Goaltenders are indeed a strange lot. The position was once relegated to the smallest members of the team, a far cry from the 6′ 5″ Scott Darlings of today. But with or without the size advantage, some goalies are very superstitious, incorporating some bizarre rituals and practices before and during each game. Here are a few that will get you thinking.

Patrick Roy: King of Goalie Superstitions

Hailed as the best playoff goaltender ever, Patrick Roy has a long rap sheet of superstitions to go with his wins. One of his most famous, talking to the goalposts, actually began during the 1986 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Roy started speaking to the posts before the game, asking them to help him out. The ritual stuck when the posts “saved” the game in overtime. A slapshot ricocheted off the posts, keeping Montreal in the playoffs. From then on, Roy would talk to the posts before and during each game to enlist their help for a win.

Other superstitions Roy held included:

  • Never skating (only stepping) over the blue and red lines
  • Refusing game-day interviews
  • Never sweeping snow or anything else into the net
  • Visualizing his net as a smaller space to prevent the puck from entering it

From Water Bottles to Wardrobes

Other goaltenders have borrowed some of Roy’s magic when it comes to superstitions, but many have incorporated their own. Semyon Varlamov never places his water bottle on the top of the net until after the first whistle is blown. And he refuses to bring it with him to the crease. The trainer has to slide it to him across the ice from the bench. Jocelyn Thibault also held a strange water bottle superstition. He would wait until precisely six and a half minutes before game time and then pour water on his head.

Pelle Lindbergh of the Philadelphia Flyers wore an orange T-shirt under his sweater for every game. He never washed it or repaired any holes, so you can imagine what that looked and smelled like!

The most disturbing goalie superstition was from “Mr. Goalie” himself, Glenn Hall. He would force himself to vomit before each game. Did it work? He won three Vezina Trophies and had 407 career wins. But if you’re looking for a superstition to carry on, you might want to choose one that’s easier on your stomach!

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