The Dallas Stars have introduced plenty of North Texas youngsters to hockey during the past quarter century, but perhaps none more passionate than Justin Goldman.
Goldman didn’t even know how to skate — let alone know the intricacies of the sport — when he went with a friend to the team’s first practice after the Minnesota North Stars relocated to Dallas in 1993.
“At almost every practice, the first few guys out are the goalies,” Goldman said. “As soon as I saw those guys, I thought that would be fun.”
These days, the former Preston Hollow resident operates The Goalie Guild, a Colorado-based organization that serves as a worldwide resource for players and coaches of perhaps the most important position on the ice. He’s authored four books — including two with former Stars assistant coach Mike Valley — and is routinely consulted as an expert at levels ranging from youth hockey to the NHL.
But he traces that enthusiasm to those childhood years in Preston Hollow, when Goldman signed up for lessons at a local Stars-branded rink and spent hours playing street hockey in a church parking lot on Preston Road.
His sophomore year at Jesuit coincided with the introduction of the Dallas area’s first high school hockey league. The Rangers became one of the first teams, and Goldman was named MVP during his senior year.
“It just kind of went from there. I was able to merge my passion for the position with my education,” Goldman said. “It wasn’t necessarily my talent on the ice that really opened these doors. It was my passion for learning.”
A couple of years later, Goldman was playing club hockey and earning his journalism degree at Colorado State University when a minor-league team, the Colorado Eagles, began playing nearby.
“I was ecstatic about that,” he said. “I marched into my college newspaper and said I was going to cover them. It just kind of went from there.”
His profile subsequently was raised in a variety of jobs as a broadcaster, writer for NHL.com, talent evaluator, mentor to goalies and coaches, consultant for USA Hockey, and more. Along the way, he accumulated hundreds of scouting reports that became the basis for The Goalie Guild.
“Nobody was really focusing exclusively on goalies. I wasn’t facing a lot of competition. It was easy for me to gain a large following,” Goldman said. “It’s one of the most complex and most difficult positions in sports. Most teams are only as good as their goaltending.
Goldman, 36, has since transformed the website into a nonprofit venture, focusing on scholarships for aspiring goalies, especially in underserved hockey markets.
“It’s been a crazy ride. I’ve been very fortunate. My career has taken all these cool twists and turns,” he said. “I’ve been able to live out my dream as a goalie nut.”