Women’s Olympic team. The former Gopher star would often come down to St. Peter watch her sister play and would join her Marissa and their parents at our end of the year banquets.

I also know is Noora Raty, the former University of Minnesota stand-out who is the starting goalie for Finland Olympic team. Raty and I have been on the ice together at the same goalie camp.

Another person I know that’s connected to the Winter Games is goalie coach Rebecca Baker. She used to coach at Bethel University and now is the goalie coach for the Korean Olympic team. Baker and I have been on the ice together at the same goalie camp.

Let the games begin!


Andover goalie ready for 2018 Olympic debut

For the first time since 1998, when women’s hockey became an Olympic sport, there’s a goalie from Minnesota on Team USA.

Her name is Maddie Rooney who grew up playing hockey in Andover. She was officially named to the U.S. Olympic team on Jan. 1.

PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN – MARCH 30: USA’s Madeline Rooney #35 – 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)

“I’m excited and honored to be on this team and to be playing with this amazing group of women,” Rooney said recently. “I’m really looking forward to this experience.”

At 20 years old, Rooney is the youngest player on the U.S. roster. “I always watched the Olympics growing up and I always had a dream to play on this team,” said Rooney.

Even though she participated in several USA Hockey Development Camps and was on the U.S. National team in 2017, Rooney didn’t think she would have an opportunity to play in the Olympics until after she finished her career at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

“It didn’t really cross my mind that I would have a chance until last winter when I made the winter camp for the Nationals,” Rooney said. “Then I made the World’s roster and everything happened fast.”

And a few short months later, she was one of three goalies selected to represent the U.S. at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. And she can hardly wait.

Her teammates who have competed in previous Winter Games are helping her get a sense of what the experience of playing on the Olympic stage will be all about.

“Having those conversations and hearing all their excitement has really got me excited,” Rooney said.

Team USA plays their first game in the preliminary round of the Olympics on Sunday, Feb. 11 against Finland, after that they take on the Olympic Athletes from Russia, Feb. 13; and Canada Feb. 15. Then it’s on to the quarterfinals, and then perhaps, a much-anticipated medal round showdown with Canada.

“Whenever the U.S. plays Canada you can expect each team to bring their best,” Rooney said. “We bring out the best in each other, everyone plays 100 percent, very physical, intense environment game.”


Rooney started playing hockey when she was five and switched to being a goalie during her second year of squirts after finally convincing her dad to let her put the pads on.

“I begged him for two years,” Rooney recalled with a chuckle. “He would shoot on me out on the driveway in my street hockey goalie pads and he never thought I was good enough to play. We always laugh about that now.”

After making the switch to full-time goalie, Rooney played boys hockey through bantams. She then joined the Andover High School girls’ team for two seasons where she led her team to its first state tournament appearance. Rooney decided to finish her prep career with the Huskies boys’ team.

“I made the decision after I already committed to Duluth,” Rooney said. “Just wanted the ultimate challenge and I knew guys high school hockey would give me that.”

And it was also one last chance to be on a team with the guys she played with during his youth hockey days.

“It was basically the same team,” she said. “So that was really cool. I was pretty close with all those guys, they challenged my to be better every day, and I thought I really developed that year.”

And she continues to improve her game by working hard every day in practice to become a better goaltender.

“I like how you are in on every play, the competiveness of it,” she said. “I also like how you can steal a game. I like having that pressure on me. I feel like it’s a good motivator to have.”

And you know Rooney will be ready to go when the puck drops at the Olympic Games.

NOTE: Maddie told me after a recent conversation how she remembered going to the Carroll Goalie School in her early days as a goaltender. 

New Ice Insights podcast available

Just posted my latest episode of Ice Insights, a podcast I have been recording periodically for the past couple of years. During the podcasts, I talk about goaltending and other hockey topics with people involved in all aspects of the game.

This episode, I visit with goaltender Hunter Miska, a Stacy, Minnesota native who is in his first year of professional hockey. Hunter was the recipient of the 2015-16 USA Hockey Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Award, which is presented annually to a top U.S. goaltender at the international, professional, collegiate or junior level.

After five years of Jr. hockey, Hunter played one season at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he led the Bulldogs to the 2017 NCAA National Championship game, where they lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to Denver.

Hunter discusss how his game has changed since turning pro and what it was like when he got called up the the NHL earlier this season. He also talks about his dad who is well-known for designing and painting goalie helmets.

You can listen to the podcast at



2018 schedule now available

I am excited to let you know that our 2018 schedule is now available and online registration is open for our eight weekend sessions. You can learn more and register at

This is our 24th season of goalie development excellence as we help boys and girls, ages 6-15, achieve success between the pipes!

Our popular skill development programs are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so I encourage you to register early for best selection.

2018 CGS Highlights Include:

  • NEW – September session at the TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center in St. Paul, which is the practice home of the Minnesota Wild.
  • Five convenient locations in Minneapolis-St. Paul including – Braemar Arena (Edina), Eagan Civic Arena, Richfield Arena, Schwan Super Rink (Blaine), TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center (St. Paul).
  • Four different levels – Intro to Goaltending, Intermediate Skills, Advanced Skills, Tryout Tune-up.
  • Weekend ice hours.
  • Free Carroll Goalie School jersey.

I look forward to helping your goalie improve their skills, consistency, confidence and overall game performance.

Three goalies lead Gusties to victory

During the winter, I am the goalie coach for the nationally-ranked Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey team. We have four goalies on our roster this year including one who earned All-American honors last season.

Recently, we faced-off UW-River Falls, another top 10 ranked team, in a non-conference series in what’s developed into a highly competitive rivalry. They beat us twice last season, before we upset the them in the national tournament to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four.

In the first game of the series in December, River Falls outplayed us, and outshot us 33-16, but our All-American netminder played well and we escaped with a 4-3 victory.

Before the rematch, I suggested to our head coach (my older brother) that we mix it up when it came to our goalie situation. I thought we should look at game two as an excellent development opportunity for all the goalies on our team.

So I outlined a plan to rest our All-American and play our other three goalies one period a piece. He agreed with the idea. At their home rink in the second game of the series, our junior started the game and played the first period, our first-year goalie made her collegiate debut in the second, and our lone sophomore came in to play in the third.

It turned out to be one of our best games so far this year. Even though we were outshot 27-23, our trio of goalies played well and led us to a thrilling 2-1 win.

All three goalies were very excited about being able to play and help us beat the Falcons. It also gave them valuable game experience as we head into the second half of the season looking to build on our 8-1-1 record.


Minnesota goalie leading the way for 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Team

The 2017-18 U.S. Women’s National Team has only been together for a few months, but Maddie Rooney, a goalie from Andover, Minnesota, has quickly established herself as the top U.S. netminder.

So far, in six games during the team’s “Time is Now Tour” and Four Nations Cup, Rooney is unbeaten at 4-0, with a goals against average of 1.75.

Rooney is one of six Minnesotans on the team, and at age 20, is the youngest player on the roster. They’re preparing for 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea in February.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Rooney said. “It’s going to be an awesome experience, really humbled by the opportunity.”

PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN – MARCH 30: USA’s Madeline Rooney #35 – 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)

And she is also looking forward to coming home Sunday, Dec. 3, as the U.S. team faces off against Canada in an exhibition game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Rooney participated in several USA Hockey Development Camps during her high school and collegiate career.

She made the U.S. National Team that won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Women’s World Championship in Michigan. In her first start in goal for Team USA, Rooney earned a 14-save shutout in a 7-0 win over Russia.

“I was so nervous going to into the game,” she recalled. “But after you get first the shot you’re fine. It was really cool to play with them, it was a great experience.”

A few days later, Rooney and the Americans celebrated the World Championship with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win against Canada.

“I wasn’t suited up for the game,” Rooney recalled, “but when Hillary Knight scored, I sprinted out on the ice and fell about five times. I’ll never forget it.”

And something else she won’t soon forget is when she found out in May that she was one of three goalies named to the U.S. team that’s preparing for the Olympic Games. “I was told and was really overjoyed,” she said. “I called my parents right after, it was great.”

Early Start

Rooney began playing hockey when she was five years old. She started out as a forward but eventually switched to goalie during her second year of squirts.

“I was into it but not that into it,” she admitted, “but then I went to goalie and just loved it.”

As she moved into peewees, her parents bought her a set of leg pads. “I had these gold pads since I played for Andover,” Rooney said. “I thought they were the coolest things ever and I remember when I first got those, I kept them by my bed all night.”

Rooney played peewees and bantams for Andover before joining the girls high school team. As a junior, she led the Huskies to their first appearance in the Class “AA” State High School Tournament. They lost to Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals, but rallied to beat Burnsville and Mound View to earn the consolation title. Rooney was named to the All-Tournament Team.

While girls hockey was enjoyable for her, Rooney switched to the boys team as a senior. “I liked the challenge, I liked the quick pace,” she said. “I basically played with the same guys team that I did growing up, so it was just a lot of fun.”

The Andover boys team fell to Duluth East in the section playoffs.

Following her brilliant prep career, Rooney had a number of college hockey scholarship offers and chose the University of Minnesota Duluth.

“I just think it’s a really good atmosphere,” said Rooney. “Fans are great, got a really nice facilities, staff is great and the people I have met there are awesome.”

Rooney has played two years for the Bulldogs and will have two years of eligibility remaining after the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

NOTE: Maddie attended the Carroll Goalie School in her early days as a goalie. 

Goalie coaching clinics

I had the opportunity to be part of two USA Hockey goalie clinics this past weekend, one in Duluth and one in Brooklyn Park. The clinics were designed to teach youth hockey coaches of all skill levels how to effectively work with and develop goalies.

Phil Osaer, USA Hockey’s ADM manager for goaltending, was among the presenters at the clinics.

The clinics included a series of classroom presentations as well as an on-ice sessions where the coaches ran a goalie practice with drills they developed at the clinics.  They also had a chance to try various goalie-specific skating movements.

Presenters included:

  • Phil Osaer, USA Hockey ADM manger for goaltending
  • Emily West, USA Hockey ADM manager for female hockey
  • Paddy Elsmore, goalie coach for College of St. Scholastica women’s hockey team
  • Justin Johnson, former University of Minnesota men’s goalie coach
  • Brennan Poderzay, regional scout for USA Hockey’s National Development Program.

The clinics are latest in the series of initiatives focused on boosting the recruitment and development of goaltenders in Minnesota.

More than 60 coaches from Minnesota and Wisconsin attended the goalie coaching clinics.

USA Hockey did a story about the clinics on their website. 

Skating at the X

I was recently invited to give a presentation on goalie development to more than 300 high school and youth hockey coaches who were at the 2017 State Of Hockey High Performance Coaching Summit. The two-day event was held in the Roy Wilkins Auditorium – River Centre in St. Paul.

Following my hour long presentation, participants headed to the Xcel Energy Center for an on-ice demonstration session. And it was cool to skate  at the X for the first time.

Huge group of coaches at the Xcel Energy Center for on-ice demonstration session.

On the ice, the coaches were divided into three groups and rotate between the stations. I ran the goalie development station. We discussed various aspects of goaltending including angles and goalie-specific skating techniques.

It was a lot of fun.


Minnesota State hockey team honored as part of school’s celebration

I had the opportunity to play goalie for the Minnesota State Mankato, men’s hockey, formerly know at Mankato State University.

And our teams did well. All four years we advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four. We won the national title once, finished second once and third twice.  Most our players cam from the Twin Cities area.

And so how cool is this? As part of the school’s sesquicentennial celebration, a photo of our national championship team is on the side panel of a city of Mankato bus. Who knew that 37 years after winning the national title, we were be honored on a city bus as part of the school’s 150th anniversary.

Brings back a ton of great memories.

Photo of 1980 NCAA Division II National Championship featured on City of Mankato bus.