Hope for the small goalie

January 9, 2023

There is little doubt that when it comes to goalies — especially as they get older and the level gets higher — that coaches and scouts prefer and favour those net minders who have size. But according to one reputable scout, there is once again hope for the small goalie.

Mark Seidel is a seasoned, reputable scout. (photo by Postmedia)

Mark Seidel, who operates North American Central Scouting and who is also the chief scout for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, gave his take as to why teams still tend to prefer the bigger goalies.

“The shooters in (the OHL) are so good that unless a small goalie is in perfect position, they will pick him apart. Bigger goalies can be less technical because they cover more net,” Seidel told Hockey News North.

Having said that, Seidel said there can still be a place for the smaller size goalie.

“The one caveat is that our game is a lot more East-West with cross ice passes so athleticism and hockey IQ are becoming more important again,” Seidel noted. “Thus, small guys are back in the mix again. A small guy has to have athleticism, be very smart and have good technique. If so, they (can be) an (OHL) draft pick.”

One small goalie who is considered by more than a few to be the best in his 2007 age group in the Great North Under 18 Hockey League is Nick Marson, who stands in at 5-foot-9. A Sault Ste. Marie product, Marson has been a standout performer for the Sudbury U16 Nickel Capitals thus far this 2022-2023 season. Marson, who just turned 15 years old on December 16, has a 6-1-1 record and 3.09 goals against average on a U16 Nickel Capitals team that has a 9-6-1 mark in the GNU18HL.

Nick Marson

Marson is one of six younger goalies in the GNU18HL who have 2007 birth dates and who are eligible for the 2023 OHL priority selections draft. And what makes Marson’s record and fulfillment even more splendid this season is that he is playing on one of only two U16 teams against older players in the eight member GNU18HL. Then there is the fact that he opted to leave home at age 14 for Sudbury last fall to try out for — and then make — the U16 Nickel Capitals after being cut by his hometown Soo Jr. Greyhounds.

Naturally, Seidel as an OHL scout, won’t comment on whether he thinks a kid like Marson has a chance of being picked at the 2023 OHL priority selections draft.

At any rate there was a time — before the infatuation with size — that small goalies excelled in the OHL. As an example, while playing for the Soo Greyhounds from 2004 until 2008, Kyle Gajewski won no less than 114 games as a 5-foot-10, 140 pound workhorse goalie.

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