Bobby Goepfert is a professional goaltender.

He’s not a very good one, mind you, but he still somehow tricked a team in the DEL to sign him this year, a league widely regarded by most pro players as one of the top – if not the very best – European hockey league.

He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in ’02, has spent time in both the AHL and ECHL, and started for St. Cloud in the WCHA. He posted this line for team USA at the 2003 World Juniors: 1.77 GAA, .937 sv%.

….Okay, maybe he’s not so bad after all.

Anyway, we got to know each other in St. Cloud bars after his team routinely whipped mine, and we hit it off immediately (he’s from Long Island). As luck would have it, we ended up at the Hershey Bears training camp together too, where he gave me every conceivable chance to make the team by being in net when I was shooting.

Anyway, he read my post on goalie abuse yesterday (you may need to check that out for context), and felt the need to respond as follows. Dude has one hell of a sense of humour – you can follow him on twitter here.

*****

Usually covers just slightly more of the net than this.

-by Bobby Goepfert

After reading your article and sitting in disbelief at how you dehumanize the men behind the mask, as a member of the Goaltending Fraternity “Gamma Omega Alpha Lambda Iota Epsilon: Minors & Abroad Chapter,” I feel it my duty to challenge you to a duel. However, this isn’t your typical great great grandfathers duel ala Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, but our new viral generation where duels can be settled like grown men; sitting on a couch miles away with a lap top and a social networking website. They always say, “The keyboard is mightier than the sword.” And so I shall send a volley your way.

Getting back to my first point, your dehumanization of goalies is grossly distasteful. A working class group of men, with the weight of organization on their shoulders, the fate of every game strapped to their back, and all they want to concern themselves with is performing well. You and simple minded others do not care about that, but in its stead, try to find ways to make that job tougher. Much like the kid in high school with coke bottle eyeglasses, a pocket protector and a backpack that looks like he’s going camping, us goalies just want to go to work and do the best we can. But there are bullies in every aspect of life, and you my friend along with countless others try to deter us from achieving good grades by slapping the books out of our hands, verbal assaults, and the occasional wedgie. This comes with the territory but in no way makes it acceptable.

Below are some of the highlights from your blog that I would like to delve into a little bit more.

Took HOURS to find pics of “Geffman” making saves.

 1.) “Snowing is ok.” – Sure, it seems harmless enough. Skaters race towards the goalie in the hope he fumbles the rebound like a punt returner in the NFL, only to stop short and deliver an irritating but yet refreshing snow storm. The “Snow-Job” is widely considered one of the most disrespectful acts an opponent can inflict on a goalie. In the rare case, they cannot help it. Some apologize, others are intentionally dicks, but in the end, snow is snow, and it melts. The problem is, guys like myself who wear contacts run the risk of losing one, which would in turn effect our vision. You are probably laughing right now, but I ask you this; sounds similar to stealing a bookworm’s glasses the day of a test, doesn’t it?

2.) “Pushing a goalies skates out etc.”- Most goalies became goalies because they were the younger sibling obligated to, liked the equipment, or quite frankly couldn’t skate. To make matters worse, you going ahead tripping and jostling for the goaltenders rightful space is just another example of how your cavalier forward mind works. Carrying our lunch tray through the lunch room, you are that guy who sticks his foot out causing our lunch to be lost and being laughed at by the school.

Careful, don’t enter Bobby’s crease!

3.) “Any and all verbal abuse.” Years of torment have made us goalies thick skinned. Our bodies are carved from stone and coated with dragon scales so no matter what you say from 19 up will have no bearing on the most professional of us. But I, as I am sure most goalies do, remember our first and subsequent harshest verbal assaults. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can be more violent. I experienced harsh assaults in junior and college. Junior being the worst, as it was the first time I was the target of verbal abuse (besides from my father during or after a poor performance as a youth). My mother this, and my mother that. I didn’t know what to think. I was just a kid Justin. Just a child. Leading me to ask my mother if she was ever in Waterloo, Iowa. She never was. So all those guys standing above the overhang of my net in the 2nd period were liars! Learning that most verbal assaults you receive as a goaltender are false at an early age really helped me develop my dragon scales quickly. But you however, still do and encourage others to use your words like sticks and stones in the hope of breaking bones. But they never will….

I hope this twog (editor’s note: twitter-blog) was an eye opener for you Justin. Us goalies are just like you. If you trip us we fall. If you cut us we bleed. And if you hurt us, sometimes we cry. Just because we wear more equipment, act a little quirky and sometimes receive special treatment, doesn’t mean that we should be targeted for those differences.

In a perfect world, our game would be like the “Bubble Hockey” games of old. There would be no snow to spray. No route you could take to disrupt us. And a thick bubble above the ice, shielding us from the foulness spewed from the mouths of the ignorant. What is said below that bubble by opposing would stay there and would be settled when you enter the crease. Or on a social networking site that allows us to vent with no repercussions.

“Mr. Bourne-achev: TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!!!”

Geffman47: Change you can believe in.

******

Another “editor’s note” – here’s your poor, often-wronged and misunderstood goalie friend Bobby in an ECHL game in Florida, under a year ago. Oh, he’s so meek and timid!

Comments (17)

  1. Brilliant. You shouldn’t be allowed to post stuff like this while I’m at work…I keep getting strange looks for laughing at my computer.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Especially this “Oh, he’s so meek and timid!”. hahaha

  3. Awesome. Pure awesome.

  4. <3 the Geffman. What else is there to say?

  5. You could always wear the coke bottle athletic glasses if you’re so worried about contacts. Just sayin’.

  6. Awesome post. It’s nice to get this kinda stuff from people on the other side of the glass and Bobby, you write real well and I’ll always remember that even if I usually am in the stands of one of your local rivals. When I manage to get home for a game at least, which is rare enough (but now I’m definitely taking off the day before Christmas to come out). Thanks for the opportunity, Justin.

    As for DEL hockey. We’re a lot better than most (I’d say Euro picks we’re on position 3, not counting the KHL), I agree with that, but the game has changed a lot since they revamped the rules some 15 years ago. Our game is a lot safer than anything in North America, which I appreciate a lot, but it also is a lot slower. There’s a lot of reasons for that, of course, but it also doesn’t change the facts. I also wished the DEL as a league listened more to the IIHF or at leas to fan echo, but that goes too far here. Most annoying: no hockey on tv ><

  7. I counted 49 seconds before he went after the guy – and there was moments before the video started that there was clearly fighting going on… a model citizen, I’d say!

  8. “The keyboard is mightier than the sword.”

    Naomi Campbell sees your keyboard and raises you one telephone, your move Geffman.

  9. As a former goaltender…solid fight. I would have equated the snowing the goaltender to something related to kittens when it comes to Bourne, but a great article this was.

  10. I think there’s video of Mike Prpich chirping Goepfy back in 05-06 something about welcoming him into the WCHA (Why did G-man leave Hockey East for the WCHA?)… I guess you could say Prp was pretty much ok with all 8 things in your Goaltender Abuse post yesterday..

    I’ll never forget how pissed off, your Former Head Coach, John Hill, was at Prpich for somewhat spearing Ryan Stoa off the face-off.. (Don’t all rodents deserve that though?) Then he went on to cause a raucus in front of Kellen Briggs, with a minimum of 2-4 items off your list in a single game…

    Brutal… Not exactly Fighting Sioux Hockey, but still entertaining to a degree when a goalie gets chirped out of his mind, causing him to lose his composure

  11. Saw him.. liked him..
    maybe it was on an exceptional good day?

  12. Watching Goalies fight is like watching Patrick Kane fight a paper bag, what’s the point.

  13. That was a great moment. I was sitting right behind Bobby G in that video. He stoked the team up and, as I remember, was awarded a star of the game tha night. The Florida Everblades fans miss Bobby G!

  14. Goepfert needs a guest column. That piece is right up there with our standards here!

    And I gotta disagree with mike. Watching men try to fight in all that equipment is always entertaining. Good Fight, Bobby!

  15. White folks…..lol

  16. horns up to the goalie dude. speaking as a goalie who has played in hundreds of games and listening to all kinds of yapping, we goalies stick to our trade and still get blamed for most goals even though the defense failed seconds before that moment.
    goalies are like the drummers in a rock band. without them they have no foundation.

  17. Okay, so I surfed over to this post after seeing another post here that Mr. Goepfert contributed to.

    I just wanted to point out how amusing it is to hear Bobby Goepfert talk about abuse that goalies get. It’s amusing to me because I remember him playing for St. Cloud while I was in the student section at Wisconsin. Two memories that stand out:

    1) Tom Gilbert totally scored on him from the opposite blue line once.
    2) The many, many ways that the Crease Creatures (and I’m sure other student sections around the WCHA) would taunt him for getting booted from Providence for plagiarism. It started out with various “Cite your sources *clap*clap*clapclapclap*” chants, and eventually turned into a new verse we sang for the “[Goalie] Is A Great Big Sieve” song: Goepfert is a plagiarist/plagiarist/plagiarist/Goepfert is a plagiarist/he got kicked out of school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *