On March 29, 2018, Scott Foster took the net as emergency goalie at the United Center
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Scott Foster, an accountant/rink rat, thought it would be just another night watching a Blackhawks' game at the United Center and maybe grabbing a sandwich. After all, an emergency goalie in the National Hockey League can be what a hood ornament is to your automobile.
Then, at about 6:45 p.m. on March 29, 2018, Foster noticed a 312 number on his cellphone. "Something told me I should answer that call," he said. Soon after, he signed an amateur tryout contract and donned a red No. 90 sweater as the Blackhawks' backup goalie against the Winnipeg Jets.
Anton Forsberg, who was designated to start in the Chicago net, had incurred an injury. But Collin Delia took his place, so there was virtually no chance the Blackhawks would have to heed an NHL rule stipulating that if two goalies for a team are incapacitated, a third masked man can be eligible.
Foster, one of several standbys to the standbys rotating at United Center games, was available to the Blackhawks or Jets. Back in the day, when NHL teams carried one goalie, emergencies were more frequent. Lefty Wilson, the Detroit Red Wings' trainer, was forced to play in three NHL games, twice against his own team!
On this evening when Brent Seabrook was honored for his 1000th game, Delia was doing just fine until the third period when he cramped up and went down in a heap. Enter Foster, with a 5-2 lead, midst a buzz of curiosity among 21,839 fans. Scott who?
"The first shock of the night was actually getting suited up," recalled Foster, 36, who once tended goal for Western Michigan University and plays in two beer leagues. "Then I have to go in. There was a TV time out and the ice crew came on to shovel. I didn't know where to go. I was just kind of going around in circles, hoping not to fall over the shovel."
Voila. In 14:01, Foster faced seven shots and made seven saves. Every stop elicited an ovation, particularly one on Paul Stastny. "FOS-TER! FOS-TER!" chanted the sellout crowd. At game's end, he was mobbed by teammates, voted the No. 1 star and became an international celebrity overnight. A humble man, Foster gradually obliged some interview requests from as far away as Turkey.
"You have no idea how to describe what took place," reflected Foster, who indeed answered the call.