Elizabeth Muirhead ’20
Many avid hockey fans dream of getting to play on the ice with their favorite team, but most people will never have the opportunity to try. On Thursday March 28, Scott Foster, 36-year-old accountant, father of two and former Western Michigan University goalie lived that dream. After two of the Chicago Blackhawks’ goalies got hurt, Foster, who was sitting in the stands, was called to suit up and finish the game against the Winnipeg Jets. Foster resides in Oak Park, IL, and when he is not working, he plays on a recreational hockey league a few minutes away from the Chicago Blackhawks’ stadium.
As NPR wrote, “Foster became a legend.” That night, just before the game, the Chicago Blackhawks’ twitter announced they had signed the accountant on as their emergency goalie.
The odds of emergency backups playing are low but Corey Crawford and Anton Forsberg, the teams’ primary goalie and first backup, were both injured. Disaster struck in the third period. Collin Delia, the goalie in the net at the time, had to leave the game due to cramping. The unique circumstances were the perfect storm for Foster; he would have to step in and act as the team's goalie for 14 minutes of play, about one quarter of the total ice time in a regular hockey game.
When Foster took to net, the Blackhawks were beating the Jets 6-2. His team had left a cushy lead, but the 20,000 plus fans were still anxious about the new goalie.
Foster shocked and electrified fans by stopping seven goals for the Blackhawks during the remainder of the final period. He had a shutout — not a single goal was scored on him. With great skill and energy, Foster held the lead, and the Blackhawks won 6-2. Chicago fans cheered, “FOS-TER, FOS-TER.”
After the game, he was awarded the Team Belt, which is given to the person who shows outstanding performance, the “player of the game.”
When asked what he would be doing with his newfound fame, Foster said that he's “going to button up [his] shirt, and [he’s] going to go back to [his] day job.”
For any aspiring pro-hockey players, Foster had these words of wisdom: “You just keep grinding away in men's league, and eventually you'll get your shot.”
While Foster has no actual career in professional hockey, his 15 — really 14 — minutes of fame were remarkable. His performance in net is still a reminder to players and fans that your opportunity might still be out there. How many injuries until your NHL career starts?