Goalie Style

Posted by Ian Tang on Sep 16, 2014

In modern goaltending there are two dominant styles. The first and more traditional style is referred to as Hybrid, which is a mix of Stand-Up and Butterfly. This new style has evolved from a reactive, inverted V style to a full Butterfly.

Famous Hybrid goalies: Martin Brodeur, Ryan Miller, and Tuukka Rask

The Hybrid goaltender relies on his reflexes and quick movements to make saves.  The stance is not as low as a pure Butterfly, but it does incorporate many Butterfly techniques. Hybrid goalies trap the puck with their body, trying to eliminate the possibility of a rebound. On high shots Hybrid goalies like to use their glove to catch the puck. In some instances where catching the puck is not possible, the blocker is utilized to steer the puck. Off the pads, rebounds should die and stay close to the goalie to be smothered. Hybrid goalies are much more unpredictable in their save selection than Butterfly goalies. In one-on-one situations,  Hybrid goalies challenges shooters. In fact, Hybrid goalies are more willing to dive or go on their stomach to get across their crease. In addition to the Butterfly slide, Hybrid goalies shuffle and t-push to move around the crease. All these factors add a level of uncertainty when shooting on Hybrid goalies.

Famous butterfly goalies: Mike Smith, Henrik Lundqvist, and Roberto Luongo

Butterfly goaltenders rely on positioning and timing to make their saves. The basic Butterfly position involves keeping the hips over the knees with the chest high and up. This helps the goaltenders balance when sliding, keeps them square, and also increases their blocking area. The stance is much lower than Hybrid goalies, which helps them get down into position faster. Butterfly goalies like to play from their knees, with toes pointed out to create a wall of padding to cover low shots. They block pucks and deflect pucks into corners far away from the net. On high shots, the Butterfly goalie plays the puck off the chest shoulders and arms to knock the puck away from the net. On low shots, the save selection is strictly Butterfly. In all,  Butterfly goaltenders will challenge shooters with the intention of steering the puck into a safe area. From the knees, Butterfly goalies use their edges to slide and make second chance, or mobile saves. This is called a butterfly slide.

No matter which style is right for you, practice is necessary. During a game you should not think about which save selection to use, instead you should instinctively react to the play. In all, the various styles are meant to offer tools that can be used in situations to help you make the save. Moreover, the various styles provide guidelines on where to begin when starting out as a new goalie. Once you have the basics, you will start to develop your own style and figure out what works best for you.


1 Comment for “Goalie Style”

Ken Ornstein on Jan 13, 2015

Hello Discount Hockey,

I am a ice goalie. Without my glasses my vision is not a sharp and focused. For some reason, I can’t seem to master contact lenses. I’d like to get a pair of RX sport goggles to fit until my Itech helmet.

Do you have any recommendations?


Ken O.

Leave a Comment