The Minnesota Wild are closer to having a new emergency goaltender after holding a contest for the spot on Thursday.
After almost using 51-year-old Paul Deutsch in the role for one game last season, the Wild had 11 goaltenders from around the state compete for the chance to become the team's emergency goalie. Per NHL rules, none had professional experience.
The goaltenders, who ranged in age from 23 to 44, auditioned before a panel of judges that included Deutsch, Wild goalie coach Bob Mason, and Wild TV analyst and former NHL goalie Mike Greenlay.
Treye Kettwick, a 29-year-old from Minneapolis, and Joshua Swartout, a 24-year-old from St. Louis Park, Minn., were chosen as the finalists. They now will take part in a celebrity shootout during the second intermission of a game between the Houston 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 emergency goalie, with the runner-up next in line.
Included in the contest was 29-year-old Amy Jones from Brooklyn Center, Minn.
Last season, starter Niklas Backstrom left the Wild to attend the birth of his child, so a backup was needed for Josh Harding, who would be starting the Nov. 23 game against the Nashville Predators. The obvious choice was Matt Hackett, who was playing for the Aeros, the Wild's AHL team.
However, the first available flight for Hackett wouldn't get him to Minnesota until right before the start of the game -- barring flight delays.
So the Wild turned to an unusual backup plan -- 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.
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.
The contract prevents Deutsch from serving again as an emergency goalie.