Dave spent most of his Minor Hockey playing at the AA level in the French town of Longueuil, Quebec, located on the south shore of Montreal. At age 16 he was called to play Midget AAA in the small town of Amos 8 hours north of Montreal where he received the best student award from Midget AAA Quebec Provincial League and was chosen to play in the All-Star game alongside Roberto Luongo.
After a great season in Amos he was drafted by the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. Knowing that Jean-Sebastien Giguere was already established as the starter for the Halifax franchise and that he would keep dominating the league for many years to come Dave decided to aim for the NCAA instead of Major Junior and never reported for camp in order to maintain his college eligibility. Dave decided instead to play Jr. A and joined the Cornwall Colts of the CJHL (now called CCHL) as a starting goaltender. Dave earned All-Star team status in his first year (1996) and the Colts went on to win the league championship in a thrilling game 7 on home ice. Dave played two more years for the Colts and was named to the All-Star team as many times. In Cornwall, Dave had to be patient and work as hard off the ice as he did on the ice in order to improve his English and increase his chances to get recruited by an NCAA team.
All this hard work paid off in 1999 when he was finally recruited by Princeton University. As a 20-year-old freshman, the Tigers made him their starting goaltender in his first season. In 4 years at Princeton Dave played over 100 games and established many school records. He earned the Hobey Baker Freshman of the Year Award, the Media 3 Star Award three years in a row, was named team MVP and was an All-Ivy selection. On the academic side, Dave earned a Psychology degree and wrote his Senior Thesis on “The Impact of Anxiety on the Cognitive System and the Mental Processes Involved in Ice Hockey Goaltending”. Dave’s research, which was unprecedented in the Psychology Literature, made a huge impact on his approach to the goaltending position and allowed him to take his game to a higher level. His research and theories were supported by some of the top psychology professors in the world.
After graduating from Princeton in 2002, Dave received an invitation from Ron Hextall to try out for the Philadelphia Flyers. After a short stay with the Flyers that would have brought him to play in the East Coast League as 5th goalie in the organization, Dave decided to take his chances overseas in the Finnish Elite League (SM-Liiga). He signed his first professional contract with Helsinki HIFK and became their starting goaltender for the next three years competing against world-class goaltenders including Tuukka Rask, Antti Niemi, Tim Thomas, Pekka Rinne, Kari Lehtonen, and Niklas Backstrom. Even though Dave was one of the top goaltenders in the league, named team MVP and tied the all time record for most shutouts in a season, Dave’s career hit a hard bump in 2005 when Helsinki signed NHLer Thomas Vokoun to replace him during the 2004-2005 NHL lockout. After Helsinki, Dave went on to play a few more years of professional hockey including one in the Swedish Elite League with Skelleftea AIK. Playing professional hockey in Finland and Sweden allowed Dave to experience first hand revolutionary training methods and techniques that allow Scandinavian goalkeepers to dominate the NHL today.
In parallel with his playing career, Dave started coaching at a very early age. At age 14 he was already coaching younger minor hockey goalies in Longueuil, Amos and Cornwall. He always thought that breaking down and verbalizing his technique was helping him improve his own game and think of new ways to perfect it. While at Princeton, Dave worked every summer as the head instructor for Rick Heinz goalie schools where he coached, managed and planned over 40 weeks of goalie camps across the United States and Canada. While playing in Europe, he continued to coach in several goaltending clinics sharing his knowledge of goaltending and psychology but also learning a lot from other goalie coaches about the Finnish and Swedish goalie development programs. Every summer he would go back to his roots in Montreal and share his goaltending knowledge with Novice to College level goalkeepers through private lessons, goalie clinics and goalie schools working alongside other goalie coaches including NHL’s Roland Melanson (Montreal, Vancouver) and Frantz Jean (Tampa Bay).
When Dave retired from professional hockey in 2007 he had enough coaching experience working with kids that he was immediately hired as a High School Teacher. He taught special education programs for 4 years in Montreal and then moved to Ottawa with his family to teach French Immersion. He also worked as the Head Goaltending Consultant for Senators Sports & Entertainment for 3 years running Weekly Goalie Clinics and the Sens Summer Goalie Camp prior to opening his own facility.
Dave is now the Owner and Head Coach at the Dave Stathos Goalie Performance Center in Kanata which opened its doors in September 2015. He is also a French Immersion Teacher by day and The Princeton Alumni School Commitee Chair for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. At the Center, Dave is in charge of the development and execution of all goalie programs including in-season goalie clinics and Full Day Goalie Camps throughout the summer. He also offers off-ice physical and mental training, consultations and private lessons as well as training other goalie coaches across the Ottawa region. His passion for teaching and goaltending is endless and he brings a high level of energy and motivation to every single goalie and coach he encounters. As hockey gets more competitive every year on a global level, mental training and preparation have now become essential skills to develop in order to set any athlete apart from the rest of the competition. His broad goaltending and coaching experience combined with his deep understanding of psychological skills required to play the position make him one of the most unique goaltending resource in hockey today.