Calgary resident Jonny Webb will join the Grande Prairie Storm coaching staff as the goaltending coach for this upcoming Alberta Junior Hockey League season. The Storm begin training camp in mid-August.
The first exhibition game is Aug. 23, when the Storm are in Vernon, B.C., to play the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League.
“Wow, I have a week left of summer and that’s it,” Webb said. “(Summer goes) really quick. Camps starting heating up and tryouts.(get going). I’m really excited for it.”
Webb worked the past three seasons with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons and midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. Last season, Webb advised the SAIT Trojans hockey club of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. Webb is also a goaltending coach with Top Prospects Goaltending in Calgary.
“I’m really excited to join the Storm and to make the jump from midget AAA to Jr. A,” Webb said. “I’ve worked with a bunch of guys who have played at that level but it’s exciting to get involved with a team and get that part of my career going.”
For Webb, the hiring process was as quick as a blast from the point, taking about two weeks start to finish.
“I worked at a Hockey Alberta camp about a month ago and I found out about two weeks after that (the Storm was) looking for somebody,” Webb said. “I put my resume out there and things moved forward from there.” Webb noted he was hired on July 16.
”Webb’s name was one of the first that came to me through multiple sources, whether it was Hockey Alberta or other older guys I know involved in goaltending and coaching,” Storm General Manager Mark Bomersback said. “He was highly recommended. He’s a younger guys and has been at it for five or six years and he’s done a good job with the Calgary Buffaloes hockey association. He’s our guy.”
During the season, Webb will come up to Grande Prairie once or twice a month and stay for three or four days, to help with expectant starters Kaeden Lane and Lars Kaliel. Webb will also scout for the club and join up when the Storm venture to Edmonton or Calgary on road trips.
Webb is already ahead of the game, having discussed his lack of face-to-face with the goalie tandem that will happen on a regular basis.
“We’ve talked on the phone, about some expectations when I’m not there,” Webb said. “I’ll have an assistant coach working with them with some drills I send up. Or, a player or two they trust that can help run them through the drills, along with a list of key habits to focus on so they’re not too overloaded (and that they’re) keeping track of what they’re working on and not going through the motions.”
Last season, Lane saw 44 games worth of action, collecting 22 wins while posting a 3.32 goals against average. Kaliel got into 22 games, adding eight wins, with a goals against of 3.95.
”I see a lot of battle and a lot of athleticism,” Webb said. “They (both) do a really good job of reading plays. I’ve seen a couple of games on YouTube and they battle in the crease and they’re very athletic, which is awesome. They do like to play a fairly aggressive game. I like a guy in the net that wants to be aggressive and go after plays as opposed to sitting back and waiting for stuff to happen.”
Changing very little
Webb has some specific plans to start off, along with his methodology with respects to the goaltenders.
“The big thing I want to try and do early on is get them some confidence going into the season,” Webb said. “I’ve spoken with both goalies and they’ve done a real good job training in the off-season, both on ice and off ice. I think they’ll be ready to go. I’m not coming in to change styles. At that level you’re not changing too much on a goalie. You’re just working on things, fine (tuning) things, to make those little improvements to help take their game to the next level.”