Riley Sveistrup has been named the goalie coach for the U18 Female Team Manitoba Program of Excellence.
The Portage product has been coaching netminders for the U18 AAA Female Central Plains Capitals for the last four years, and his work hasn't gone unnoticed. Sveistrup says this isn't his first time working with Hockey Manitoba.
"Last year, I got the opportunity to join their U16 Female Program of Excellence and get my feet wet with that," Sveistrup explains. "There were tryout evaluations, and we had three camps throughout the summer. This year, I got the opportunity to move up to the next level, took a swing at it, and so far, things are going pretty well."
He is one of just two coaches from the Manitoba Female U18 AAA Hockey League involved with the U18 Program of Excellence. Sveistrup says this has been a great way for him to learn how to coach different goalies, as he's still fairly new to a behind-the-bench role.
"When I was playing (His final season of U18 AAA was in 2017-18), I did some work with a company in Winnipeg. Right out of high school, I went full-time. I got a great opportunity, as soon as I graduated, to join the U15 AAA boys with Brent Dyck when he was the head coach. He got me started with AAA hockey, and I've just been growing ever since."
In his time with the Female Capitals, Sveistrup has had the chance to coach some exceptional goaltenders. He believes that's helped him speed up the learning process.
"I've been pretty blessed. This coming year will be my fifth with the U18 girls. I started off with Megan Beswitherick (2022 ACHA Division 2 Champion), who was an absolute pleasure to coach. I then moved to Anika Moroz, who's heading down to the States to play next year. We're lucky enough to have Elyse Denbow for a couple more seasons. It's definitely helped me to have such elite-level goaltenders in the region."
While every goalie is different, Sveistrup says, at this age, there are a few tips that he can give to almost everyone.
"A big thing for me when coaching goalies is we do a lot of stance work," Sveistrup continues. "Any goalies who work with me know I love to preach about their stance. Even though it's such a basic concept, it's something that, even at the NHL level, goalies continuously work on. I was lucky enough to go to Hockey Canada and be a part of the Goaltender Level 3 Seminar, and even there, talking with national level goalies, stance is still a huge thing."
Sveistrup and the U18 Female Team Manitoba will look to bring a national championship to the prairies in November when they visit Dawson Creek, British Columbia for the National Women's Under-18 Championship.