Arizona Coyotes Goaltender Development Coach Charlie McTavish joined Adrian Denny, Kim Cota-Robles, and Jonathon Schaffer this week on Roadrunners Happy Hour. Catch Happy Hour every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1450 AM and the complete conversation in the Roadrunners Happy Hour Podcast on the iHeartRadio app. For the complete episode, including what Roadrunners player lives in his neighborhood in Ontario and could be a future babysitting option, download below.Listen to “Making Saves With McTavish” on Spreaker.
Q: It was a busy offseason for the Coyotes adding some goalies in the draft. Did that add to your busy schedule right off the top?
Once the season started it added 3 more stops in addition to Tucson and the rest. One of our goaltenders is at UMass (Michael Hrabel), one in Madison, Wisconsin (Carson Musser), and one in Sweden (Melker Thelin). Finland and Sweden aren’t too far apart so I was able to see two of our prospects out there.
Q: Matthew Villalta was a big free agent signing this offseason. How excited were you for that signing?
Yeah I was really excited. When I was with the Ottawa 67’s I coached against him when he was with the (Soo) Greyhounds so I was pretty familiar with him. Funny story, when I called him he was actually hunting coyotes, ironically. He’s a great guy.
Q: Goaltenders are kind of known for having different personalities. How do you manage the different personalities and having to wear so many different hats?
Yeah that’s a little bit of the fun of it. The psychology and chatting with different guys about the mentorship that they need. It’s not that different from coaching the 20 different guys in the dressing room, my job is just a little more on an individual basis. The most interesting thing is how the style is different in European hockey. The style is more patient, they hold on to the pucks much longer. The USHL is a very fast style of game, so the goaltending result can be a little bit different as well.
Q: What is the difference between coaching and instructing?
The coaching is more in a team environment. It is everything that goes with being on a team and being a part of the ecosystem. It’s a different perspective. When you are instructing, you are trying to improve the individual’s game and you don’t have the context of winning and losing and all of those things.
Q: Every goaltender has a unique experience of how they started in net. How did you get your start as a goaltender?
I think I was quite young when I started. I remember playing developmental hockey and we would take turns shift by shift playing goal. I had one shift where 3 goals went in and I thought “I am never doing that again” and not that many years later, I got a Cooper goalie stick for Christmas. Playing in the street I would always gravitate to that position and I guess I was pretty decent at it.
Q: What have you seen from Matthew Villalta in his first chance to be “the guy” with the organization?
He has been fantastic and dependable every night. He had a season where he played over 40 games but Ontario always had an older goaltender. This year, we are incredibly happy with how he played. He is your prototypical first to the rink, last to leave. He manages his body and mind really well. He is a pretty relaxed guy, which helps him to not get too anxious or overthink things. He can turn it on and off and that is a skill set. He has been fantastic.