Griffins goalie Marc-Olivier Daigle was in Vancouver, preparing to play an exhibition game against the University of British Columbia, when he received a game-changing text: would he be the Edmonton Oilers’ emergency goaltender this season?
“I wasn't expecting that at all," says Marc-Olivier, a Bachelor of Commerce student. "For them to want me, with all the goalies that are around the city, it's pretty exciting. I'm happy to be part of it. I get to watch games and just be there in case.”
His first assignment was on October 5 when the Oilers hosted the Los Angeles Kings. It was a busy night. At 6 p.m., he was in goal for the Griffins during a 4-2 preseason win over Concordia and by 8:30, with the Oilers’ game already in full swing, he was scrambling out of the Downtown Community Arena and heading down the hall to Rogers Place.
Emergency goaltenders in the NHL wait in the press box, on call in case a goaltender on either team leaves with an injury. If that happens, the player heads to the dressing room to put on their gear in the unlikely event that the team's backup is forced to leave the game.
Emergency goalies aren’t called to action very often, but when it does happen, the story can be fantastic. Most recently, 36-year-old accountant and rec league goalie Scott Foster entered a March 2018 game for the Chicago Blackhawks after starter Anton Forsberg was hurt and backup goalie Collin Delia cramped up with 14 minutes left in the game. Scott stopped every one of the seven shots he faced and the Hawks beat Winnipeg 6-2.
“If it happens, I don't know what my reaction would be," says Marc-Olivier. "I think I'd be shocked and just hope for the best. Obviously, I don't hope anyone gets hurt, but if the opportunity comes, I'll try to enjoy it as much as I can.”
In the meantime, Marc-Olivier is coming off the greatest season by a goaltender in Griffins hockey history. In 2018/19 he posted a 1.89 goals against average and a .937 save percentage — not a bad way to head into his final season with the Griffins.
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