At times he is a mere spectator. Then, suddenly, the attack approaches and in a split second the man idling in front of the nets must respond. By affixing a camera inside the goal itself, Photographer John Zimmerman has here found a way to give all hockey fans a breathless view of the crackling menace and the need for instant, urgent response that make up a goalie's professional life. On this and the following pages the reader is invited to imagine himself armored in the manner of Boston's Don Head (below) and, while avoiding the menace, to share the excitement of the game's hottest vantage point

"In the minor leagues," says the truculent Bruin goalie (right), who spent years of apprenticeship before graduating to the National Hockey League, "there were only a few good shooters. Here everybody's good. And they don't hang on to the puck. They let fly, so a goalie has less chance to get ready."

Montreal's Jacques Plante kneels to clear puck as a teammate swoops to the rescue

New York's Gump Worsley sprawls to glove a low drive by Montreal's Claude Provost

Toronto's split-legged Johnny Bower kicks away a goal-bound puck (behind stick handle)