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Blackhawk for a day Semborski visits with former teammates

Former college goalie served as emergency backup when Chicago visited Flyers last year

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- The Chicago Blackhawks had a special alum at their morning skate at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.

He did a few interviews while the Blackhawks skated, then spent time with former teammates in the locker room.

It was just another day in the life for emergency backup goaltender Eric Semborski.

"It's good to be back," he said. "Been almost a year."

Semborski had his first moment in the NHL sun on Dec. 3, 2016. The former Temple University goaltender was working as a youth hockey instructor in Voorhees, New Jersey, when he got a call from the Blackhawks about two hours before their game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Goaltender Corey Crawford needed surgery to remove his appendix and the Blackhawks needed a backup for Scott Darling.

Semborski drove home to Manayunk, Pennsylvania to get his goaltending gear, then raced to Wells Fargo Center, arriving just before warmups.

"He was coming in late, rushing in," Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said. "I remember he had his white T-shirt on and jeans, just like a kid you're pulling off the streets to play goal. It was awesome. I'm sure he'll have that story for a lifetime."

Semborski said most of the experience was a blur, but called his time on the ice during warmups "the best 15 minutes of hockey of my life to that point.

"It was a crazy day, everything happened so fast," he said. "Overall, looking back at hanging out in the locker room with those guys, taking warmup was unbelievable. That was the first time I was on the receiving end of NHL shots."

He didn't get into that game against the Flyers, but was honored at a Blackhawks game at United Center, where he was given a jersey, a new set of goaltending gear and a custom-painted mask with the Blackhawks' logo on it.

Semborski had another brush with the NHL on April 1, when he was as an emergency backup for the Flyers during a game against the New Jersey Devils. Michal Neuvirth collapsed during the first period and he was needed as a backup for Anthony Stolarz. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol sent Semborski onto the ice with 25 seconds remaining in the third period, but since he wasn't on the game roster the only way he could have played was if Stolarz had been injured.

Instead, he has to settle for being an alum of the Flyers and Blackhawks. He'll be in attendance Thursday as a guest of the Blackhawks for their game against the Flyers (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, NBCSP, NBCSCH, NHL.TV). His goaltending gear will be in his truck in the parking lot.

Just in case.

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