The Path to Gothenburg
Details on Sweden's 2024 Coaching Symposium
This three-day symposium (January 3-5, 2024) includes two tracks: one for head coaches and one for goalie coaches. Conducted in English, the event is focused on “guiding coaches through the complex world of player development,” and “exploring the areas of psychology, physiology, and other hockey-specific domains.”
As part of the event, guests will also get to attend the WJC’s Semifinals, Bronze Medal, and Gold Medal games together. If you are interested in learning more, check out the official details and register today on the SIHA website.
In order to continue my own research, I’m stoked to say that I will be attending and documenting the event. This exciting journey will mark my first time in Sweden since June of 2015 and my first time back in Europe since 2018.
This trip will be inspiring and educational for a bunch of different reasons, so I wanted to highlight just a few of them below.
The Guest Speakers
So far, nine guest speakers have already been confirmed.
The first is Dr. Joe Baker, who is the Tanenbaum Research Chair in Sports Science, Data Modeling, and Sport Analytics at the University of Toronto.
The second is Maria Mountain from Goalie Training Pro. Her scope of work in goaltending and her commitment to improving the health and prosperity of goalies is unparalleled.
Next there’s Maciej Szwoch from Färjestad BK and Magnus Helin from MoDo Hockey. They will be co-presenting on Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark and his journey from Sweden to Boston. It will include a virtual conversation with Linus and more insights from some of his previous coaches and mentors.
David Alexander, goalie coach for the St. Louis Blues, will also be a guest speaker. His presentation will be virtual due to the NHL schedule, but he has never failed to deliver inspiring and insightful content over the past decade.
Steve Thompson and Ken Martel from USA Hockey are the next pair of guest speakers. Both have a wealth of experience in player development and have done amazing work within the confines of a large and complex national-level program.
Up next is Andreas Ivarsson, PhD. He is a scientific advisor for the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, the Swedish Soccer Association, and the Swedish Olympic Committee. Tommy Lundberg, a lecturer in the Division of Clinical Physiology at Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm), rounds out the confirmed speakers so far.
More guests could be announced in the coming weeks, so I’ll continue to share updates as November rolls on. Between the speakers and the coaches that are already attending, I couldn’t be more excited for this in-person experience.
The In-Person Experience
Another reason I’m hyped for Gothenburg: this is the first time Sweden has hosted an in-person goalie coaching symposium since the 2014 event in Malmö. I missed the one in 2014 and I’ve been dealing with the FOMO ever since, so there’s no way I’m letting that happen again.
I also believe that Sweden has the most progressive and cohesive goalie development model in the world. With this in mind, being fully immersed in the Swedish coaching culture for a week will be a huge key to my own growth. I experienced this in Finland in 2014, and I can’t wait to feel it again in 2024.
Beyond the guest speakers, I can’t wait for all of the quality conversations, both formal and informal, that will take place. Participating in these discussions and sharing my own thoughts with coaches from all over the world will be one of the most valuable parts of the trip.
Overall, this journey to Gothenburg is a total no-brainer. I’m going to see a bunch of long-time friends, make a ton of new ones, attend my first-ever World Juniors, and discover the city that is known as the “birthplace of Swedish death metal.”
At the end of the day, I think this trip is more about the people than the pucks. I know I will learn a lot about coaching and development, but the people I’ll meet and the time we will spend together will mean more to me than anything else.
Speaking of people, there’s a cool example of how an international event like this can open meaningful new doors for coaches at all levels.
Case in point — the 2014 symposium in Malmö. This is where the original co-founders of NetWork Goaltending (Mike Valley, Thomas Magnusson, and Hannu Nykvist) spent time together and forged friendships that would eventually lead to NetWork’s creation. Dave Alexander joined shortly after that, and then a few months later I joined the crew as Director of Operations.
From there, the NetWork Goaltending crew went on to host goalie coaching symposiums in the summer of 2015, 2016, and 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin before hosting the final event in 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The 2018 NetWork symposium in Nashville included over 100 coaches. More than 20 of them were from Sweden, a group that is still affectionately referred to as the Swedish Legion. In fact, goalie coaches from Sweden have participated in almost every one of these international symposiums since 2014, so the least I can do is return the favor and attend one of theirs.
It’s hard to believe a full decade of symposiums have come and gone since Malmö, so I think this event in Gothenburg is a perfect time to reflect on how far we’ve come since then…and how far we still have to go.
Knowing that so many key connections in the world of goaltending have been made since then, I honestly can’t wait to see what type of new friendships, collaborations, and ideas will emerge in Sweden!
Goldy’s Mind Streams
Lukas Dostal was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for October and it was well-deserved, especially on the heels of another John Gibson injury.
Bill Ranford’s interview on the InGoal Mag podcast is an excellent listen. He talks about a third-goalie rule, scouting, and his new position with the Kings.
Why was NHL save percentages down so drastically last season and early this season? This recent Unmasked article from NHL.com takes a look.
The latest Perception & Action Podcast looks at the usefulness of “muscle memory” in skill acquisition.
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