Hockey is one of the FOUR major sports in this country. I mean, it is 4th out of 4 by every measure, but the NHL is BIG BUSINESS. That’s why we have a full-time staffer dedicated to it.
Hockey fans will tell you though, no matter how big the sport is, hockey players are by and large the most down-to-earth and relatable of all pro athletes. Among us here at HTTA, we know a bunch of current and former NHL guys, and we agree.
Relatable stars is one thing….but last night in Chicago it went to the next level:
When the Blackhawks first two goalies had questionable injuries- Forsberg was injured during a pregame “ritual” (HTTA launching a full investigation into that), and the backup played 2-plus periods before he got a “cramp” and came out (I thought hockey players were tough)- the team turned to Scott Foster. Who is he? Well, he’s a 36 year old Accountant/ Rec League goalie who gets paid to hang out at the arena, just in case of emergency.
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.
My first reaction is: In 2018, how is THIS a thing?
My second reaction is…MOVE OVER SISTER JEAN. Scott is the reigning HTTA PERSON OF THE YEAR (a new thing I just invented, and can change arbitrarily at any time, and may be a subconscious Simmons rip-off)
My next reaction is, ONLY IN HOCKEY. Hockey is so small time in so many ways. No matter how big it gets in reality, at it’s core it’s still a bunch of moose-jockeys with mullets tooling around the local pond. It’s like the community sport that happened to go big time, and still can’t quite figure out how it all works. I got to tell you…I think it’s friggin’ awesome.
It’d be no surprise, with the state of major league sports today, if they had a full-timer, making 150K, who travels with the team, and who’s FT job is “Emergency Goalie”. It’d keep the union happy. It’d make the most sense. And it’d be BORING AF.
This way, there is the added element that some ham-and-egger might have to legitimately come from the stands, sign a 3 hour contract, and actually play in a meaningful game. It really is mind-blowing. It’s too bad there wasn’t some Yawkey League guy down in Tampa who could’ve gotten a couple of outs in 8th yesterday.
And think about how cool it must have been for Scott. We couldn’t reach Foster for comment, but we did speak to a prominent rec league goalie from Billerica, who wishes to be referred to as “Hack Bauer”. The story seemed to hit home for him.
“It’s fairy tales like this that keep 40-somethings like me lacing them up after a hard day’s work…even when every bone in my body tells me not to. You know, you gotta stay ready in case one night that phone rings, and we get the call”
Like us at HTTA, he really hopes this system doesn’t change. “Hack” also holds out hope that some day, one of these rec league guys might end up sticking, and then, who knows:
“I think there is potential story there, far more worthy of a motion picture than Rudy ever was.”
Well, prominent rec league goalie from Billerica, we couldn’t agree more. The story of the rec league goalie turned Stanley Cup hero needs to happen…and when it does, it’ll be the Most “Hockey” thing ever.