The playing career of local goaltender Danny Battochio produced many a memorable moment.
Now his coaching career, albeit part-time in nature, has too.
The 33 year-old Walden born netminder parlayed a successful OHL career with the Ottawa 67’s to a university degree (St Francis Xavier University) and a lengthy pro hockey run (eight seasons) with the Rapid City Rush in South Dakota.
Married and raising his young family in that area, Battochio recently was called upon to attend the main training camp of the Arizona Coyotes, his former CHL/ECHL team now with an affiliation agreement with the NHL club.
“Their (assistant) manager, Steve Sullivan, had reached out to our head coach and club president, suggesting that it would be beneficial for our goalie coach to come to training camp,” said Battochio. “They said they would like whoever is down here working with them to get acquainted to the style of play they want, get acquainted with what they are teaching up there.”
Having worked locally with goaltenders for countless summers with coach Bruce McDougall and his staff at Netminders North, Battochio had garnered an appreciation for his craft from a different perspective.
"It's certainly different coaching a peewee level goalie than coaching at the AHL/NHL level goalie," said Battochio. “In goaltending, there’s so many different styles out there, it’s not as black and white as teaching players and understanding the game.”
“It’s understanding the different style that you have in front of you and working with that style and seeing where you can improve. It’s a lot of communication with the goaltender, really getting inside their minds, really understanding them.”
Sometimes, it's just having someone to talk to, to keep them mentally focused," Battochio added. "There's the emotional part of the game, and the physical part of the game."
Reknown for his ability to take his natural athleticism and make the most of it, the 5'10" product of the Sudbury Jr Wolves (NOJHL) understands perhaps better than most that need to match technique with skill.
"I was always a smaller, more compact goalie, so I really had to rely on my skating ability to get across the crease quickly, because I lacked a bit of size," he said. "At the end of the day, the fundamentals of goaltending tend to come back to some of the same things."
"How you read the play, how you react to it is important, because reading plays before they happen will help you to be in the right position to have the puck hit you."
After attending countless training camps as a player, Battochio took full advantage of a situation that was now far less stressful. “It was definitely a lot easier physically,” he said with a laugh. “Instead of having to play, I was able to kick back and enjoy the coaching aspect of it.”
“There was a lot that I took in from that camp. It was pretty neat.”