We’ve got a late contender for feel-good hockey story of the year, and his name is Scott Foster.
On Thursday, Foster signed an ATO with the Chicago Blackhawks as an emergency backup following a pregame injury to current starter Anton Forsberg. Foster, 36, had been tabbed as the team’s designated emergency goalie for about a dozen games this season, but was never close to actually getting in on the action.
That is, until rookie Collin Delia, who was getting his very first NHL start, went down with an injury early in the third period and Foster walked down the tunnel, shuffled across the Blackhawks bench, and stepped out onto NHL ice.
“It’s Opening Day for baseball, but we had to go to the bullpen a couple of times today,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said after the game, via Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Lazerus.
Hockey Twitter was hooked from the very moment Foster, who last played competitive hockey more than a decade ago, took his first strides toward the Blackhawks net.
No one can resist a good underdog story, and there’s plenty to love about this one. Here are our favourite things about Foster’s 14 minutes of fame:
1. He was coming off a full day’s work
Foster works full time as an accountant, and had just put in a full shift prior to Thursday’s call-up. And he’ll be heading back to work Friday. We’d sure like to get in on that office water cooler talk.
“You think there’d be a lot of pressure,” Foster told reporters post-game. “But tomorrow I’m going to wake up, I’m going to button up my shirt and I’m going to go back to my day job. What pressure is there for me?”
2. He was actually good
Scratch that—he was perfect.
Foster faced seven shots and didn’t let in any of ’em, backstopping the Blackhawks through the final 14 minutes of their 6-2 victory over the Jets.
Live look at Foster’s NHL stat line: 1W | 14:01 TOI | 7 SA | 0.0 GAA | 1.00 SV%.
And let’s keep in mind who Foster suited up against: the Winnipeg Jets—the playoff-bound, second-best-in-the-West Jets. He turned away shots from some of the best scorers in the league: Patrik Laine, Paul Stastny, Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers (twice), Andrew Copp, and Joel Armia.
Just don’t ask him for the play-by-play.
3. He was named the night’s first star and got locker-room props
Thursday was supposed to be Brent Seabrook’s night, as he was suiting up for this 1,000th career NHL game. He was pretty OK with giving up the spotlight, though, and was (obviously) a great sport about it.
“[Patrick Sharp] was just laughing about it, saying it just sums up my career in a nutshell,” Seabrook told Lazerus. “It’s my night, and Scotty comes in and steals the spotlight.”
The super quotable netminder, who will surely be relaying this story for the rest of his days, also had media members laughing during his post-game availability:
4. Seriously, he’s living the beer league dream
Funnily enough, Foster is actually the second goalie from his league at Johnny’s IceHouse to be signed as an emergency backup for an NHL club. The Los Angeles Kings signed Alec Rounds to be their emergency option back in October—one of four such backups signed after the Kings held a pre-season contest.
And, unlike his temporary NHL teammates, Foster is actually going to the playoffs. (Sorry. Had to.)
5. He’s now part of hockey history
In addition to being a great story, Foster is also now in the NHL record books. Thursday’s duo of debuts is the first time in almost 40 years that two goalies from the same team have made their NHL debuts in the same game.