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Flames announce creation of new goaltending department

Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) plays the puck in front of his net during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

CALGARY (SPORTSNET) — The Calgary Flames are hiring former NHLer Jason Labarbera as part of a newly formed goaltending department, the club announced Wednesday.

Jordan Sigalet, who’s served as the Flames’ goaltending coach for the past six seasons, will head up the new department, with Labarbera joining the team after the completion of the 2021 World Junior Championship, where he’s serving as Team Canada’s goalie coach.

Labarbera spent 11 years in the NHL, suiting up for 187 games split between the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and the (then) Phoenix Coyotes.

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In the new department, Sigalet will serve as director of goaltending, Labarbera as goaltending coach, and Thomas Speer will serve as the development goaltending coach for the club’s AHL affiliate in Stockton.

“The goal and mission of this change is to provide us with the best process to identify, draft, develop, procure and coach goalies for the Calgary Flames,” Flames GM Brad Treliving said via a release.

“We believe this structure and process will provide us with the best and deepest goaltending expertise throughout all parts of the organization.”

The move comes after the Florida Panthers recently underwent a similar restructuring, forming a Goaltending Excellence Department earlier this month, to be overseen by longtime NHLer Roberto Luongo and veteran netminding coach Francois Allaire.