We have all seen the game of hockey right? That being said, we all should know the importance of the goalie.
The goalie has the control of how a game will end, most would say it’s most important position on a ice hockey team. The NHL has an exclusive club called the ‘EBUG’ (emergency back up goalie) unit.
Emergency Back Up Goalie
The EBUG, emergency backup goaltender, is not someone teams ever really want to call on, but sometimes it’s the one person they desperately need and can employ under NHL rule 5.3.
Basically the EBUG rule allows in certain cases for a team to use an emergency back up goalie, so for instance in regular season or playoff games if both named goalies are incapacitated, then that team will be allowed to dress an eligible EBUG.
There has been some memorable cases of this happening in recent years one of the main ones that sticks in my head is Scott Foster at the Chicago Blackhawks.
March 29, 2018. Anton Forsberg was expected to be the starter vs. Winnipeg but got injured before the game, which forced Collin Delia to make his NHL debut earlier than anticipated. And with 14:01 left in the third period and the Blackhawks leading 6-2, the unthinkable happened.
A 36-year-old accountant named Scott Foster entered the game for an injured Delia as the emergency goaltender. He stopped all seven shots he faced to preserve the victory for the Blackhawks, and was named the No. 1 star of the game.
Speaking on Hawks Talks podcast afterwards Foster gave an incite of how the whole situation transpired.
On getting the nod:
“The first thing I remember is, we’re watching the game on TV and I was actually sitting beside Forsberg and [Corey] Crawford at the time, and Delia takes a shot,” Foster said. “And there’s probably like a joke or something made about where he got hit with that puck and that it kind of shook him up or something like that.
“That’s when he goes down and now he’s not getting up. That’s when your heart rate starts going and you start to think, ‘There’s gotta be another guy between me and him, right? One of these two guys suits up and goes in for this game, right?’
“And then a trainer came running down and told me to start to stretch, which is something that probably doesn’t happen too often at men’s league. Then [assistant coach] Kevin Dineen’s running down the hallway, yelling at you to get your helmet because now you’re going in.
“So I had to make the walk down the hallway into this locker room and start grabbing my gear and my helmet and gloves and start getting ready to make the journey out the tunnel.”
On what he did during TV timeouts:
“Those were probably my most tense moments on the ice, actually. When the game is going on, you have something to focus on, you’re playing, you’re just trying to do your thing.
“But then there’s these moments in time where you can either glance around the crowd, do you skate to the bench? I remember just trying not to get run over by the ice crew. And I think I pondered actually going to the bench and I’m like, ‘Well then these guys are going to start talking to me and that’s probably the last thing I need to do right now.’
“I even remember trying to grab a drink of water and I let my eyes glance up through from the ice level up to the rafters in the United Center and I was like, ‘OK, no more of that! This place is huge.
“That’s a lot of cell phones taking pictures of you right now. Let’s not do any of that anymore.’ It was just kind of, take a moment to yourself and honestly just try to block a lot of stuff out.”
This story was by far the most memorable EBUG story for me until last night (Saturday 22nd Feb 2020) when 42 year old David Ayres, not only got called up for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Toronto Maple Leafs but he also got the win!
From a zamboni to the NHL
Carolina summoned the emergency backup goalie in the second period of a 6-1 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs after both Hurricanes goaltenders James Reimer and Petr Mrazek went down to injuries.
David Ayres gave up two goals on three shots in the period before stopping all seven shots he faced in the third. The Hurricanes won 6-3. Not bad for a zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies.
“It was awesome,” Ayres said after the game. “Obviously time of my life out there. I’ve been on this ice many times without fans, put fans in the mix it’s a whole different game obviously, but, hey once in a lifetime, I’ll take it.”
Ayres became the oldest goaltender (42 years, 194 days) in league history to win his regular-season debut.
“These guys were awesome,” he said. “Actually the spot that settled me down, one of the guys (Erik Haula) said to me, ‘Just have fun. We don’t care if you let 10 goals in.’ That settled me right down and it was great.”
What a fantastic story!! It’s a shame other sports don’t have the same emergency back ups in place as it makes for great watching and also brings the community together.
For David Ayres this was a dream come true and at 42 years old I take my hat off to him… well played!!