Protecting the Pipes

Hornets Hall of Famer makes goalie development a priority.

“I don’t know how I got the goalie bug,” says Steve Carroll, owner of Carroll Goalie School (CGS). “But I liked the challenge of keeping the puck out of the net and being in a key position that directly impacted the outcome of games.” Carroll was fortunate to grow up in the Edina hockey community; he started skating at age 4.

After watching 11- or 12-year-old Carroll protect his neighborhood net at a floor hockey tournament, Edina coach John Sweetland asked him to try playing goalie on skates. He gave it a try and Sweetland selected Carroll as a goalie for his Peewee A team, which went on to win the 1972 state tournament.

Carroll didn’t realize the decision to switch from forward to goalie when he was 12 would have such an impact on his life. “It seemed like an innocent decision, but it fueled the passion for me as a goalie and then ultimately for me as a coach to help goalies reach their potential,” says Carroll.

Carroll opened CGS 23 years ago. And with a combined 63 years of experience among three coaches, CGS has trained more than 2,000 goalies on Minnesota ice, including at Edina’s Braemar Arena. Many players have gone on to play high school, junior, college, and professional hockey. CGS offers private lessons, coaching and goalie clinics, and performance evaluations.

CGS teaches goalies to listen, learn and ask questions. “We want kids to understand what they’re being taught, so if they’re having trouble with their glove hand or lateral movement, they know how to fix it,” says Carroll.

Josh Mansky, with Edina Peewee B1 White has benefited from Carroll’s teaching. “Coach Carroll has helped me gain confidence in mastering my goalie skills, and I’ve particularly enjoyed my interactions with him,” Josh says of his four years at CGS.

Josh’s dad, Lou, supports Josh’s training. “CGS uses creative approaches to engage young goalies in developing their foundational skills, including movement and positioning, for this complicated position,” Lou says.

Carroll believes being a goalie requires confidence and athleticism. “Ideally you want your top athlete playing goalie because they’re on the ice just about the whole game,” he says.

He knows the pressures of protecting the pipes in Minnesota. “My ultimate highlight was playing in the state high school tournament,” recalls Carroll. As Edina East’s starting goalie his senior year in 1977, in the net for legendary U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Coach Willard Ikola, Carroll shut out Neal Broten and the Roseau Rams in the quarter finals. “That was a big thrill for me and my team,” Carroll says.

In his third year goaltending for Minnesota State in Mankato, Carroll led the Mavericks to the 1980 NCAA Division II National Championship, where he was named MVP. “I always refer to it as the Miracle in Mankato that got overshadowed by the Miracle on Ice." He was inducted into Minnesota State’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995; and if it had existed then, he would have had a chance at making the all-hair team.

Carroll is USA Hockey’s Minnesota goalie development coordinator and assistant coach for Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey. He also runs the Dave Peterson High Performance Goalie Camp in St. Cloud. In 2005, he was inducted into the Edina High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

For information about camps and goaltender development contact Carroll Goalie School; 612.703.2449; or visit the website.