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From the department of “Things you’d have to see to believe”, the Minnesota Wild was without a backup goalie this afternoon prior to hosting the Nashville Predators. Starting backstop Niklas Backstrom had to miss tonight’s game for personal reasons. This meant Josh Harding would get the nod in goal while Matt Hackett boarded a flight to Minneapolis from the AHL affiliate in Houston.
The team wasn’t sure if he could make it to the game on time, so they quickly made a phone call to 51-year-old Paul Deutsch. You must wonder, “Where did they get a 51-year-old goalie from”? Well, Deutsch is a friend and former high school teammate of former assistant coach Mike Ramsey, and has been used in many practices when one of the top goalies gets an off day. He runs a screen printing and embroidery store in the area, and because the team wasn’t allowed to sign a goalie with professional experience they signed Deutsch to a Amateur Tryout contract today.
When you play senior men’s hockey and you show up to the rink, and there is no goalie….there is no game. So that’s how I started playing. – Paul Deutsch, who started playing goalie at age 37.
To make the story more strange, Deutsch was planning on being in attendance at Xcel Energy Center with his daughters hockey team. Now they were able to watch him face a few shots in warm-ups. Unlike with Cinderella, Midnight came before the puck dropped as he was scratched after warm-ups when Hackett arrived for bench duties.
Not often does a emergency backup goalie fields questions from the media, but Deutsch did. Check out the video from Fox Sports North below. Last year, Matt Caputo of the New York Times wrote a feature story on emergency backup goalies.