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Bench Talk / Off The Wire



By Fred Wallace

Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".


On February 22nd, an everyman by the name of David Ayres immediately entered NHL folklore when he was called on by the Carolina Hurricanes mid-game as an emergency backup goaltender.

The Hurricanes 2 netminders, Petr Mrazek and James Reimer had both been injured in the game against the Leafs know the rest of the story.

Ayres, a 40+ year old Zamboni operator and sometimes practice goalie for the Marlies went on to post the victory over Toronto.

It was a marvellous story, remarkable and heart warming, and the sequence also generated all kinds of positive attention and fundraising for kidney research.

Of course the Emergency Back Up Goalie, E-BUG if you will also triggered a might debate over what's good and proper in this sort of scenario.

For me it triggered a good/bad memory from 1991.

The Owen Sound Platers, winners of just 11 games that year were playing out the string of the Ontario Hockey League regular season with a road game on Monday March 11th at Cobo Hall in Detroit against the Ambassadors.

Plater Goalkeeper Sean O'Hagen was away from the team due a death in the family leaving only Scott Ballantyne as a regular netminder.

Defenceman Mark Strohack, who was injured at the time, was listed as the backup goalie, although Strohack never put any equipment on, nor sat on the bench.

Strohack was lucky, as Scott Ballantyne was virtually abandoned by his teammates and a non-playoff team in Detroit pounded Owen Sound 10-3.

Of course, as the E-BUG story reminded me, the listing of Mark Strohack wasn't nearly as bizarre as what followed.

Long time Owen Sound fans will likely recall that as the Attack bus lurched into Mount Forest well after midnight on a snowy by now Tuesday morning, a sing-song broke out at the back and an agitated Coach Len McNamara booted Jeff Perry, Grayden Reid, Jason Skellett & the erstwhile backup goalie Mark Strohack out onto the street, leaving them to find their own way home.

The 4 displaced Platers eventually found their way home...and I'm certain the NHL will also find their way when it comes to the E-BUG scenario.


I'm Fred Wallace

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