(Canadian Press)

Emergency goalie called into NHL action

Scott Foster is an accountant during the day and a rec league goaltender at night, but he played in an NHL game Thursday night

Scott Foster thought it was going to be just another night. Then the 36-year-old accountant signed a contract, put on his goaltender gear and waited in Chicago’s locker room. Then he got into the game.

Then, it was his night.

Foster was pressed into action when Chicago lost Anton Forsberg and Collin Delia to injuries, and the former college goalie stopped all seven shots he faced over the final 14 minutes of the Blackhawks’ 6-2 victory over the playoff-bound Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

“This is something that no one can ever take away from me,” Foster said. “It’s something that I can go home and tell my kids and they can tell their friends. … Just a ton of fun.”

Foster is part of a crew of recreational goaltenders who staff Chicago’s home games in case of emergencies for either team. But it usually just means a nice dinner and a night in the press box watching the world’s best players compete at hockey’s highest level.

Nothing at all like this.

“What a moment,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said with a chuckle.

Forsberg was expected to start, but he got hurt during a “pregame ritual,” according to Quenneville. Delia, who was just recalled from the minors Wednesday, then stopped 25 of 27 shots in his NHL debut before he was helped off the ice with 14:01 left after he cramped up.

Enter Foster, a married father of two who lives in nearby Oak Park and plays in two rec leagues. After a short warmup, the game resumed and Foster got a big cheer from the crowd of 21,839 when he denied Tyler Myers for his first save about a minute after he came in.

“The initial shock happened when I had to dress. I think you just kind of black out after that,” Foster said.

Backed by chants of “Foster! Foster!” and more loud ovations, he made another stop on Myers and turned away Paul Stastny and Dustin Byfuglien in the final minutes. When it was over, the Blackhawks poured onto the ice and mobbed Foster in the net.

“He was great,” defenceman Brent Seabrook said. “I think the boys were doing whatever they could to help him out. He made some big saves. Fun night.”

The Jets had won six in a row and were trying to clinch home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. But even they were moved by what happened.

“It’s tough for anybody to come in 50 minutes into a hockey game, let alone a guy who hasn’t played in the (NHL),” coach Paul Maurice said. “A great moment for him.”

Carolina Hurricanes equipment manager Jorge Alves became the first emergency goalie to play in a game in the modern era last season. He closed out the final 7.6 seconds of a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

The NHL adjusted its rules last summer to mandate that teams have an emergency goalie present for all home games ready to fill in for either team — setting the stage for Foster’s most competitive action since 20 minutes in relief with Western Michigan University in the 2005-06 season.

“A few hours ago I was sitting on the computer typing on a 10-key, and now I’m standing in front of you guys having just finished 14 1/2 minutes of NHL hockey,” he cracked.

It was a wild finish to one of Chicago’s best performances in a lousy season.

Tomas Jurco scored a career-high two goals in Seabrook’s 1,000th regular-season game, and touted prospect Dylan Sikura had two assists in his NHL debut. Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and defenceman Erik Gustafsson each had a goal and an assist, and Brandon Saad also scored.

The 32-year-old Seabrook got the start alongside fellow alternate captain and frequent defensive partner Duncan Keith. He became the fifth player in franchise history to skate in 1,000 or more games for the team, joining Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Eric Nesterenko and Bob Murray.

Bryan Little scored his 200th NHL goal for Winnipeg in the opener of a four-game trip. Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets, and Eric Comrie made 36 saves while subbing for starter Connor Hellebuyck.

“It wasn’t a good night,” Little said. “It wasn’t good from the start. It’s one of those games you want to forget and put behind you and look to the next one.”

Kane got Chicago off to a fast start when he shot it between Comrie’s legs for his 27th goal 3:34 into the first, and the Blackhawks just poured it on from there. Saad made it 2-0 with a nifty move to his backhand in front at 17:17.

Jurco added two goals in the second before Little got Winnipeg on the board with his 16th of the season at 14:24. But Gustafsson responded for the Blackhawks, scoring on a nice rush to the net at 17:27.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

‘Two ducks, five bucks’ for annual rubber duckie race in Bowker Creek

Oak Bay High Environment Club host event Saturday in celebration of vital Oak Bay creek

Esquimalt council green-lights first mass-timber building on Vancouver Island

Mayor appreciates 12-storey structure’s proximity to naval base, graving dock and Seaspan

Victoria beaches 1,560 pounds lighter after Surfrider cleanup

200 people came out to clean the beach on Earth Day

Sooke makes call for regional fire dispatch

Some municipalities decide to take service off-Island

Greater Victoria School District adopts new dress code policy

Two years in the making, SD61 moves to more inclusionary guidelines

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report

Living wage varies between $16.51 in north central B.C. to $20.91 in Metro Vancouver

Amalgamation Yes hosting citizen’s assembly info meeting Wednesday at Vic High

Mayors of Victoria and Saanich will be on hand to give updates to residents

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of April 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

Most Read