The Goalie Glove

Everyone loves watching huge glove saves, whether it is on YouTube or on TV nothing beats a windmill save. Goalies in the NHL make it look easy…. It’s not as easy as they make it look. They all have tremendous glove hands and have taken years to practice making perfect glove saves. With this comes how we hold our glove before the shot is taken, so let’s dive a little deeper into our glove positioning.

First of all, lets talk about the glove itself. To use our glove as efficiently as we possibly can we need to know our glove. There are three different break angles that gloves close with. A 580 degree break closes more with your thumb, a 590 degree break closes more in the middle of your hand and a 600 degree break glove closes with your fingers more. Here is a visual break down of the different break angles.

Braden Holtby uses a 580 degree glove as does Jordan Binnington, both who hold their glove similarly. They hold it about hip high and both tend to have the T of their pocket turned up and in slightly. While they are holding in it tighter to their bodies than most goalies in the NHL do, they still have their hands out in front of their bodies in an activated position.

Braden Holtby "The Holtbeast" for the Washington Capitals

Carey Price, Pekka Rinne, and many others use a 590 degree break. This is the most common break angle in the NHL. The closure in the hand is much more neutral in the palm as shown in the previous visual. This allows you to get a closure down the middle of your hand, giving you the option to comfortably close your glove from just about any position. Pekka Rinne holds his glove extremely high, and upright which allows him to have an extremely active glove. He is extremely effective high to his glove side, however his glove position makes low glove saves tough to get to as he has to reach down for puck along with rotate his wrist to get the pocket of his glove to the puck. On the other hand Carey Price holds his glove right off of his hip with the T of his glove upright, as shown his glove is out in front of his body.

Pekka Rinne for the Nashville Predators

Most goalies that have past experience in baseball tend to use 600 degree break, as it closes most similarly to a baseball glove. Two of the more notable goalies to use this glove in the NHL are Marc-Andre Fluery and Frederik Andersen. Both goalies tend to hold their glove more horizontal compared to other goalies around the league. While they are holding their gloves differently than others, one thing remains the same, it is off of and slightly in front of their bodies remaining activated.

Marc-Andre Fleury "Flower" for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

No matter where these goalies hold their gloves, we can learn a lot to implement into our glove positioning. There are constants within every goalie who holds their glove effectively. First of all, the hand is in an area of your stance that is not covered, no “double coverage” is happening. We want to make our body as a whole look as large as possible to the shooter. If we are covering space that is already covered behind our glove by either our chest or hips/breezers we are becoming smaller to the eye of the shooter. Secondly every goalie in the NHL holds their glove in front of their body. Holding the glove in front of the body allows a goalie to have an active glove as they are making glove saves. We want to be making saves with our hands out in front of our body, starting our hand in front makes catching pucks in front of our bodies much easier and more efficient. Another benefit to holding your glove in front of your body is your visual tracking, when your glove is in front of your body you can see it as you are in your stance. Along with being able to see your glove, it also makes it easier to track a puck from the stick blade it was released from all the way into your glove.

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