Scott Foster hadn’t played a serious hockey game since 2005, when he was a member of the Western Michigan University team. After college, Foster joined his local beer league team. He had no high-level hockey experience, and he worked as an accountant.
But when the Chicago Blackhawks suddenly needed a goaltender, Foster was pressed into action.
Emergency Backup Goalie
With 14 minutes left in a Hawks game against the Winnipeg Jets, the 36-year-old donned his goalie gear and skated onto the ice. Foster saved seven shots to preserve Chicago’s 6-2 win.
According to NHL rules, each team must dress two goalies. If one can’t play, then the team calls one up from a minor league team. However, if there isn’t enough time, the team may sign an emergency goalie from whoever’s available.
The Rarest Of Players
It’s extremely rare for an emergency goalie to see any time on the ice. In fact, it’s only happened one other time. Two years ago, the Carolina Hurricanes’ equipment manager Jorge Alves played seven seconds at the end of the Canes’ game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Alves’ brief stint was the result of a coaching decision at the end of a game. When Foster was called into duty for the Blackhawks, it was the first time that an injury required an emergency goaltender to play.
Rudy On Ice
Foster, unfortunately, wasn’t paid an NHL-level salary for his work. Under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, Foster’s appearance was considered an amateur-tryout contract. This means he receives no compensation.
But as he saved each shot, the United Center crowd cheered him on, chanting “Fos-ter! Fos-ter!” When the final horn sounded, the team mobbed their temporary goaltender. Foster lived his dream, if only for 14 minutes. He also kept his game-worn jersey as a reminder of his Rudy moment on the ice.