In a matter of hours, Zach Sikich went from minding babies to sitting on the bench in an NHL game. Such is the life of the emergency backup goaltender.
Here’s how it happened: The Anaheim Ducks were in Minnesota to play the Wild on Tuesday. When goalie Viktor Fasth was injured during the morning skate, the Ducks were left scrambling to find a backup netminder for the game. Jeff DeLauriers was immediately summoned from the AHL, but he had to fly out of Fort Wayne, Ind. He had to wait for a mid-afternoon flight, and there was no guarantee he could make it for game time.
Rather than risk having to put a skater between the pipes in the event of an injury to Jonas Hiller, the Ducks made a call to Sikich, who lives in the Twin Cities area. Last season, he served as a practice goalie for the Wild when they wanted to give Hiller a rest. Assistant GM David McNabb still had Sikich’s phone number – only this time he needed him to be ready for game action.
Sikich took part in the pre-game warmup, sporting bright blue pads – the colour he uses to market his business, ProHybrid. He sat on the bench for the first 14 minutes of the first period until DeLauriers arrived.
Sikich, who tended goal at the college level, is a new father to boot. His wife Jessica gave birth to the couple’s second child on February 21. Sikich was taking a few weeks off work to help out around the house. Little did he know he would be getting the chance of a lifetime.
(Image courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)