All NHL teams carry two goalies -- a starter and a backup. Pretty standard stuff. If there's an injury, teams are able to bring up a fill-in from the minors.
But once in a while, strange things happen. Like with the Minnesota Wild last season, for instance. Starter Niklas Backstrom left the team to attend the birth of his child, so a backup was needed for Josh Harding, who would be starting. The obvious choice was Matt Hackett, who was playing for the Wild's AHL team, the Houston Aeros.
However, the first available flight for Hackett wouldn't get him in to Minnesota until right before the start of the game -- barring flight delays.
So the Wild turned to an unusual backup plan -- 51-year-old Paul Deutsch, who owns a screen-printing company in Richfield, Minn., but also moonlights as a men's-league goalie. Deutsch is a friend of former Wild assistant coach Mike Ramsay and had been pressed into action over the years at Wild practices.
This time, though, would be different. Deutsch left work early, signed an amateur tryout agreement contract, pulled on his Wild jersey and took the ice for pregame warmups. Deutsch never saw action in the game, though, as Hackett arrived just before the puck dropped.
Rather than scramble, the Wild are preparing for the next unorthodox situation by holding a contest to find their next emergency goalie.
The team has selected 11 goaltenders from around the state to compete in an on-ice competition for the chance to become the next Paul Deutsch. Per NHL rules, none has professional experience -- which disqualifies Deutsch from having another opportunity to serve as emergency goalie -- and range in age from 23 to 44. Included is 29-year-old Amy Jones from Brooklyn Center.
The goaltenders will audition before a panel of judges that includes Deutsch, Wild goalie coach Bob Mason and Wild TV analyst and former NHL goalie Mike Greenlay. The event will be held Nov. 15 at Xcel Energy Center.
Two finalists will be selected and invited to take part in a celebrity shootout during the second intermission of a game between the Aeros and Rockford IceHogs at Xcel Energy Center on Nov. 18. The goalie who does the best in the shootout will be named the Wild's next emergency goalie, with the runner-up next in line. The finalists also will receive authentic Wild jerseys with their names and numbers on the back.
Selected to compete are: Tyler Brigl, 27, Saint Paul, Minn.; Kevin Donohue, 23, Minneapolis; Ryan Ess, 31, Minneapolis; Shane Hudella, 41, Hastings, Minn.; Amy Jones, 29, Brooklyn Center, Minn; Treye Kettwick, 29, Minneapolis; Mark Klaers, 44, St. Louis Park, Minn.; Mark Ostlund, 24, Saint Paul, Minn.; Alan Strahota, 27, Burnsville, Minn.; Joshua Swartout, 24, St. Louis Park, Minn.; Adam Timperley, 30, Rogers, Minn.