CHICAGO – A 36-year-old accountant got a surprise call to play goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night, and he had the game of his life.
During warmups for Thursday’s game with the Jets, Chicago goaltender Anton Forsberg suffered a lower leg injury. That forced backup Collin Delia, who was called up to replace J.F. Berube this week, into the starting role. In his place, the Blackhawks brought in an emergency goalie - from the Johnny’s Icehouse adult league.
That’s 36-year-old accountant Scott Foster, who was signed to a one-day amateur tryout agreement, and since the team was down to a single goalie, he had to suit up. This came just hours after he finished his work at Golub Capital in Chicago when suddenly he found himself a member of the Blackhawks.
“I was probably a block away, so moments before warm up, roughly give or take,” said Foster when he was told he would be the official backup for the Blackhawks. “The initial shock happened when I had to dress and think you just kinda black out after that.”
Little did he know what was coming about two hours later.
With 15 minutes left to go in the game against the Jets, Delia exited the game with an injury, and in came Foster.
Leading 6-2, there wasn’t a lot of worry about putting the amateur goalie into the net for the end of the third period. In fact, head coach Joel Quenneville was laughing a bit when Foster emerged in his pads from the locker room.
“I don’t think I heard anything other than put your helmet on,” said Foster, who skated to the crease in his No. 90 jersey.
In the process of fulfilling a lifelong dream, he also came up with a once in a lifetime performance.
Facing a playoff-bound Winnipeg squad, Foster stopped all seven shots he faced over the final 14:01 of the game to hold onto the four-goal lead for a victory.
“That’s something you’ll never forget,” said Foster, who had the biggest media crowd of the night around his temporary locker at the United Center. ” You understand what’s happening and they’re going to have a lot of fun with it and you might as well do too.”
In that time, there were a few memorable moments. Foster’s first official save came 6:59 into the third period on a shot by Tyler Myers. He made a stop of a hard slap shot by former Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien later in the period. As the chants of “Foster, Foster” began from the crowd, Foster made his final stop of the night on Joel Armia.
When it was all over, it was Foster who was named the No. 1 star of the game, much to the delight of the crowd who’ve had less to cheer about than in the past.
“It was opening day for baseball but we had to go to the bullpen a couple times today,” said Quenneville of his unusual goalie rotation on Thursday. “It was one of those interesting things that you don’t see very often and I thought both goalies played extremely well.”
What’s most impressive is that Delia and then Foster did so against a Jets team that’s going to finish in the top three in the Western Conference. At 104 points, the team is in the midst of their best run since returning to Manitoba in 2011, but for one night lost to a rookie goalie and then an amateur.
“From my perspective, this is a dream regardless,” said Foster when asked about his performance against a strong team like the Jets. “This is something that no one can ever take away from me, it’s something I can go home and tell my kids and they can tell their friends and what not."
“So it wouldn’t matter from my perspective, just a ton of fun and a lot of good memories.”
It could theoretically happen again since Foster said he’s been an emergency goalie for about 15 games this season. That requires him to have his gear at the arena, sit in the press box, get a meal, and wait in case he was needed. It was a little different on Thursday night.
But on Friday it’s back to work at the office, and soon it will be playoff time for his Johnny’s Icehouse Adult League, with his one shining moment with the Blackhawks living on as an incredible memory.
“I just try to put it past you, because it’s going to be a little different in that game for sure,” said Foster of his upcoming playoff game.
Frankly, it may not live up to what he experienced on Thursday, creating the most unexpected moment of the Blackhawks’ season.