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VIC LeMIRE: A TRUE PIONEER IN THE GAME OF HOCKEY

“It is with such gratification and fulfillment that I have the opportunity to introduce one of the most influential individuals in my life. Vic LeMire has been a true coach, an effective mentor, and a life-long friend of mine since 1982. This page has been specifically dedicated to ‘Coach Vic’ so that the BGA Community can get to know the former elite-level athlete … the entrepreneur … the best-selling author … the inventor & innovator … and the career coach that I have been so fortunate to know for so many years! BGA is proud to introduce to you ‘BGA’s Special Business & Goaltender Consultant’ … Coach Vic LeMire!” /Brent Bradford

Vic LeMire: The Elite-Level Athlete – Hockey Origins

In 1960, a young Vic LeMire (9 years old) began playing hockey. In Windsor, Ontario, Vic and his friends played hockey on a frozen field ice rink created by the Windsor Fire Department. Vic played goal using old, thin leg pads with catalogues taped inside of them! He used a baseball glove and two winter coats for arm and chest protection. He did not wear skates during his initial hockey experiences in Ontario; he tended goal in his running shoes!

At age 11 (1962), Vic experienced his first year of organized hockey in Vancouver, BC. He was a Peewee Goaltender in the Killarney Minor Hockey Association. One year later (1963), Vic LeMire, aged 12, reached his goal by playing Peewee ‘AAA’ hockey. Throughout the next four years, he remained at the top level of hockey in the Killarney Minor Hockey Association.

  • Bantam ‘AAA’ Goaltender: 13 years old
  • Bantam ‘AAA’ Goaltender: 14 years old
  • Midget ‘AAA’ Goaltender: 15 years old
  • Midget ‘AAA’ Goaltender: 16 years old

After completing a successful minor hockey career, Vic became overly dedicated to reaching the highest levels of hockey. At age 17, he began his Junior hockey career with the Vancouver Junior ‘B’ Canucks. As a result of his successful play and pure dedication to his skill development, Vic was selected to the BC All-Star Selects Coastal Division Team in the 1968/69 season.

During the next few years, Vic LeMire reached several goals and experienced a plethora of highlights while stopping pucks in five of the most elite-levels of hockey on the planet, including:

  • British Columbia Junior Hockey League (BCJHL – Junior ‘A’)
  • Western Hockey League (WHL – Major Junior): Brandon Wheat Kings
  • Ohio University (NCAA – Division III)
  • Denver University (NCAA – Division I)
  • University of British Columbia (CIAU): Awarded the Team’s ‘Most Valuable Player’

Vic LeMire: The Entrepreneur – Vic’s Hockey Schools & Equipment Ltd.

Following his spectacular playing career, Vic fused all of his on- and off-ice experiences and became hockey’s premier Goaltending Coach; he became known internationally for his innovative teaching techniques, equipment development, and authorship. As the Founder, President, and CEO of Vic’s Hockey Schools & Equipment Ltd. (1973 – 2004), Vic created and implemented ground-breaking methods of goaltender instruction through his countless specialized classes in Canada, USA, and Japan.

In fact, throughout his time of running successful hockey schools, Vic implemented some of the most impactful teaching strategies that can still be observed today in hockey arenas across the globe. Between the years of 1973 – 2004, Vic LeMire developed, implemented, and led the most effective learning environment for aspiring goaltenders, which included:

  • color-coding groups to help maintain a high level of organization
  • dividing goaltenders into 4 stations on the ice to promote effective on-ice management
  • restating important learning cues (e.g., “put the inside skate out in front on a tight-turn”) to reinforce vital information
  • gathering goaltenders into the crease area to explain the next drill (proximity control)
  • group stretching around the center-ice circle to ensure proper stretching
  • group skating around the nets in the same direction while stretching to ensure safety
  • providing 1-on-1 attention (e.g., Video-Analysis) to help reach individual needs
  • offering 2 Ice Sessions, Dryland, and a Classroom Lecture daily to help create the most conducive learning environment
  • performing skating drills in the proper Ready (SET) Position (e.g., tight-turns, pivots) to promote game-like skill development
  • wearing goaltender equipment while teaching to promote proper demonstrations and to allow students to observe proper movements

This incomplete list of Vic’s effective teaching strategies, which he began to implement in 1973, can still be observed in several hockey schools and goalie camps today. It is, therefore, quite obvious that Vic LeMire can be defined as a “true pioneer” in the business of teaching goaltenders … as the majority of others seemed to have followed his lead! Although the goaltending position has evolved over the years, effective teaching strategies on and off the ice have remained consistent … and it cannot be denied that Vic LeMire helped lead the way!

Vic LeMire: The Best-Selling Author

In addition to his remarkable business career, Vic LeMire is also recognized as a best-selling author of 4 Goaltender/Hockey Resource Books, including:

  • Goaltenders are not Targets (1998, 2011): “The Goaltender’s Bible” USA Olympic Hockey Team Goaltender in a USA Today Article
  • Off the Post (1999): Written for Advanced Level Goaltenders and Coaches

Vic LeMire: The Inventor & Innovator

(1) COMPUTER REFLEX TUNNEL

Prior to the computer age, Vic hired a computer programmer from UBC to assist him in the design of his ‘Computer Reflex Tunnel’ (CRT) that sent Sequential Light Beams along a 24’ Black Tunnel beginning at a small end (12″x12″) while expanding out to a (4’ x 6’) opening near the goaltender in front of a net. The CRT would simulate a puck being shot towards the goaltender using a ‘light beam’ in a dark tunnel (at speeds of 5 mph – the ‘speed of light’) that would hit a sensor mounted on the goal net. Through the use of the CRT, Vic could select individual locations for the beam to hit … or … he could set it on a random pattern of firing including the goaltender’s 5-hole.

The Value of the CRT: The moment the ‘light beam’ started, a timer would begin and it would run until the ‘path of the light beam’ was interrupted, thus shutting off the timer. The results would be printed out (displaying the goaltender’s exact reaction times and his/her accuracy in disrupting each particular light beam). Vic could detect the goaltender’s reflexes and his/her save performance. For example, a goaltender could be lightning fast … but … miss the puck completely if his/her save technique was not accurate resulting in a goal.

The CRT was an extremely useful and valuable teaching tool for goalie training for all ages … while resulting in zero injuries from light beams! For example, after several test examinations with goaltenders, Vic was able to examine the results/scores and developed a statistical ‘group mean’ for each save technique and used the collected data as a baseline measurement for each goaltender (e.g., age, level) to make comparisons. If a goaltender would beat the time for his/her age and/or skill level, a large green light would turn on, his/her exact reflex save time would be displayed on a custom-built score board and a loud ambulance-type siren would sound … however … if the goaltender was late, a red light would be turned on and an annoying horn would blast out loudly.

NHL Talent Discovered! Vic LeMire discovered Allan Bester using the CRT when he placed an advertisement in a Toronto, Ontario newspaper asking for aspiring goaltenders who wanted to test and measure their reflexes. Vic set the CRT up on the 4th floor of a large business tower in the downtown core. After receiving hundreds of requests, he was forced to hand out ‘tickets’ to control the crowd with appointment times. Allan Bester was scheduled to perform near the end of the day; he totally rewrote the reaction times as well as the accuracy levels for each save. Vic could see clearly that Allan Bester was NHL bound stemming from his outstanding performance. Over the years, Vic’s Computer Reflex Tunnel became a huge hit in his hockey schools.

(2) CUSTOM GOAL MASKS

Vic LeMire designed and manufactured Vic’s Custom Goalie Masks (approximately 1200 were produced). Constructed from the strongest and best fiberglass available at the time, each design was custom-made for each goaltender. Vic chose to stop manufacturing custom masks when ‘test stickers’ became required on all masks by minor hockey goaltenders; Vic chose to not put forth the $100,000’s that major companies were spending on manufacturing costs to meet the required safety guidelines. Although today’s goal masks look extremely unique, all the masks are made from a few molds and are not custom-made as they were during Vic’s manufacturing days!

(3) PUCK SHOOTING MACHINES

Vic LeMire designed and produced several ‘puck shooting machines’ and sold them worldwide. Vic’s puck machines, which were nicknamed ‘Smokey’, ‘Fire Bomber’, etc., produced flying sparks, amusingly, as the pucks flew out! His puck machines did not allow goaltenders to know where the pucks were going to be directed toward; reflexes were truly tested!

(4) GOALTENDER ARM/CHEST PROTECTORS

Whether it was a result of an entrepreneurial mind or simply a need to make a living, Vic found it necessary to ‘make’ his own supplies in order to afford the various products required in the hockey school business. Fortunately, as was the case with his Custom Fiberglass Goalie Mask development, the visions he had in customizing the Goaltender Arm/Chest Protector were more than simple pad adjustments and accessories. He could see a new design in the product as a whole and with the help of a good used industrial sewing machine … he began designing and ultimately producing a new type of Arm/Chest Protector.

INNOVATIVE DESIGN: Vic always disliked the wrap around strap holding the Arm/Chest Protector snug to the goaltender’s body. Therefore, he thought … “I should produce an Arm/Chest Protector which goaltenders wear like a good winter jacket.” Designed to ‘open and close’ at the front made Vic LeMire’s simple and innovative design easy to put on and take off!

With 3 different sizes in production, Vic developed an inventory in his basement and sold every item to goaltenders all over North America. With his male Doberman ‘Jenson’ as the product image of protection, Vic enjoyed making his Arm/Chest Protectors … however … he enjoyed teaching and coaching much more … therefore … he decided to discontinue the production line once all his supplies were used up … fond memories of his production line remain in this thoughts!

Vic LeMire: The Career Coach

Vic LeMire, who received an education in Mechanical Engineering while on full-hockey scholarships, has coached numerous Professional, University, College, and Junior hockey goaltenders and players throughout his illustrious career. A few professional players he has coached include: Olaf Kolzig, goaltender 14 NHL seasons; Stu Barnes, 19 NHL seasons; Allan Bester, 11 NHL seasons; Mark Fitzpatrick, 10 NHL seasons; Jayson More, 10 NHL seasons; Ian Clark, 11 NHL seasons (NHL Goaltender Consultant). A few of the hockey teams Vic has been professionally hired to coach with over the years include:

Coaching Career (Minor Hockey)

  • Coral Springs Florida Squirts Hockey Team
  • Team Florida Peewee ‘AAA’ Hockey Team – 1999/2000 Quebec International Peewee Tournament (2nd Place)
  • Palm Beach Panthers Peewee ‘AAA’ Hockey Team
  • Palm Beach Panthers Bantam ‘AAA’ Hockey Team
  • McPherson Winter Club Bantam ‘AAA’ Hockey Team – KIBIT Tournament Champions: Beat Detroit Little Caesars
  • New Westminster Bantam ‘AAA’ Hockey Team
  • Point Grey Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey Team
  • Killarney Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey Team
  • Burnaby Winter Club Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey Team

Coaching Career (Major Junior Hockey – WHL)

  • New Westminster Bruins – Head Coach: Ernie ‘Punch’ McLean

Coaching Career (Junior ‘A’ Hockey – BCJHL)

  • New Westminster Royals: Centennial Cup Finalists – National Championship
  • Surrey Eagles
  • Langley Thunder

Coaching Career (Pacific Coast Junior ‘B’ Hockey League – PCJHL)

  • Vancouver Junior Canucks
  • Abbotsford Flyers

In addition to this astounding list of teams Vic has been involved with over the years, the following credentials can also be added to his name:

  • Hockey Coaching Level 3 CAHA/USA Coaches Certification Program
  • Goaltender Coach/Instructor: Canadian Junior Olympic Program
  • Director/Manager: Global Sports Scouting Services (1996 – 2004)

Coaching Career (Bradford’s Goal Academy)

In the summer of 2010, Vic LeMire returned to the teaching environment playing an instrumental role in the success of Bradford’s Goal Academy. Vic, who has become ‘Special Business & Goaltender Consultant’ to BGA, has thrived in his role. Through his rigorous video classes, continuous email conversations to BGA’s aspiring goaltenders, and his true understanding of the goaltending position, Coach Vic LeMire has helped implement BGA’s Mission in an efficacious manner.

… IN THE WORDS OF BRENT BRADFORD

Coach LeMire has become a key individual in the BGA Community! His background is truly remarkable… that is undeniable! Since the first time I met him in 1982, when I was an aspiring goaltender, I have observed the ‘hockey world’ benefit from him in several ways, including:

  • goaltenders reaching elite-levels of hockey!
  • coaches winning more hockey games!
  • family members obtaining a deeper level of goaltending and hockey knowledge!

… THE BOTTOM LINE!

Vic LeMire …

  • Best-Selling Author
  • Career Goaltender Coach
  • Elite-Level Athlete
  • Entrepreneur
  • Inventor
  • Innovator

VIC LeMIRE HAS PUT HIS STAMP ON THE ‘GAME OF HOCKEY’ IN SEVERAL WAYS … 

IT IS UNDENIABLE THAT HE IS A TRUE PIONEER IN THE ‘GAME OF HOCKEY’!

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