Coaching them up
In an 18-year career as the goalie coach for the Detroit Red Wings, Jim Bedard has coached some of the best goaltenders in the world, but this week he’ll pass on his knowledge to a different group of students.
Bedard is in town this week to put on Jimmy B’s Goalie Camp at Northern Lights Arena. The camp, which began Tuesday and runs through Thursday, teaches youth goaltenders the fundamentals of the position and puts them through various situational drills to improve their overall skills.
“The kids are eager and it’s summer time, so we want to make sure we emphasize fun and fundamentals,” Bedard said. “That’s what we try to do here.”
Bedard runs the camp along with Alpena youth hockey coach Lori Seguin and it acts as a fundraiser for Seguin’s weekly goalie camp, which she runs in the fall. Twenty youth goalies are taking part in the camp this year and came from all over the state. A few of the goaltenders also came from Canada.
Tuesday’s two-hour session focused mainly on goalie-specific skating and footwork in order to nail down the fundamentals and establish a foundation. Nearly half of the time was dedicated to goalie movement without the puck. Bedard and his assistants would often demonstrate a drill and then break the campers up in small groups to practice a specific skill. At the end of the day, each goalie got to participate in an elimination shootout.
Bedard has coached the likes of Chris Osgood, Dominik Hasek, Jimmy Howard and Curtis Joseph among others in his time with the Red Wings and he cited several of his former pupils as examples while demonstrating various drills.
“We try to make sure the kids know we do things slowly and work up. We’ll get faster later,” Bedard said. “Let’s do it right and (go) slow and be very deliberate and learn where the weight should be on skates, glove position and so on.”
Today and Thursday, the goaltenders at the camp will progress to more advanced techniques in areas like deflections, redirects, traffic situations and behind the net situations.
For 16-year-old Alpena resident Trevor McConnell, the chance to learn from Bedard comes at a good time. McConnell, who took part in the camp last year, played on Alpena High’s JV team last year and is hoping to play on the varsity squad this winter.
“It was a lot of fun. He always makes it a lot of fun. It’s nice to have a goalie coach (in town), especially from the Red Wings, it’s a big deal,” McConnell said.
The idea for the camp came a few years ago, when Seguin noticed a lack of goaltender training in Alpena. The camp has been successful since its debut and the number of goaltenders in attendance is kept small to allow for more reps and more time in net for each participant. It helps players like McConnell, who play on teams where there isn’t necessarily as much time to focus specifically on goalie training.
“A couple years ago, I saw there was a need for some goalie training here in Alpena. There just wasn’t any focus on it,” Seguin said. “I started learning from Jimmy and everything just kind of snowballed after that.”
Bedard first came to Alpena in October 2012 to hold a two-hour clinic at NLA. Last summer, he and Seguin held the first Jimmy B’s Goalie Camp in Northern Michigan in Gaylord and moved it to Alpena this year. He praised Seguin for continuing to be a student of the game and helping to organize the camp.
The big main thing is Lori Seguin. She’s very active in the community here in Alpena. I met her at a couple Red Wings practices,” Bedard said. “She’s always going down there to get more knowledge and get more drills to bring back up to the north here. Obviously, this is big Red Wing territory.”
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.