A Different Breed: Goalie Greatness

By Katie Kenyhercz, author of Full Strength and On the Fly

Full StrengthWhen I first got into hockey, I went to a local team’s “hockey and heels” night. Lady fans got discounted tickets to a game as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of the locker room and a tell-all session with the players. Finally, I had a chance to ask face-to-face something I’d been curious about for a while: What’s up with goalies?

I’d heard commentators talk about how peculiar they are, but no one ever gave specifics. I was intrigued. I sat front row in the player Q&A and asked for the real deal. Why do goalies have the weirdest superstitions and are more serious about them than other players?

The answer actually made a lot of sense. It takes a ton of mental fortitude to be a goalie. Not only do you have to stand in front of speeding pucks, you have to cope with the fact that you are the last line of defense. Anyone else on the team can have a bad night and get away with it, but if a goalie has a bad night, the game is over.

Imagine that kind of pressure and guilt when things go wrong. Superstitions help goalies get in the zone and stay focused. I’m sure this is true for all players, but especially for goalies.

When I decided to write hockey romance, I most looked forward to telling my goalie’s story because I’m a sucker for a tortured hero who puts others before himself. In Full Strength, Shane Reese gets injured right before playoffs. He fights taunting teammates and puts his fist through the physical therapy room wall. Naturally, that lands him in the office of the new team sports psychologist, Dr. Alexandra (Allie) Kallen. She’s an ex-soccer goalie, taken out by an injury of her own, so she gets him like no one else. I had fun exploring what it means to be a goalie and hope you like reading it as much as I loved writing it!