Ducks turn to emergency goalie after Gibson, Stolarz suffer injuries

Anaheim Ducks emergency backup goaltender Tom Hodges describes his emotional night after he found out he'd be starting in the third period and the support he received from the team. Courtesy: Bally Sports

The Anaheim Ducks were forced to go with an emergency goalie for the third period against the Dallas Stars after both John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz suffered injuries.

With the game in Dallas, 28-year-old Tom Hodges was forced into action. Hodges last appeared in a professional hockey game in 2016-17 in the ECHL with the Allen Americans, making one appearance.

Hodges would allow one goal on the three shots he faced with Stars forward Jason Robertson scoring on the power play. Dallas would go on to beat Anaheim 4-2.

Gibson was forced to leave the game after the first period with an upper-body injury. Stolarz left after the second period because of a lower-body injury.

"I'm a little out of breath, but doing alright," he said immediately after the game. "It was a little touch and go there," Hodges said after the game. "We weren't exactly sure, but [Stolarz] could barely walk and I had to throw my jersey on there. It was probably the most nervous I've even been in my life, but I'm just glad I didn't embarrass myself out there."

Hodges explained that he received a lot of support from Ducks players given he was thrown into a situation he never expected to be in.

"That's the best group of guys ever," Hodges said. "They just came up to me and tried to calm me down. They could tell I was ready to have a panic attack. They didn't care, win or lose, let in 10, just go out there and have fun. That made the whole experience a lot easier."

The Texas native played high school hockey at Plano West High School. He went on to study sports management at Southern Methodist University.

In an interview with SMU Look in 2019, Hodges explained how he lost his vision in his left eye which presented a big challenge playing goalie.

"At the age of 14 I lost the sight in my left eye, this made playing goalie incredibly difficult for me for many years," Hodges explained. "To get back to the level I was playing before, I had to work twice as hard as my peers. It was always a struggle at the time, but in the long run I think it had a very positive affect on my work ethic."

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