An Existential Crisis in Canadian Goaltending

Canada was at the forefront of developing goalies throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, when Patrick Roy and his goalie coach with the Montreal Canadiens, François Allaire, transformed the position by developing the drop-to-your-knees butterfly technique that made stand-up netminders obsolete. Quebec then became the NHL’s goalie factory, and for the next 10 years, Canadian goalies played 80 per cent of all the minutes in the league.

Many now say a sort of national self-satisfaction set in, both at the development level and in the pro game. Not only was Allaire’s blocking style overwhelmingly adopted, it was adhered to even after it was surpassed by European approaches that focused more on reflexes and agility.