What it Takes to be a D1 Goalie (Part 4)

What does it take to be a D1 goalie?

In Part 1, we examined the extraordinary amount of talent, commitment and hard work required for a goaltender to reach elite level hockey, as well as the tenacity it takes to succeed in the role of a team’s number one goalie. For insight from the crease, we began with Joe Calvi, a senior and starting goalie for Bentley University.

In Part 2, we move on to the WCHA, where Joe Howe of Colorado College hit the ground running his freshman year as the Tiger’s starting goaltender last season – an impressive feat in itself – and hasn’t slowed down yet.

And in Part 3 we met Joe Cannata, starting goaltender for Merrimack College. Hockey East is widely considered to be one of the most challenging conferences — both in on-ice talent and off-ice harassment from fans — and is the home of the last three National Champions. Cannata has proven to thrive under pressure, however, and remains an intimidating force in net, with no problem shutting the door on any powerhouse team.

In Part 4, we get to know Cody Reichard from Miami University (Ohio) from the CCHA.

In his junior year, Reichard has exceeded all expectations, yet has never allowed himself a respite from his relentless work ethic. When asked to name the hardest working goalie among them, every year the men who join him in summer training camps immediately name Reichard and jokingly fear being named his training partner, as there has yet to be another goalie who has been able to keep up.

Reichard is a junior at the University of Miami (Ohio), majoring in Entrepreneurship. He and goaltending partner Connor Knapp led the RedHawks to the NCAA Frozen Four during his first two seasons.

Last year Reichard also led the CCHA with a 1.23 GAA in league play, breaking the single-season record of 1.24 held by Ryan Miller (Michigan State), finished first in the nation with a 1.87 GAA and posted five shutouts, setting a new single-season school record. With nine shutouts in his career thus far, he is also closing in on the school career record.

Prior to Miami, he played in 51 games for the Fairbanks Icedogs and was named on First Team All-South Division NAHL, First-Team All-NAHL, NAHL Top Goalie and NAHL Most Valuable Player.

Collegiate honors thus far include:

CCHA Player of the Year
All-CCHA First Team
All American Second Team
CCHA Goaltender of the Week
Inside College Hockey National Player of the Week
Top 10 Hobey Baker Finalist

Off the ice, Reichard founded Swoop’s Stoop, (named after the RedHawks mascot) a charity dedicated to providing children in surrounding hospitals with support and entertainment, including tickets to local games, team souvenirs, special meet-and-greets with the players and team visits to children who are unable to travel.

During the game, most of the attention of opposing fans is focused on YOU and they do everything they can to get inside your head. What do you do to keep that from happening?  How do you handle the pressure to play well?  How do you handle it off the ice?

“I enjoy it when fans focus on me and try to get in my head. It is motivating to me and in most cases I think some of the chants and things they say are pretty funny. I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself to play well. I am confident that if I put in the work not only during the season but also in the off-season, on and off the ice, that I will perform at my top level. I try to leave hockey at the rink, the biggest pressure I face off the ice is to meet academic deadlines.”

Does being a high profile player ever have an effect on your daily life around campus? Has there ever been a time when being so recognizable has been a hindrance? Has there been an instance when it has been particularly helpful?

“I wouldn’t consider myself a high profile player, I just try to do my part on the team and give the team the best chance to win when I get the chance to play. It doesn’t affect me around campus because I don’t think a lot of students know that I am a hockey player.”

How do you handle what is said about you in the press and on message boards? How do you stay focused when sometimes it seems there is an entire city that has an opinion on how you should play?

“I don’t read any newspapers or look at any blogs or websites about college hockey. Whether I am playing good or bad, I try to just worry about me and our team being ready to play whoever we have for the upcoming week.”

How do you manage to keep your grades up AND keep up with a demanding hockey schedule? Where do you find the time?  How does it affect your life outside of school?

“The balance of school and hockey can be tough, but it all has to do with time management. I think it helps me that I am older and played three years of Juniors. Generally I have morning classes, lunch, then practice and/or a workout and then the evenings are spent studying and doing homework. We generally don’t have a lot of extra time for a social life since we have games almost every weekend and our season spans so long, but your teammates become your closest friends so it works out.”

You spent a long time dreaming about being a Division 1 goalie, how does the reality compare to what you expected?

“I can remember watching the Frozen Four when I was younger; Jimmy Howard was playing for Maine, and telling my Mom that I would play in the Frozen Four someday. It has been a dream come true and more than I could have imagined. I am a part of one of the top programs in the nation while being able to get an unbelievable education at the same time. It’s hard to not be successful in such an environment.”

What do you do after a bad game? How do you mentally prepare for the next one?

“I think about the game for a bit after it is over, note the corrections that I need to make, then I forget about it and start thinking about the next game. I prepare for the next game the same way I prepare for every other.”

What does a typical day during hockey season entail?

“Mornings are generally when I have most of my classes, although I have a night class every once in awhile. Next is lunch, then we goalies are on the ice at 2 p.m. then we have the team practice after the goalie session. Tuesdays and Wednesdays we have workouts after practice. After that I eat dinner, then spend the nights doing homework and studying.”

Is there anything you wish you could change in that schedule, something you’d like to have more time for?

“No, my schedule has a pretty good balance.”

When you are a high profile athlete that is playing well,  you get all kinds of offers all the time. Some players end up partying too much, it affects their game and before they know it, they have ruined their chances for a pro career. Why hasn’t that happened to you? How do you keep from getting distracted?

“I don’t go out during our season, I think it benefits me more to get rest and replenish my body the right way and it will benefit me more in the long run. I’ve never been much for going out. I think it’s a sacrifice worth making if it helps me to attain my dreams in the future.”

What sacrifices did you have to make to become a D1 goalie?  And now?  Is there one that you regret?  Something you wish you could have done differently, or an event you wish you hadn’t missed? In the end, has it all been worth it?

“I moved away from home my senior year of high school, had to leave my friends and family behind to make new ones. I missed a lot of social events growing up in high school because of traveling so much playing hockey. I’ve been cut and released numerous times and been told I’m not good enough. In the end, I wouldn’t change a thing. I have lived in many different places and met so many good people and made life long friends.”

What is the one bit of advice you wish someone had given you when you started college hockey?

“The season is very long and it is about getting hot at the right time when it comes down to the end. Being consistent is key, not only as a goalie but also as a person and in life.  There will be many ups and downs throughout your career. You must prove yourself every day.”

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