Maine Hockey Journal

Lander lands spot with Finnish goalie school

 John Bapst's Sam Lander makes a save from Hampden during their hockey game at Sawyer Arena in Bangor Tuesday. (PHOTO: Ashley L. Conti | BDN)

John Bapst’s Sam Lander makes a save from Hampden during their hockey game at Sawyer Arena in Bangor Tuesday. (PHOTO: Ashley L. Conti | BDN)

Sam Lander of Orrington has a passion for goaltending.

He carved out a nice career on the ice and between the pipes at John Bapst High School in Bangor, and now he would love to teach the position.

The 19-year-old recently found out he will receive a wonderful opportunity to expand his learning curve by being named one of five people chosen to attend the GoaliePro hockey school for prospective goalie coaches June 6-10 in Espoo, Finland.

He was selected from more than 40 applicants.

“I am very excited,” said Lander, who is a freshman at the University of Maine. “This will help us learn how to coach goalies. We’ll get the chance to see how the Finns bring up their goalies from all ages. There will be goalies from all over and of all different age levels and skill levels.”

Former UMaine volunteer goalies coach Ray Jean, who was recently named USA Hockey’s goaltending development coordinator in Maine, played a major role in Lander’s opportunity.

Lander had attended Jean’s goaltending clinics growing up and expressed an interest in coaching. Jean invited him to teach at some of his clinics and suggested he apply for the GoaliePro school.

Jean attended the GoaliePro school a year ago.

“Sam is passionate about goaltending,” said Jean, a former UMaine, Bentley University and pro goaltender. “The school will be very valuable. It will show him how other people do things, but it will also validate what he already knows. He already knows a lot about goaltending.”

Lander had the opportunity to work with Jean and the Black Bears this past season in a variety of roles, including videotaping their practices. He got to know the UMaine goalies and was able to talk with them about playing the position.

One thing Lander will learn is a patient approach to teaching goalkeeping, said Jean.

“In our country, if a goalie is doing something wrong, they’ll stop practice and show him how to do it right,” said Jean. “In Finland, they won’t stop practice. They’ll continue to let the goalie take shots and then, after the drill is over, they’ll explain to him what he did wrong (and how to rectify it).”

Jean’s approach to coaching goalies was something Lander embraced.

“It was fun to learn to play goalie from [Jean], but it also looked like fun to teach it,” said Lander.

“Ray’s approach isn’t to teach a particular style. He allows the goalies to play their own style. He shows them how to perfect it,” said Lander. “That’s the reason I love going to him. He doesn’t force you to play a certain way. And he’s very knowledgeable.”

Lander said he intends to pick the brains of the goalie instructors as well as some of the pro goalies who will be on hand.

Two of his favorite goalies are Finns: Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and Boston’s Tuukka Rask.

“I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the Finns bring up their goalies,” Lander said.

He said other major influences on him were goalie coaches Justin Climo and Meaghan MacDonald along with former UMaine player and assistant coach Dan Kerluke, co-founder and CEO of Double Blue Sports Analytics, which takes a comprehensive video approach to coaching.

Lander estimated that the cost to attend the camp, including the travel, will be $1,000. Joining him in Finland are Martti Miroven and Jarkko Alanko from the Espoo Blues hockey club, Rod Wisco from the Whitby Fury, a Canadian Junior A team, and Michigan State Goalie Guild Scholarship winner Nathan Phillips.

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