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Pavel Barber Interview: From the GTHL to Team Canada Field Hockey to Stickhandling Coach and Guru

HPC co-founder Brandon Rubeo sat down with the man, the myth, the stickhandling legend Pavel Barber to talk all about his hockey journey from competitive youth player, to Team Canada field hockey, to coaching NHL All-Stars and youth players around the world, and a lot more…

Whether you love his amazing drills, dangles, highlights, coaching tips, or hilarious hockey humor, you don’t want to miss this Pavel Barber interview!

Listen and subscribe on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayYoutube, Stitcher, and Soundcloud.

Pavel Barber grew up in the hockey mecca (Toronto, Ontario) competing in the most infamous youth league in the world, the GTHL (Greater Toronto Hockey League) on the North York Knights.

Growing up he played a number of other sports, including baseball, tennis, and ball hockey, which he recommends to all young players to increase athleticism and prevent injury.

At the age of 18, Barber made the difficult decision to pursue a position on Team Canada’s field hockey team and move to Vancouver, British Columbia.

It was during his time in British Columbia, while on Team Canada, where he found his true passion for coaching while helping a longtime friend work on his stickhandling.

Recognizing the number of power skating and shooting coaches that existed but lack of stickhandling coaches, he identified a real need in the game.

Especially as the NHL’s best puck handlers, like Patrick Kane, were commanding the play, racking up points, and winning Stanley Cups!

Listen to the interview to hear his top 5 sets of hands in the NHL today (starts at 12:29)!

Since establishing himself as one of the preeminent stickhandling coaches in the world, Barber has worked with young players across the globe and even with NHL players, like Jonathan Toews and Jake Virtanen.

And Barber shares how he approaches sessions with professional players, which are often more targeted, versus his younger players, where he aims to establish a foundation of well rounded skill to build on.

And of course, we needed him to share some of his favorite tips to develop a silky set of hands like him and the common mistakes we want to avoid in the process.

He also shares what it was like working with EA Sports on NHL ’21 where he wore a suit of sensors while performing some of his dirtiest dangles to be used in the game, like the Svechnikov, among many others.

And an HPC interview wouldn’t be complete without some rapid fire questions to end the discussion, like:

  • Pavel Barber’s stick specs: curve, flex, kickpoint, type of butt end, and tape job
  • Favorite sport to watch besides hockey
  • Favorite book he’s read recently
  • Favorite two-piece hockey stick combination of all time
  • Favorite guilty pleasure food

And to wrap up the episode:

Pavel Barber’s top 3 NHL players (from the past or present) to have dinner with.

Like I said before, you don’t want to miss this Pavel Barber interview!

Listen and subscribe on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayYoutube, Stitcher, and Soundcloud.

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