Derek Krall – BCHL Penticton Vees
While I was attending the Cowichan Capitals spring camp in 2015, I didn’t think I would have met a person that has had such an influence on my hockey career up to this point. He was very straightforward on wanting to work with me and was willing to help me realize my potential in the net.
As a student of James for the past 3 years and counting, it has aided in myself reaching new heights that has changed the outlook of my game and career tremendously. He also preaches the very basics of the game and can make everything easier to process while keeping everything in fine detail. He is willing to help every step of the way and ensures that we are taking the right steps in development. He works with the unique attributes of every individual and can fine-tune our game into becoming more mature and calm in between the pipes. I am so thankful that I got the chance to meet and work with James, and I am excited for what is to come in my hockey career, knowing he will be there every step of the way.
Merek Pipes – SJHL La Ronge Ice Wolves
I’ve known James for almost the entire duration of my goaltending career. I originally met him at a major goaltending clinic. Even as a child, I was immediately impressed by his meticulousness in his coaching. Every time I stepped on the ice I was sure that his entire world for that hour were me, my movements, and the puck. So, when he left the organization to become an independent instructor, I followed him. His willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty continues to impress and assure me that I made the best choice.
I really like how James structures our training: while he may notice a number of subtle errors, he is great at keying into the main problem and allowing the goaltender to focus in on it. He will then structure the drills and ice time around that fault. While the game has evolved, James’s emphasis on tracking has never changed. A training session wouldn’t be complete if he didn’t yell ‘eyes’ at me a few times. Often overlooked after warm-up skating, tracking pucks through is paramount in how you stop the puck and where you put your rebounds. Yelling ‘eyes’ is simple, but effective: all his goalies know exactly what it means. The fact is, if a goalie is committed to improving, there is no better goalie coach than James.
Growing up, I was always a league down from all the ‘top’ goaltenders of the island. I struggled to make the rep team for a long time. Still, he treated me with the same respect and expectations as any of his other goalies. I would not be where I am if not for James’s consistent guidance throughout the entirety of my career. He saw something in me that many did not, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Now, I am playing Junior A as a starting goaltender, and skating with James as I work to move up to the College level. I am proud to not only call James my goalie coach, but also my friend.