It's never easy being a goalie. In fact, it's no easier making a team to begin with, especially at the junior level where there are so many goalies of similar age trying out for so few available spots.
Anthony Stolarz is an example of a goalie who tried out for multiple teams in the United States Hockey League and Eastern Jr. Hockey League before finally latching on with the Corpus Christi IceRays of the North American Hockey League just prior to the start of the 2011-12 season.
Not only did the 6-foot-5 Stolarz make Corpus Christi but he became its starter, attracted the attention of pro scouts and is rated fourth overall among all North American-born goalies heading into this weekend's National Hockey League draft.
The problem with most goalies going to junior tryout camps is that unless they have already been drafted or tendered by the team in question, coaches are often unwilling to take a chance and make a commitment.
Take the weekend open camp of the USHL's Des Moines Buccaneers for instance.
Chris Truehl was "easily one of the top two goalies in attendance."
Nick Ellis and Trevor Gorsuch."
Ellis, though, got a pass from the Des Moines coaching staff because the Buccaneers took him in the second round of last month's USHL entry draft. And Gorsuch, who was a backup with the Michigan Warriors this past season, most likely earned a longer look than Truehl because he played in the NAHL in 2011-12 and not the NOJHL, which does not have as high a profile among D1 coaches and scouts.
The 6-foot-3 Truehl might take solace from the fact that Gorsuch didn't make Des Moines either while keeping in mind that a goalie doesn't have to play in the over-rated USHL to get a D1 scholarship.
Stolarz, to be sure, can serve as an example to a kid like Truehl who hopes to play somewhere in the NAHL this coming season after putting up good numbers with the Eagles in the NOJHL during the 2011-12 campaign.
In fact, Truehl might have even improved on his tidy 14-3-1 record, .907 save percentage and 3.31 goals against average with the Eagles if he hadn't started so many games against the powerhouse Soo Thunderbirds, who went on to win the NOJHL and Central Canada titles before losing to the stacked Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Jr. Hockey League and their four NHL draft picks in the Royal Bank Cup national championship game.
Still, Truehl is hardly a lock to earn a goaltending position with the Eagles, who have left the NOJHL and will play in the NAHL this coming season.
Kyle Laslo and Zach Nagelvoort after buying the erstwhile Traverse City North Stars franchise but they have tendered Tyler Marble, who has a D1 commitment from the Lake Superior State Lakers. The Eagles also want to take an upcoming tryout camp look at rookie Nate Gay, a highly-touted, 6-foot-5 puckstopper out of Ohio.
Ah, the life of a goalie trying to move up and play at a higher level.
However, it should be noted that while it's custom for most junior hockey teams to carry two goalies, there were NAHL teams that went through five and six twine tenders during the 2011-12 season before settling on two.
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