Opportunity knocks

"I got the call." the emergency backup goalie said: "'Come on down, bring your gear, get dressed.'" Plus, 7 other things worth a click.

Here's some weird hockey trivia. At any NHL game, there's a nonzero chance that before the end of the match, someone watching from the stands will wind up playing for one of the teams on the ice.

It's because of the NHL rule on “EBUGs,” or "emergency backup goalies."

These are backups to the backups, available if a team loses both its starting goaltender and its backup during the course of the game.

Granted, they don't just pick a random spectator.

Usually the emergency goalies are former amateur players or even minor leaguers. But they're not NHL pros, and in fact emergency goalies have taken the ice twice in the last two years:

  • Scott Foster, a 36-year-old accountant who'd last played in college, suited up for the Chicago Blackhawks in the last half of the third period of a 2018 game, after both of Chicago's goalies were injured. (He didn't allow a goal.)

  • Dave Ayres, 42, a Zamboni driver in Toronto named played almost half of a game last weekend for the Carolina Hurricanes, in their win over the Maple Leafs.

"I saw him [the Hurricanes] goalie go down," Ayres told the New York Times Monday. "Then I got the call: Come on down, bring your gear, get dressed."

I like these stories. They’re quirky, and it’s fun to root for underdogs like Foster and Ayres. (The Hurricanes are now selling jerseys with his Ayres and his one-game number, 90).

Plus, there’s an instant of sports fantasy for guys like me: the idea just because you're in your 40s, there's still a faint possibility you could still pursue your childhood dream of playing pro sports.

But also, talk about a metaphor.

That’s what I take from this. Opportunities knock unexpectedly, sometimes—in every facet of life.

That's part of why people don't always take advantage of them (also, because they’re sometimes “dressed in overalls and look like work,” as Thomas Edison put it).

One minute you're enjoying a sandwich and a beer at the game; next minute you've got a chance to pull on a sweater and stop a shot from Maple Leafs star Austin Matthews.

Jobs, avocations, experiences, even romantic relationships. You can either seize them or not. And maybe inspire other people in the process.

7 other things worth a click

  1. Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician who was depicted in the movie “Hidden Figures,” died at the age of 101 Monday. (NBC News)

  2. Expedia is laying off 3,000 employees, and admits it’s been “pursuing growth in an unhealthy and undisciplined way.” (Geekwire)

  3. Krispy Kreme gets into the doughnut delivery business. (Inc.)

  4. Stocks fell hard, and the U.S. added South Korea to the list of countries it wants Americans to avoid, all as a result of the coronavirus. (Axios)

  5. Harvey Weinstein, convicted (mostly), sent to jail, winds up in the hospital. (Variety)

  6. Netflix says it will start telling viewers what the most popular shows on its service are. (Yahoo Finance)

  7. The two hottest cities for job seekers? Austin and Nashville. (Wall Street Journal)

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