Home > Equipment, NHL, Technique > Being a Full-Right Goalie

Being a Full-Right Goalie

I am left handed and for the most part I do everything with my left hand, except for throwing a Frisbee (I have no idea why), playing guitar and using a computer mouse. When it came to goaltending catching with my right hand felt natural since that is the same way I play baseball. Little did I know at the time that lefty goalies or “Full-Right” goalies are a rare breed. When I first started out, finding a full-right blocker and catcher was difficult and sometimes more expensive. It seems like left handed baseball pitchers have an advantage over their right handed comrades and I believe at times full-right goalies have a slight advantage as well.

Mathieu Garon. Full-Right Goalie. Image Credit: USPressWire and wtsp.com

Mathieu Garon: Full-Right Goalie for Tampa Bay

There have been so many times a player has come up to me at the end of a game or a full season or even years later and tell me that they never realized I play full-right. I mentioned the difference between Strong Side vs Weak Side before and when it comes to full-right goalies our weak side is opposite. Due to the flip shooters still try to aim what they believe to be the weak side (blocker side) and instead shoot right into a southpaw goalie’s catcher (strong side).

For some reason shooters do not pick up on the fact we hold our stick in our left hand. It could be that the majority of goalies catch with their left hand (also known as regular goalies) and this is what shooters are used to seeing from their first time watching a game to getting on the ice and playing. Whatever the reason, in the middle of a game they do not pay attention to the handedness of the goalie and in the case of a full-right goalie, shoot to the wrong side.

Shooters also like to snipe glove side on a goalie and I tend to see more shots to my blocker side because of this. I cannot count how many times I have made a save off the thin handle of my goalie stick. Sometimes with saves like that it finally registers with the shooters that I am full-right. Other times they are bewildered.

If you play at a high level shooters are able to snipe the puck wherever they want regardless of the orientation of the goaltender. I play at a beer league level and at times being full-right has come in handy. As I said at the beginning of this post, there are times when there is a slight advantage. Otherwise it is the same no matter which hand you wear your catcher on, except that full-right goalies look cooler (I am not biased or anything :)).

Even though us full-right goalies are a rare breed, there is a decent amount of current southpaw NHL goaltenders. Here is the list:

  • Anaheim Ducks – Jonas Hiller
  • Columbus Blue Jackets – Steve Mason
  • Florida Panthers – Jose Theodore
  • Minnesota Wild – Josh Harding
  • New York Islanders – Rick DiPietro
  • Tampa Bay Lightning – Mathieu Garon
  • Washington Capitals – Tomas Vokoun
  1. June 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I have always shot from my right side – right hand low, left high. I am a natural righty – as a baseball player I catch left and throw right. I am switching to goalie, with the glove hand being left, I would have to shoot from the left side of my body, which doesn’t feel correct. Should I then catch right and hold stick left?

    • jkassay
      June 11, 2012 at 9:29 am

      To start, I catch with my right, but when I play up or defense I shoot left. There are a few ways you can shoot the puck when playing goalie. (with the glove on your left hand) One way is to try to shoot the puck from your left side with your right hand (blocker) high and your left hand (glove) low. You would use your glove to push your stick and your blocker hand to help flick the puck (this is the traditional way). Another way you can play the puck is to flip your stick around so that the net of your glove is placed on the butt-end of the stick and you have your blocker hand low, shooting from the right side. I’m not a fan of this approach because it takes too much time to flip your stick around and unless you get your blade reversed, the curve of the blade will be wrong when you go to play the puck. Finally, use what is called the Turco Grip (http://ingoalmag.com/features/how-marty-turco-changed-the-game-for-goaltenders/). At first the Turco Grip feels really awkward, but after trying it out a few times it feels normal. Personally, I use the Turco Grip when I am in net. I have much better control of the puck and I am able to get decent height and distance on it as well. Thanks for asking the question and I hope this information helps.

      • CB
        June 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm

        Outstanding. Thanks a million!

  2. Jake
    January 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    As a right-handed full right goalie (I’m a die-hard Islanders fan and wanted to be like DiPietro)

    • January 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      As a right-handed full right goalie (I’m a die-hard Islanders fan and wanted to be like DiPietro), I checked out the handedness of the eight current full right goalies (Cristopher Nilstorp just joined the league). Of those, Harding and Hiller are actually right-handed (Hiller, of course, is from Switzerland, where they teach people to write right-handed) and I have no clue about Nilstorp.

      • jkassay
        February 20, 2013 at 8:21 pm

        Good research, thanks. Even though I am also a diehard islanders fan, I am not a fan of DiPietro.

  3. Jake
    April 22, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Noticed that Jimmy Howard, a regular goalie, is a lefty. Wonder if there are any more like him.

    • Jake
      September 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      Tuukka Rask, too.

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