LAKHSHL strikes gold, brings aboard veteran Scullion as goalie coach
Goaltenders playing in the L.A. Kings High School Hockey League will have a new resource this season as they try to improve their skills.
Brian Scullion has been hired as the league’s goalie coach, and will work with each of the league’s nine varsity and eight junior varsity teams.
Less than a month into the season, Scullion has already helped a number of the league’s netminders.
“Coach Brian just started and has already made a positive impact on the teams he has worked with,” said Emma Tani, the Kings’ coordinator of league and rinks, hockey development. “He is extremely passionate about helping our goalies improve, providing us with detailed recaps about each goalie he works with. We are thrilled to have him on board.”
Scullion had worked as an assistant with the Santa Barbara Royals during the league’s first two seasons, after having coached youth hockey for five years in the Chicago area before moving to California. He helped lead the Royals to two consecutive league championships, and said he jumped at the chance to work with all the league’s goalies, hoping that he could spread his knowledge and expertise to a wide variety of players.
“I think there all the kids are going to appreciate the individual concentration on them for that time we get to have together,” said Scullion, who will visit each team twice this season. “My goal is to make them as comfortable as possible. I think over the next 5-10 years, we’re going to see a huge jump in the talent level overall in the league, and if I can help the goalies get better, I will have done my job.”
Royals coach Steve Heinze, who was a forward in the NHL for 13 years, said having Scullion coach his goalies the last two seasons was a big help, and he expects that the league’s other teams will now benefit similarly.
“Our starter and our second goalie were the top two guys in the league in goals-against average both years, so that opened the door for him with the Kings – the proof is in the pudding,” Heinze said. “He’s teaching these guys how to stop pucks. I know nothing about it – I just know how to score. He’s been a huge help with pretty much zero input from me.
“He has helped us, and he can help the other teams. He relates well to high school-age kids. He can see what each kid needs to work on and tailor his approach to their skill level. I know how passionate he is about the game, and in addition to working with the kids from each team on the ice, he’ll be watching video and will be in touch over email or text giving them tips to help them. He’s just the type of guy who fully immerses himself in what he’s doing and gets it done.”
Scullion developed his coaching approach under the tutelage of current Washington Capitals director of goaltending Mitch Korn, with whom he crossed paths when Scullion was a student at Miami (Ohio) University. In his new role, he involves coaches from each team in his training sessions and takes video as well, with the idea that his lessons can be applied even when he’s not physically with the league’s goalies.
“There’s a progression to how I coach goalies,” he said. “Hopefully, I can leave them with some things to work on between the first time I see them and the second.”
The reviews from players and their parents has been nothing but positive. Mark Kovinsky, the father of Burbank Cougars goalie Jake Kovinsky, said the constructive feedback his son received from Scullion far exceeded anything in Jake’s nine years playing hockey.
“We appreciate Coach Scullion spending his time with Jake, and we greatly appreciate having coaches that allow the goaltenders to take time from practice to work with goalie-specific coaches,” he said.
— Matt Mackinder
(Oct. 27, 2017)