Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to a special TXHT interview as we chat with goaltender Cassandra Goyette who played for the Connecticut Whale during the 2019-20 NWHL Season.
TXHT – As a result of COVID-19 how has this affected your offseason training?
Cassandra Goyette – The biggest impact from Covid-19 has to be that I’m unable to train on the Ice, normally I would be skating at least once a week with my goalie coach at Stop It Goaltending, and that the gyms are closed but I am fortunate enough to have a small home gym I can use everyday and if the New England weather is cooperative I usually go for bike rides. It has definitely been an adjustment but I’m making it work and trying to be creative with some of my workouts.
TXHT – Can you tell us a little about your experience at Nichols College?
CG – Commiting to Nichols College was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I actually chose to attend another school and revoked that commitment the same day to attend Nichols. It’s a very small Division three school in Dudley, Massachusetts and the four years I spent there were amazing. From the Professors, Coaches, Teammates and Friends I met, through the rocky first two seasons of hockey, I wouldn’t change a thing. I couldn’t be prouder to have been part of the Bison family, once a Bison, always a Bison.
TXHT – You played four years of college hockey, and your numbers improved each season, any advice or experience you recollect that you received?
CG – My goal every year was/is to come back better than I was the previous year, just to get better in whatever aspect I can. Whether it be on the ice or off the ice, after my freshman year one of my coaches used the term “Lazy” to describe me and that really lit a fire under my ass and as a result I worked harder and improved significantly. My first two years at Nichols playing hockey we would get outshot and out scored practically every game and that experience really helped develop my physical game and mental game. Not every experience is going to be good but you can control how you react and grow from them.
TXHT – What made you want to be a goalie?
CG – After playing a year of Forward, I really wanted to try the position because it was different and looked fun. I also really liked how you could individualize the position with different equipment like custom helmets or sets of pads, it was always just interesting to me. And when I would play NHL on our Xbox I would always make goalies, which is how I chose my number (43) to wear in highschool because it looked cool on the in-game jerseys.
TXHT – Who is your favorite hockey team?
CG – The New York Rangers! Henrik Lundqvist is my favorite goalie and when I first started playing the position I didn’t watch a lot of hockey but when I became a goalie I started watching him play and I really enjoyed how he played the position and slowly became a fan of the whole team.
TXHT – Any player influences that made you say “I want to be a pro hockey player”?
CG – Honestly I never really imagined being able to play professional hockey especially since I started playing goalie in highschool, I think the NWHL was founded in my freshman year of college. So in the back of my head I kind of had this hope of maybe playing past college because I fell in love with the sport so late, but I always felt like I was behind everyone I was playing with or against. But my Senior year at Nichols the program hired a goalie coach by the name of Sam Walther (You guys might know her), the two previous “goalie coaches” we had were kind of non-existent. The only thing I knew about her was she plays Professional hockey which was extremely intimidating for me, in fact the first practice we had as a team all of the goalies were working down one end with her, Kaleigh Fratkin and our other assistant coach Nicole Renault (Whose a coach at LIU now) and the drill involved butterfly sliding and I could not get it right at all because I had been taught to use the “Lateral Release” instead. It was frustrating for both of us, so in my head this was an awful first impression and a terrible way to start off the year. (I also may or may not have, accidentally taken her out during a Basketball game fundraiser a week or so later). But as the year went on working with her as my goalie coach she really inspired me, became someone I looked up to and gave me confidence enough in my own game to pursue a career past college.
Another person who really helped me/influenced me was my goalie coach at Stop it Goaltending, Clay Adams. I had been working with Clay for two-ish years on and off when I was home from school, he really helped me develop my game and look at it from different perspectives. Sam and I actually skated with him once a week during this past season. Clay was actually the first person I reached out to when I was considering playing after college, and I can’t thank him enough for his support and continued coaching of me.
TXHT – How did you get the call to play for the Whale? You were, I believe, the first goalie the Whale signed that off-season.
CG – So I actually didn’t know that the Whale were interested/reached out to me. My instagram is “Private”, so people have to request to follow me and message me. I also do not get notifications from instagram if people message me, like my photos or tag me in pictures or stories (They’re enabled they just don’t work). So 4 days after Bray Ketchum Dm’d me I finally saw I had a message request and answered her, which led to a phone call, which led to me agreeing to sign with the Whale for the season. I think I only told four people that I had signed, and I was on vacation up in New Hampshire with my family when the league announced it, so I had almost zero cell phone service. I woke up to a facetime from one of my former Nichols Teammates congratulating me, but I remember feeling so bad because I wasn’t getting everyone’s messages immediately and spent most of that night trying to make sure I didn’t forget to say Thank you to everyone.
TXHT – You had the good fortune to have veteran NWHL goalie Laura Brennan as a coach, what advice did she give you?
CG – Working with Laura was fun and helpful, she would give all three of us insights or little tweaks we could try to incorporate into our style of play. We had a great group of goalies, all three of us got along, had fun together on the ice, and we were all very supportive of each other.
TXHT – Did you receive any advice from ex-NHLer and Head Coach Colton Orr?
CG – Mainly just to keep working hard and coming to play every practice/game. Oh and to try not to drop the gloves with him during a practice. I wish we had worked with Colton for the first part of the season but I think he did a good job coaching us when he joined the team. The way our team started the season and the way we ended the season was a complete 180 and something I was proud to be a part of.
TXHT – You made both of your relief appearances on the road, once in Buffalo, once in Minnesota. Which NWHL city was your favorite to travel to?
CG – Actually Buffalo was my first NWHL start that didn’t go quite as expected but it was really exciting and nerve-racking, but it was also an experience I’ve learned and grown from. Minnesota was probably my favorite city to travel to because that was my second time flying on an airplane and the farthest from home i’ve ever been. Plus Tria rink is pretty nice.
TXHT – You have a very unique Twitter handle, @TFriendlyGoalie, how did that come about? You made it all the way to the semis of Dan Rice’s NWHL Twitter handle tourney, later won by teammate Haley Payne!
CG – I actually didn’t even know about this Twitter handle tournament, until I got a random text from Sam Walther saying she voted for me, and I had no idea what she was talking about. My Twitter handle is a shortened version of my instagram handle which is “Casper_The_Friendly_ Goalie”, which I came up with because A) I’m a goalie B) My Gear was all White C) I’m Friendly D) I’m pretty pale, like a ghost and E) I like Word Play; Thus Casper the Friendly Goalie instead of Ghost was born! But that was too long for twitter so I had to lose the word “The” and use just “T” instead while making my name “Casper” on twitter.
TXHT – A question I always ask people, what’s your favorite movie?
CG – My favorite movie is Tarzan, but The Lord of the Rings is my favorite Movie trilogy.
TXHT – What does the future hold for Cassandra Goyette?
CG – Well right now with the Covid-19 situation, mostly video games and working out from home, but hopefully continuing my hockey career in the NWHL.
*Feature Graphic courtesy of Nichols College
*All Questions by Christopher “Shaggy” Vasilas
TXHT will continue to provide NWHL coverage as more signings and news are announced.