Chris Dyson has been a professional Goal tending Coach since 1988, conducting goal tending schools in three countries and coaching students from another 15. He has been a goaltender since he was 13, when, in his first league game, on a grade school team, his teammates had to push him out to the net because he was barely able skate, yet he was determined to play the game he loved.
But his story begins long before that faithful day in October 1976 when he was pushed out to the net for his first ever game, without even a practice…
Chris’ path has been anything but ordinary and had he viewed the world from a ‘normal’ perspective, it certainly would have taken a different path. You see, he was born with a congenital heart defect and at the young age of 7, he literally died many times over.
In fact he is written up in the medical journals of the world famous Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, for having nearly 100 cardiac arrests in one afternoon. Then, after a 4 hour ambulance ride from the Northern Ontario town of North Bay, to Toronto, where he had a pacemaker permanently implanted to keep him alive.
The following 10 years brought several more ‘incidents’ where pacemakers were broken, recalled (yes, recalled), or quit, resulting in more cardiac arrests. Yet by some miracle he survived, unaffected, deifying all odds, and even more incredibly doing so without any brain damage.
Despite these daunting circumstances, Chris had a desire to play hockey. He wanted to be a goalie. The time in and out of hospitals had kept him from learning to skate as well as all the other kids, yet he persevered.
Any medical practitioner will tell you, ONE cardiac arrest can cause brain damage and several in one day is pretty likely to leave you with some permanent damage. Yet doctors said there were absolutely no ill effects, no damage. We all hear that goalies are a little ‘off’ and there could be an argument that maybe this is why he was set on being a goaltender, despite the odds against it.
For nearly 35 years, Chris kept his condition a secret from almost eveyone. He wanted no special treatment or label, he simply wanted to play hockey and live his life as a normal person.
Now, he is sharing his story with others with the hope of inspiring children and adults to persevere and pursue their dreams. Chris tells other aspiring athletes recovering from life threatening situations; “If the goal is big enough and the will is strong enough, we can accomplish anything we set our mind to do, don’t let the fear stop you”.Mr. Dyson has now played literally thousands of hours in the net, mostly in adult competitive and rec leagues beginning at age 14 while most of his buddies were playing minor hockey, which would come 2 years after starting to play in a men’s leagues. He quickly learned that players are unforgiving and he needed to figure out how to be better.
He would regularly attend ‘open ice sessions for adults’ often skipping school to gain experience and make up for time lost. These shinny games often included many current and aspiring pro players, which made for an interesting introduction to the game for a newbie goalie at just 14 years of age. He studied the goaltenders and learned their movement, watched players and figured our how goals were scored.
He went on to create Puckstoppers Goaltending Services, now one of the worlds longest running goalie schools and goalie rental services, in 1988. As a ‘Puckstopper’s rental goalie’ for more than 20 years, Chris would often play 6 to 10 times a week at all levels of adult rec hockey, once playing 7 hours in one day at 6 different rinks in 3 different towns.
His love of the game was never in question and all the while he was working within the game, studying, learning his craft and gaining an understanding of how to be a better goaltender and teacher He quickly understood that the learning would never stop, that he also needed to better himself and moved on to attain coaching certifications and accreditation.
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