Bobby Goepfert is a professional goaltender who I got to know in college (he was with St. Cloud), and our paths crossed again at a camp for the Hershey Bears in 2008-2009. He’s spent time in the American League and the ECHL, and has been a starter in the DEL (German Elite League) over the past couple seasons – he’s heading back there this year too. He’s a pretty darn good goalie, and also a great Twitter follow.
He’s written for Backhand Shelf in the past (you can still check out his post responding to my post about abusing goaltenders from the blog’s early days), so with the European season about to kick off, he needed an outlet for his energy and hit me up.
Hockey pucks hurt, I can confirm this. But I’ll let him tell you more about it below.
-by Bobby Goepfert
The hockey puck. You elusive, deceiving, unforgiving spawn of vulcanized rubber. To the naked eye, it doesn’t look like a formidable foe. One inch thick, three inches in diameter and weighing in at 6 ounces, it hardly boasts the dimensions of a menacing adversary. However, this small, unassuming sliver of hellish frozen rubber can travel up to speeds of 100+mph. (*Sidenote* In all honesty, that’s really only during the certain occasions when a 6’7″ defenseman really gets into one, or if you’re dumb enough to wonder in front of the net during the hardest shot event at the Skills Competition while Chara is going. Most of the hardest in-game, or practice shots us goalies face would be anywhere from low 90′s to high 90′s.)
People always say that us goalies are absolutely crazy for wanting to put ourselves in front of these flying bastards, actually trying to get a body part on it. Well…maybe we are. But I say to you, we are the most protected players out on the ice (or on the bench). The defenceman or forward battling in front of the net when an incoming rocket is headed our way wear no face mask, the shoulder pads Reggie Dunlop wore, and have an exposed abdomen. Are they not crazy? Or the winger challenging a point shot by sliding into the missile as it leaves the point man’s stick, with all sorts of body parts exposed – is that not crazier than we, the masked men, the padded Michelin men of today’s hockey game? (*Sidenote* Extreme kudos to our goalie brethren of yesteryear with their shoddy equipment and mask-less faces. I think I can speak for the goalies of today in saying, “Wow, & respect”…though something a bit more articulate.) Read the rest of this entry »