The Rhinos have tendered goaltender Erik Chaffe from Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the 2020-21 NAHL team. Learn more about him below.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa goaltender Erik Chaffe has been skating since he could walk. “My dad is from Toronto, so he grew up with it. It’s always been in our family.” He was on his first pair of skates by the time he was a year and a half old, and he was playing on an organized team when he was just three. It wasn’t until he was eight years old, however, that he became a goalie. “I started at forward because my dad was a forward. But I had no urge to score. I just played defense as a forward.” He and his dad then made the decision to switch Erik to defense, but during games, he would butterfly on the blue line do nothing with the puck but block it. Finally, his dad bought him goalie equipment and took practice shots on him, hoping to scare him out of becoming a goalie. Unfortunately—or maybe fortunately for the Rhinos—the plan didn’t work, and Erik has been a goalie ever since.
One of the most noticeable aspects of Chaffe’s goaltending game is poise. “I’m calm and composed under pressure. I don’t get too rattled if I let in a goal. I’m a good guy to lean on during tough games.” That is what caught Rhino Associate Head Coach Vinny Bohn’s eye. He had seen Chaffe play last season and was excited to secure him for the Rhinos’ NAHL 21-22 roster.
“Erik is a consistent calming presence every game he’s in net. He’s very technically sound. As a young goalie in the NAHL, you have to be even keeled and we believe that’s Erik’s biggest strength during a game. He’s never scrambling to make saves or demonstrating nervousness in big situations,” says Bohn.
Chaffe admits that he wasn’t always as poised as he is now. “When I was younger, I was a bit of a hot head. Over the years I’ve been able to control that. I don’t get as bothered. I just try to play with the body and keep my head out of the game. I like the pressure and everything that comes along with [being a goalie].”
After hearing the Rhinos described as a “great organization with a great coaching staff and a great facility,” Chaffe was intrigued. He was also excited to hear about the Rhinos’ fan support. “[The community] brings the team together. If you have a team engaged with the community and the community engaged with the team, it creates good chemistry with everybody… If you play badly, the community has your back.”
Currently, Chaffe is playing with the Colorado Thunderbirds 18U where he has earned a .931 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average in 12 games. “He’s coming from a great program with the Colorado Thunderbirds, who have a great history of player development,” Bohn explains. “Under their guidance this season, we are confident he’s going to be prepared for next season.”
Ten Things with Tender Erik Chaffe
1. If we visited your hometown, where would you take us? Target
“There’s not a whole lot in Cedar Rapids. Maybe Target?” When asked what he does and where he goes when he’s in Cedar Rapids, Erik said, “I play video games and work out on my own. There’s not much to do other than that.”
2. What’s one thing you’ve bought recently that you would recommend? The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson
Because of COVID quarantine, Chaffe has been reading more lately. He picked up a book in The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson and now he’s on book four. “I started to really enjoy it. I had no intention of liking it as much as I did.”
3. What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee? Brad Pitt
“I think he’d be a pretty cool guy to talk to. He seems like he’s got a pretty good personality.”
4. What motto do you live by? “Almost is never enough.”
He developed the motto over the years of playing as a goalie. “My dad would say, ‘You almost had that goal. You almost made that save.’ But if you almost make a save, it’s still a goal.”
5. What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of? Oceans Eleven or Miracle
“[Oceans Eleven] has a really cool twist. It’s cool how they develop the heist.”
On Miracle: “It’s a feel-good hockey movie. Every time you watch it, you can relate to how it feels to win a game like that. And with Herb Brooks making the guys skate, I’ve been through that.”
6. What’s your go to pre-game song? “Welcome to the Machine” by Pink Floyd
7. What’s the best / worst practical joke that you’ve played on someone or that was played on you? Fake scouts
Although he wasn’t involved, he admitted that the most memorable prank was when a few of his teammates called another player and pretended to be a scout from a notable university with a good hockey program. The player believed them, but the pranksters confessed right away.
8. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve broken? Hockey stick
“Probably a hockey stick that was around $200-$250.”
9. What’s your secret talent? Juggling
Juggling is a pretty common warm up for goalies. “I guess that’s not really anything special anymore,” he joked.
10. What’s the worst injury you’ve received while playing hockey? Pulled groin
“I’ve pulled my groin, and that’s the only injury I’ve ever had in my career. Knock on wood, of course.” Luckily, he was only out for a month.
According to NAHL.com, “A tender is a contract, of sorts, a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted ten (10) tenders – plus or minus any trades – which become active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft.”