Absolutely. 100%. YES!
Why do I say that without hesitating?
To be effective at the position of goaltending, you need to be a good skater.
If you ask the “pros”, they will be the first to tell you that the goalie actually has to be one of the best skaters on the team. The position requires more balance, agility, and lateral power than any other position in ice hockey. And although goalies don’t stride up and down the ice, the skating treadmill will improve leg strength, balance, body awareness, and alignment. Check out this great article on the importance of skating when learning to become a goaltender!
Most teams/coaches ignore the goalies’ skating development
In my 36 years of coaching power skating, I have been invited out on the ice to coach 1000’s of youth amateur teams. More often than not, the coaches on the ice will proceed to pull the goalies OUT of the power skating session, take them down to one end and shoot pucks at them! Now, I understand the need to develop a goaltender’s ability to stop the puck, but when a team pays an expert come in to work with the players on their skating, ALL players should be participating, yes? Especially for players ages 8-14 years, as these are the most formative years in terms of developing the correct biomechanics for powerful, balanced skating. There is nothing more disheartening than watching a 12-year old who has been playing goalie since they were 6 and they can barely skate. Very sad indeed!
Goalies see INCREDIBLE results on the treadmill
Because most goalies never get a lot of skating instruction, their time spent on the skating treadmill is more valuable than GOLD. All the goalies I’ve had on the treadmill have learned more quickly than players who skate out, probably because it’s the first time anyone ever coached them on how to skate. Since the surface of the skating treadmill is not as slippery as the ice, the players have to PUSH a lot HARDER. How hard you can push has a HUGE IMPACT on a goaltender’s ability to get from post to post. In addition, the skating treadmill helps players learn how to position themselves properly over their hips. For the young goalies, this means that they are able to stay on their feet better, and might even be able to skate out once in a while! For the older goalies, this will translate into better alignment, lateral power, and the ability to get to the bench more efficiently.
Bottom line? You can NEVER be too good of a skater.
We recently had a U18 AAA Goalie spend 2x’s/week on the skating treadmill along with his teammates over the course of the summer. We tested the players on skating stride efficiency at the beginning of the 10-weeks, and at the end. While his teammates showed improvements ranging from 5%-30%, the goaltender’s improvements were 100%! That’s right, he literally DOUBLED his test scores in just 10 weeks! Goalies benefit MORE from the skating treadmill than a player who skates out.