When Mike Buckley talks, people listen, and they listen closely.
Well, at least if they’re goalies, they do, because it’s certain that Buckley has something to say that could benefit them.
The 35-year-old Buckley operates Goaltending Development Services (GDS), is goaltending director for Pro Ambitions Hockey and is the goalie coach at the University of New Hampshire, and those are just his most current positions involving netminding on the ice.
To say that Buckley, who lives in Bradford, has been “around the block,” or ice, pertaining to goalies would be an understatement. He’s been involved with them on every level as both a player and a coach.
Buckley came up through Haverhill Youth Hockey, was a two-year starting goalie for Haverhill High, went on to play goalie at UMass Amherst and then played five years of pro hockey in the ECHL, CHL and IHL before turning his attention to coaching.
As a goalie coach, in addition to his current duties, Buckley coached goalies for Dynamo Minsk in the Russian professional league, he was the goalie consultant for the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets for three years and he coached goalies for five years at UMass Amherst before switching to UNH.
These days, when not heading up to UNH two to four days a week, he usually splits his time giving private lessons through GDS at either the Micro Ice in North Andover or the Ice Den in Hooksett, N.H.
The GDS has grown into quite the business. Buckley employs four full time assistants, including two other former Hillies in Jeff Woods and Dan Lupi, and two years ago he opened a satellite operation in Hackensack, N.J.
Buckley never imagined that his goalie business would grow to its current level but he knew it was one that he wanted to operate in a certain way.