How to Make a Butterfly Save in Ice Hockey

The "butterfly" is a goalie position made popular by Patrick Roy in the late 80s. It is now one of the most common techniques in ice hockey, but requires great skill. The technique one of many different positions a goalie can use, and is generally considered best for defending against low or medium height shots, low screen shots, possible deflections, and dekes. The position also covers both low corners at the same time. Great flexibility and training are required to master the butterfly technique, as the knee bend required is not a natural position for the leg, and therefore serious injury can occur when learning.

Steps

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    Warm-up and stretch. Pay particular attention to your hip-flexors and knees.
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    Choose to strap your pads is completely your preference. Most butterfly goalies prefer to strap their pads a bit tighter at the bottom(not too tight or the pad will not roll) and looser as they get to the top. This is done to enable the pads to roll and easily make that "wall" of padding. Also having your toe strap too tight will not just make it harder for the pad to roll, you can seriously harm the muscle. It is important to make sure your toe strap is loose enough that your ankle can move around comfortably, but not so much that your pad is able to rotate on your leg.
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    Understand that the name of this technique is derived from the shape of your legs which must stretch out sideways, not behind you.
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    Know that the goal of this position is to create a "wall" of padding with no holes to allow low or low-angle shots.
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    Always maintain an upright body position with your weight forward.
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    Spread your feet slightly wider than the basic stance.
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    Press the tops of your pads together, while pushing your feet out. This may be easier with pads with toe straps.
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    Lower your body so your knees are on the ice behind the stick.
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    The tops of your pads should meet in the middle.
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    Flatten your ankles to the ice.
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    Extend your toes out to the sideboards.
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    Note that the face of your leg pads should be vertical to the ice.
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    Position your trapper at waist height.
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    Position the blocker at the same height on the other side.
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    Ensure the blade of your stick remains flat on the ice, but keep your stick covering your 5-hole.

Tips

  • Keeping your chest up, and leaning forward will help you keep your knees on the ice for coverage, and cover the top portions of the net.
  • Make sure your pads touch.
  • Practice both going down and getting up out of the butterfly quickly.
  • Don't slouch, keep your chest straight.
  • When going into a butterfly, don't drop your gloves unless the shot is from in close. Your arms shouldn't move when dropping into a butterfly.
  • Everyone's butterfly is slightly different, but generally wider butterflies mean more coverage down low.
  • Always get a good stretch before going on the ice in order to weaken the chance of an injury occurring.
  • Don't over-commit.
  • Don't drop your hands, quit.
  • Mental strength is always the most important part of goal-tending.

Warnings

  • For maximum effectiveness, and safety, stretch well before games and practices. Focus on your knees, thighs, calves and lower back.
  • Recently it has been shown that the stress of the position can be dangerous to the cartilage in one's hip. 20% of people have abnormal femurs that will increase cartilage tearing.

Things You'll Need

  • Ideally, full goal-tending gear and an ice surface, but you can practice this at home just with leg pads, glove, blocker, chest protector, mask, cup, neck guard, a stick, a goal, a ball or puck, a person shooting at you, a coach and a really smooth surface.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Ice Hockey