There will be a family atmosphere in the air Saturday at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. That's because Jonah Imoo will be the starting goaltender for Ontario of the American Hockey League, the Los Angeles Kings' affiliate, and his father, Ontario goalie coach Dusty Imoo, will be the backup against visiting San Jose.
"This could set some kind of hockey history," Ontario coach Mike Stothers told Reign Insider on Saturday. "The son will be backed up by his dad. We'll have two Imoos on the roster … I guess it's good to have your goalie coach that close, right? He's on the bench."
The unusual occurrence will unfold because Ontario's No. 1 goaltender, Jack Campbell, was recalled Saturday by the Kings after Jeff Zatkoff injured his groin during the morning skate prior their game against the Vancouver Canucks at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET; CBC, FS-W, NHL.TV).
Kings No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick injured his groin on opening night against the San Jose Sharks and is out indefinitely.
If Zatkoff cannot dress, Campbell will back up Peter Budaj, who is expected to start Saturday against the Canucks. Budaj began this season as Ontario's No. 1 goalie.
Jonah Imoo, 22, who had been Campbell's backup, will start Saturday for the Reign, and his father, Dusty, 46, who played professionally in Japan from 1994-2006 and is in his second season in the Kings organization, will dress and back up his son.
"It certainly hasn't come easy to him," Stothers said of the younger Imoo, who joined Ontario on a professional tryout a week ago when Budaj was recalled by the Kings after Quick's injury. "It's not because his dad's the goalie coach of our team. He's legitimately put in the time and deserves an opportunity.
"He'll go in. It's a little bit unexpected. We weren't counting on this happening, but maybe it's better for him. He doesn't have that much time to think about it. Just go in and play. We'll see how it goes.
"But you know what? It's unique and it just proves to you what life is like, what we deal with every day in the American Hockey League … probably the most nervous person is going to be the mom back in the Vancouver area. Unless she's hopping on a plane to get here in time to witness this hockey history."