(This article was originally published on Feb. 17, 2021)
Angus Redmond set a high standard with his success after leaving Salmon Arm, with a high level of expectation for Silverbacks netminders to follow. Redmond’s career thus far has taken him all across North America, juggling between the American Hockey League and ECHL in pursuit of his National Hockey League dreams.
Redmond recently came off a tryout contract with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. It didn’t pan out and he inked a deal with the Kansas City Mavericks of the ECHL.
Redmond appeared in two games for the Mavericks since signing with them on Valentine’s Day. The movement doesn’t stop for this guy as he has since signed with Toronto Marlies in the AHL, which is fitting because of his success north of the border with the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers last season.
“The Newfoundland Growlers are Toronto (Maple Leafs) affiliates, so they have a lot of contracted guys with the AHL and NHL (teams). They’re a highly skilled team, which made it good to practice with those guys every day,” explained the Langley native.
Redmond’s success in the ECHL proved he can play at the pro level, but the AHL is a different tier to what he is used to.
“The American League is a step up, plays are happening faster with shorter decision-making time, so my reads on the puck and play have gotten quicker, but after a few games, I felt pretty comfortable. The years in Newfoundland definitely helped me progress here.”
The starting job
Finding a starting position may be the most challenging part of being a netminder, with just two spots per team it can be difficult to crack a roster. Every game counts, and what you achieve with your time in the crease depicts your role within the squad.
Cracking the roster is the first obstacle but the real challenge lies ahead of that. Fighting for the starting position is an age-old battle between a goalie and his crease counterpart.
As a goalie, you want to play games, get shots, and feel comfortable in the 4-by-6. It appears Redmond has a good chance fighting for the starting spot in Kansas City, coming off two wins in his first two outings in his new colours.
“It’s been 10 months since I last played, and it was good to have a few games under the belt, but (I) definitely felt rusty. (I’m) just focusing on staying ready and prepared to go whenever I get the call,” the Michigan Tech University alum noted.
Consistent games are definitely key to a goaltender’s success. They tend to feel more comfortable in net playing games in succession. It helps them analyze their game, and see what they need to improve to adjust to the level.
A silver lining to globetrotting across North American
Jumping from the ECHL to the AHL isn’t easy and requires constant work. Goalies usually take time to land a job as a starter, and it can be stressful bouncing around and not playing consistently.
“I’ve bounced around a lot, it can be tough at times not knowing where I’ll be off to next. But it lets me meet so many great teammates and the different cities I get to see. Just getting to meet different people, (like) knowing a guy who played with a buddy or former teammate. The hockey world is kind of small so it’s cool making connections.”
Prop's to @kc_mavericks keeper @Angus_Redmond…. he stood tall in the net this weekend, keeping the Mav's in the fight & helping take boys take the series over @AllenAmericans ,well done Angus!@AlthausEJC @MavsInsiderAdam @kcechl @KCMavsFanClub @ECHL @ECHLWeek @MavsInsiderJoe pic.twitter.com/esmRUgkoSn
— David Rainey (@PhotoRainey) February 16, 2021
Even at the highest levels of play, the training never stops. When you’re playing at the professional level, the smallest details can be the difference between a shot ending up in the back of the net. The hockey in the AHL is much faster and fine-tuned than any lower level these goalies have seen before.
“Players at this level can definitely start picking corners, so it’s just about focusing on the details.”
The training starts long before reaching the professional leagues, it goes all the way back to when Redmond first strapped on the pads as a kid.
“Back in those days, it was different. Kids now just pick goalie right away, but back in the early years, it was switching between player and goalie. Every time I strapped on the pads I was fairly decent at it, I would do good in games, and it kind of made its way to me.”
It seems like minding the net chose Redmond, as it does for most goalies. It is a selfless position but also such a key role for a team’s success. These goalies go from feeling like a robot in their massive gear to becoming a well-oiled machine.
Inspired by two of the best
Redmond grew up watching great NHL goalies making beautiful and consistent saves every night and that definitely inspired him to refine his game to the same level.
“(I was) a big Henrik Lundqvist fan, and growing up in Langley, watching Roberto Luongo (with the Canucks). Those guys are definitely my top two.”
With the passion for the game and drive to get better, Redmond studied these two greats growing up, learning their game style and how to read plays. He eventually replicated their style into his own and trained hard to reach for what his idols did before him.
Redmond can be an idol for future Silverbacks goalies as his game can be credited to his time in Salmon Arm. After starting the 2012-13 season with the junior B Port Moody Panthers, he joined the Silverbacks midway through that year.
He wound up playing three and a half seasons in the Shuswap, holding down the head job for three of them. It gave the man called “Beef” a taste of what it takes to be the number one goalie.
“My time there was awesome, I always had a great team and group of guys every year. The staff was awesome, the rink and the environment were great, (and) on top I had an awesome billet. (I have) nothing negative to say about my time (in Salmon Arm), I loved it.”