How To Make to Pro Hockey: Barry Goers
We recently got the chance to chat with Barry Goers of the Wilkes Barry/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. Barry is a great example of true work ethic and determination! Check out below what Barry had to say and if you don’t learn something from his experiences we will be shocked!
1.) Explain the amount of dedication that you have for the game of Hockey and
the importance of practice.
Hockey is currently my greatest passion in life. It is my number one dedication and art. Everything I do is done for a purpose, and that is to put myself in the best possible state of being to have success. Mentality is the most important aspect of this dedication. The mental fortitude to overcome every obstacle is imperative, and one must be a student of not just the game but life. For me, this means not just learning about the game of hockey, but breaking down many areas that will make me better at the game of hockey. For example, I want to have the best nutritional game I can possibly have. Therefore, I learn as much as I possibly can about food. You can break this down for everything; equipment, mental game, off-ice training, etc. To become a master of your discipline I believe it is necessary to master all of its necessities. In the simplest form, this is attention to detail at every level. On this journey, every obstruction is a lesson and not one is to be missed. Some lessons can take a while to learn and can be difficult to accept, however the quicker a lesson learned and the better I can adapt the greater I will be. The way I eat, sleep, lift, and train on the ice is always done with purpose. Without purpose there is no point. That goes for every time I do a drill. I try to do things the right way every time. This is the most important practice, to do everything as hard as you can every time. It’s the only way to get better.
2.) What allows you to be confident while under pressure?
Experience and attitude are the greatest tools in the heat of the moment. You have to know you can do something to successfully accomplish it. If that is going in a shoot-out, or being on the ice while down a goal at the end of a game. You must know and have confidence in your abilities other wise you will question yourself and falter.
3.) What professional Hockey player did you look up to when you were
growing up and why?
I’m a small defenseman so growing up I always looked to small defenseman. There aren’t many! However, I always used to watch Brian Rafalski. The way he played with his head up, smooth skating and poise. Always misinforming the opposition never telegraphing his plays. I used to try to emulate him and always work hard.
4.) Have you always felt that you would make it to the Professional level?
It’s funny I’ve always believed in the back of my mind I could. My parents used to take me to the Union College hockey games when I was a kid. When I was 10 I remember my dad once asked me what I thought of the level of play and the games. I said I thought I could play there one day. I’m sure he didn’t think a whole lot of it at the time, but I was serious. As I got older we started going to AHL games to watch the Albany River Rats and the Adirondack Red Wings. When we moved to Philadelphia we would go to see the Flyers games and I always thought I could play there one day. If you don’t believe you can how will you ever be where you want to be? You must believe, and you must make others believe if you want to reach where you want to be.
5.) What is the most important lesson you have learned while playing
All of life is confidence! To be confident, you must practice at your best all the time and work hard. If you truly work hard your body and habits from hard practice will take over, and you wont have to think. Everything will come naturally and you wont think about confidence you will simply play. Nike has always said it best ‘Just do it.’
6.) What influence have your parents had on you while playing hockey?
I have my parents to thank for giving me every opportunity to be successful. The dedication of a hockey parent is often times even greater then that of the player. I can’t thank them enough, and whenever I do they humbly say they’ve always enjoyed just watching me grow and play. They’re my greatest supporters, and always try to catch games either in person or via the Internet. I’m extremely lucky to have such caring parents, and I hope to provide my children with the same support in life.
7.) What Coach had the biggest impact on your career and why?
I’m a big believer in the saying, “you can learn something from everyone.” I’ve had many great coaches who have helped me all along my path. If you take something from everyone that makes for a lot of knowledge, and making you a better player. Even if that is a lesson in what not to do! Coach Ryan Mougenel has probably had the greatest impact on my career. He was my first professional coach in Las Vegas, and he truly believed in me from the first time I stepped on the ice. He gave me the opportunity to grow and develop and helped make me a better all-around player in the pro game.
8.) Was there ever a time in your career where you weren’t playing a lot or
having success on the ice? How did you handle this and get back to playing at a
Last year I was on contract with the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL, and had received my first NHL tryout camp invite with the Colorado Avalanche. I had finished the year with Lake Erie pretty successfully the year before, and was really excited for my opportunity. Unfortunately, the lockout ensued, and with that went the NHL camp. I didn’t allow this to deter me, and I remained excited for the year. However, the lockout forced many NHLer’s down to the AHL and made it very competitive. I took a lot of pride in having never been a healthy scratch in my entire career until last year during the lockout I was rotated in and out of games. It killed me mentally, and I wished it was a lesson I learned at a much younger age. How to cope with being in and out of the line-up? I did not handle it well and it started to effect my play. Unfortunately, I eventually suffered a concussion that was a battle in itself to overcome, after 3 months of vestibular and visual rehabilitation I returned to the game. I’m proud to say I confidently came back to play a strong game at the end of the year with Lake Erie. It was definitely a big set back in my career, and a huge lesson to learn. The importance of confidence. No matter what happens and no matter what people think of you you must not allow others beliefs to creep into your own mind. Thinking about why you aren’t playing and comparing yourself to others will only bring you down. You must know and believe in yourself no matter what and at all times, and you must measure yourself from within. This means not comparing your play to others or where you think you should be. You are your own measuring stick for success. Ask yourself, how good am I today, and am I playing to the best of my ability? To make it to the top, you must never waiver in your belief in yourself not even for a shift because it can destroy you. Last year was full of many obstacles so that challenge was greatly augmented and it was a lesson that took a while to learn, but I am now stronger mentally for it!
9.) What do you think is the most important factor that allowed you to be
successful in the game of Hockey?
Number one I’ve always believed I could accomplish whatever task was before me. I never thought I couldn’t make a team, or perform a role asked of me. Secondly, I have always worked hard. Everyone talks about hard work, but do you really work your hardest in every drill in every practice, and in every shift of every game? It’s hard, raise your awareness and be in the moment when you’re on the ice. Before you go in a drill think to yourself I’m going to skate as hard as I can, make hard passes, finish my check, or shoot while keeping my feet moving. Think about what you’re going to do in practice and by the time you play a game you wont have to think about what you’re going to do it will just happen for you. This way you will always be ready! In my career, I have noticed that as long as I’m always working hard, playing to my strengths, and moving my feet when I get the puck I generally have success.
10.) What drill would you like to pass on to Prodigy Hockey players to help
develop their game? How does the drill work?
The drill is called ‘The Lidstrom.’ The purpose of the drill is to shoot with your head up. Primarily for d-men, but any player could practice this anywhere in the offensive zone. The way I do it as d-man is I stand at the blue line (feet outside the blue line, stick inside the offensive zone, there’s a little tip in itself for defenseman. This gives you several extra feet to operate in inside the offensive zone.) Stand in line with the inside of the net post, keep your head straight up looking at the net the entire time with your stick on the ice. Another player will have a pile of pucks on the boards at the blue line (as if you were going to make a D to D pass at the blue line). The player on the boards passes the puck in the general receiving area of the player in the middle at the blue line. The player receiving the puck must try to stop the puck and shoot it all while looking directly at the net the entire time (Do not look down or over at the other player or puck at anytime focus on the net)! This is a difficult drill, and requires great peripheral vision and awareness. Master this drill and you will be a master of shooting and making plays from the point with your head up! This is my favorite shooting drill, if you get really good at it try catching passes from the other side on your backhand same rules
We here at Prodigy Hockey would like to thank Barry for this great interview! Comment below if you have any questions for Barry!