Last night was one of the weirdest nights in recent hockey memory, as the Chicago Blackhawks had to start their…uhhh…6th string? goalie after their regular starter (who entered the season as the backup), went down with an injury in pregame warmups.
Well, that 6th string goalie, Colin Delia, ALSO went down with an injury with about 14 minutes left in the game, forcing Chicago accountant and beer league player Scott Foster (who in fairness did play D1 hockey in college for Western Michigan) into action for the remainder of the game as part of a weird rule where there is an emergency goalie on-call that can suit up for either team if needed.
It’s one of the best, strangest rules about hockey, and one that really doesn’t exist in other sports, where a guy can literally go from having a day job, to living out their ultimate sports dream.
Other sports really don’t have this, but what if they did, what would be the NBA, MLB, or NFL version of having Scott Foster come in, in those respective sports?
NBA – Local YMCA player plays the 4th quarter
Weirdly, hockey and basketball (and I guess soccer?) are the only sports that have a bunch adult leagues across the country for regular guys to play in after after their high school careers end. And like men’s league hockey, some local YMCA (or whoever runs and organizes it) leagues have some very talented guys who may have played at some level in college. But again, the thing to remember is that Foster actually had to play, so this isn’t just signing a YMCA to the end of the bench just in case, this is if that YMCA player had to come in and play the last eight minutes of the fourth quarter with a 16-point lead.
MLB – Local former college pitcher comes on in relief
This is probably the least realistic one of the bunch, because in a sport where teams routinely carry 12 pitchers, and where most of the guys on the roster probably pitched at some point in their younger days, you would probably never see MLB have to call up an emergency pitcher who is sitting at home, and then allow him to pitch in an actual game. If it got to the point where the roster was so depleted that you needed an emergency arm from whoever is available, the game would probably be postponed or canceled.
NFL – Local indoor player comes on at QB in the 4th quarter
Again, INSANELY unlikely that this would happen, because in the NFL most teams carry three quarterbacks, and if somehow they got injured, they’d just make whoever is currently on the roster go under center and hand the ball off until the clock hit zero. But there are no less than five indoor leagues that where guys play, hoping that somebody higher league will notice them and call them up. Again, imagine Dak Presscott and all of the Cowboys quarterbacks going down, and say Nate Davis, the QB for the Amarillo Venom of Champions Indoor Football, is called down from the stands to play QB over the last 10 minutes. It just isn’t happening.
And that’s what make the story of Scott Foster so great, not only was it that he is a beer league player who got to play in an actual NHL game, it’s that no other sport has this chance. It just isn’t happening in the NBA, MLB, or NFL for a variety of reasons. But maybe it should! Give me emergency guards, relievers and quarterbacks, because they make the game more fun!