Joe Palmer, a goalie for the Ohio State men’s hockey team from 2007-09, moved into player development and coaching after ending his playing career. His first year with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning organization, as the goaltending and video coach of the AHL Syracuse Crunch, was a memorable one, as the Lightning ended the year as the 2020 Stanley Cup Champion.
During the 2021 season, Palmer was part of a group of Syracuse staff members who were presented with replica trophies for their contributions during last year’s Stanley Cup run.
Palmer, who recently had his first child with his wife, Marissa, took a few minutes to talk about the 2020 season, his career path, his time at Ohio State and more.
The Utica, N.Y., native, has a busy postseason again, as the Lightning are in the Eastern Conference final, where they lead the Islanders, 2-1.
What are your job responsibilities, both with Syracuse and the Lightning organization?
Currently I am the goaltending and video coach for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, the main affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning. I am in charge of the daily on and off ice development of the goalies in Syracuse, as well as handling all of the video needs of the Crunch organization. I also work with our minor league goaltenders in the ECHL (Orlando Solar Bears) and am involved in development plans for our draft picks and prospects.
Were you in the bubble with Tampa? If not – where did you follow the Stanley Cup run from?
Unfortunately, myself and the rest of the Syracuse staff were not in the bubble for the Stanley Cup run. We were all in Syracuse at the time, watching and breaking down games from the other playoff series (both Eastern and Western Conference), preparing video for Tampa if/when they advanced in the playoffs. We would also have zoom meetings with their coaching staff regarding things like power play, penalty kill and anything else we might have seen while breaking down the game footage.
What is your role during this year’s postseason?
This year we are all working remotely. After our season finished, Tampa wanted us to return home and start our off-season. Because of the AHL restrictions this year, our assistant coaches were unable to travel outside the US to see their families. So once the season ended, they wanted everyone to be able to leave Syracuse.
What has been your career path since leaving Ohio State?
Since leaving Ohio State, I went on to play four years of minor pro hockey in the CHL and ECHL. Once my playing career was done, I came back to Ohio State and finished my degree, graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts & Sciences in the fall of 2013.
After that, I returned to Syracuse and started my own goalie coaching business, coaching goalies of all ages and skill levels in the greater central New York area. After two years of private coaching I joined the Cornell University men’s hockey program in 2015 as volunteer assistant and goaltending coach. At the start of the 2016-17 season I became director of hockey operations at Cornell and I stayed in that role for three full seasons. I joined the Tampa Bay Lightning organization in the Summer of 2019 and just completed my second year in Syracuse.
How has your time at Ohio State had an impact on you?
My time at Ohio State had a tremendous impact on me. The people I met, the teammates I had, and becoming a part of that Buckeye family is still something that continues to impact me each and every day. I met some of the greatest, most genuine people who were staff members, who helped me a lot in life and in sport. Some of my best friends to this day were teammates at Ohio State. The connections I have made in the hockey and business world have been because of the Ohio State family. Also, I met my wife (who went to Ohio State) while attending a former teammate’s wedding in Columbus!
Any favorite memories from your time at Ohio State?
My favorite hockey memory was beating the University of Michigan in Yost when they were ranked No. 2 in the country, as well as beating them back in Columbus in front of a sold out crowd at The Schott. Other than that, just spending time with my teammates – going to football tailgates, spring time in the Oval, Saturday night get-togethers after tough weekends competing together on the ice, all the different personalities you meet/can tell stories about; those are the memories that make you look back and laugh.
Anything else to add/include?
Whether you continue a career playing hockey, coaching hockey, in the business world – wherever life takes you – the people you meet, the relationships you build, at the rink or away from the rink, may seem very small at the time, but ultimately, they can have a huge impact on your life as soon as you step away from campus.