Amid this annoying NHL lockout comes a dash of fun and enlightening news from your Minnesota Wild. Michael Russo from the Star Tribune has the story about how the Wild are holding auditions for their emergency goaltender, a ploy that developed last season when Minnesota was scrambling for a backup net minder.
Josh Harding had been given the nod in goal when Niklas Backstrom had to leave the team when his wife was set to deliver their first child. Matt Hackett had been recalled from Houston but when his plane was late the Wild were left scrambling for a backup that forced the team to call 51-year old Paul Deutsch and sign him to a one-day contract. Deutsch, who was a beer league goaltender was allowed to sign with the Wild given he had pro experience in the past. He took warm-up and was then bumped from the bench when Hackett made it to the rink before the game started.
As part of that situation, the Wild have decided to hold tryouts for amateur goalies should they run into the same situation again (if and when the NHL returns). Russo lists eleven netminders who have been selected who will go through an on-ice competition in front of three judges who will determine the two finalists. The judges panel includes Wild goaltending coach, Bob Mason, the aforementioned Deutsch and Wild TV analyst Mike Greenlay.
The top two goalies will then advance to the final round that will take place during the second intermission of the Houston Aeros home game that will be staged at the X this Sunday when they take on the Rockford IceHogs. Both goalies will take part in a shootout during the intermission which will determine the winner based on the results.
For the record, there is a female goalie among the top eleven, Amy Jones, 29, from Brooklyn Center. Technically, if she were to win and the Wild needed her to suit up in an emergency situation she would become the second female goalie to play in the NHL, behind the legendary Manon Rheaume who played for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It’s nice to see some creative and entertaining events taking place involving the hockey clubs during the lockout. It gives the fans a pleasant taste from the team they so dearly love that they’ve supported for so many years. It also provides a chance to escape from the cloud that hangs over the game known as the lockout, even if it means for a few hours where we can go and enjoy a little competition that could make someones dreams come true.
The event is set to take place this Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center from 7-9 pm.
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