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Ho-Hum: Minnesota signs 51-year-old embroidery store owner as backup goalie

Nov 23, 2011, 5:56 PM EDT

Josh Harding AP

Pretty crazy development out of Minnesota, where it was recently announced that goalie Niklas Backstrom willl miss tonight’s game against Nashville for personal reasons.

That means Josh Harding will get the start in goal — but who will back him up?

Matt Hackett is the starting goalie for Minnesota’s AHL affiliate in Houston, but he’s still en route to the Twin Cities. As Wild.com notes, “he’s not expected to touch down on the biggest travel day of the year until about 6:30. That means the likelihood that he’s here for warmups is very small and he may even miss part of the first period.”

Yikes. That’s a problem.

But alas, a solution! The Wild have enlisted the services of 51-year-old Paul Deutsch, who runs a screen printing and embroidery store in nearby Richfield. As per NHL rules, Minnesota’s not allowed to sign a goalie with professional experience, so Deutsch signed his ATO (amateur try-out) contract today.

More, from Wild.com:

Deutsch is no stranger to the Wild. As a good friend of former assistant Mike Ramsey, Deutsch has been used in many Wild practices when one of the top goalies gets an off day.

While he can hold his own in practices, Deutsch was not even a goaltender growing up. According to Ramsey, he started playing in his thirties.

Coincidentally, Deutsch was already going to be at the game tonight as a fan, along with a youth hockey team he was accompanying.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. The Caps once signed their website editor as an emergency goalie and the Canucks gave a third-string university goalie an ATO contract when they were in a pinch.

Of course, neither of those two ran his own embroidery and screening company. Deutsch should really take advantage of this opportunity by making a bunch of “I was signed by the Minnesota Wild and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” shirts.

  1. govtminion - Nov 23, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    I love stories like this. Remember way back in the day when the Penguins had to use Jean-Claude Van Damm as their goalie during a game against the Blackhawks? I can’t remember how that game ended though. Some sort of mental blockage.

  2. jovocop1989 - Nov 23, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    I still remember that Canucks game, when Hedberg collided with a Pen and was lying on the ice for a bit, and the camera panned to Levesque sitting on the bench, chomping his gum furiously, because there appeared to be a very real chance he was about to get thrown in net. Mike Keane yelled down the bench, “Don’t worry, he’ll get up”. It still makes me laugh.

    Attaboy, Deutsch

    • suksandhu - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:59 PM

      That was awesome. The cameras showed him chomping his gum and then panned across the bench and players were laughing at him. Classic.

  3. hatersweargreen - Nov 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    i read the headline and expected jamie moyer :\

  4. lsxphotog - Nov 23, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    Damn cool, if you ask me.

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