We’ve written and read stories before about a goalie getting a phone call from a professional team, telling them that they need an emergency goalie and to bring their gear to the arena immediately. It’s the phone call every beer league goalie dreams of. And for the lucky ones who do sign the amateur contract, they usually get nothing more than a few shots in pregame, a seat on the bench and memories to take home along with a jersey.
Not for Jay Stevens. Stevens is a 43 year old firefighter from Taylorsville, Utah. While he’s used to getting emergency calls as a carer, one emergency call he got Saturday night helped the home team get a win.
The Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL were shorthanded in goal heading into their game against the Rapid City Rush. Their original emergency goaltender was Ryan McKay. McKay started the game but had to exit the game midway through the third period of a 2-2 contest after a puck hit him in the head and opened up a wound.
Stevens told a television station that he couldn’t believe he was getting the chance to play. “I was thinking this can’t really be happening. I’m too old to play with all these kids in a real game, and it was a really competitive game that night.”
Stevens saw 10:35 of action and made seven saves. He didn’t allow any goals which allowed Erik Higby to score with under a minute remaining to give the Grizzlies the victory. McKay was stitched up by then and returned to the game following Higby’s goal to get credited with the win.
Tim Branham, Utah’s head coach said about Stevens, “You can’t say enough about the way Jay Stevens played; it’s just unbelievable. To have the poise to be able to do that says a lot about the Taylorsville firefighters.”
Stevens didn’t go home without acknowledgement from the 5,279 fans at the Maverik Center, as he was named the game’s third star.