Anaheim Ducks Deploy Emergency Goalie Who Sells Life Insurance For a Living - Makes 2 Saves While Staving Off A Panic Attack
Tom Hodges' life changed in the Anaheim Ducks' regular-season finale on Friday night against the Dallas Stars. After injuries to both the netminders atop the Ducks' two-deep depth chart (John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz), the life insurance salesman was thrust into duty as the EBUG, or emergency goalie, in the final period.
I boldfaced his occupation for a variety of reasons, mainly to emphasize just how out-of-left-field this is and also to ensure that we have the correct information on what precisely this hero does for a living.
Although he did allow one goal in the 4-2 loss, Hodges made two saves!! And that concession came on the power play, so Hodges, to paraphrase his own words, didn't embarrass himself too much out there. The Stars tacked on an empty-netter with a minute left to make the score more lopsided than it appeared.
Now for the coolest part. He was so utterly relatable in discussing the experience afterwards. This is the classic everyman launched into an extraordinary set of circumstances that makes for some of the greatest narrative fiction.
Color me impressed. But my favorite bit was the following clip where he talks about how his transient teammates were able to calm him down as he internally battled, on the precipice of a panic attack before taking the ice at American Airlines Center in Dallas:
This is the same arena where the NBA's Mavericks and Luka Doncic have won postseason games in lately. Like just think about how wild that is for a second. Oh, and the Stars will be participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs themselves, so this wasn't the easiest opponent to face. Dallas needed the two points from a victory to keep hope alive of staying ahead of Nashville for the top Wild Card spot.
And how's this for another plot twist:
WHO IS THIS MAN!?
Look how classy the Stars were toward Hodges, too:
Some wholesome hockey content right here. A lot of folks love a good fight, sure, but this is something special. I couldn't be more impressed by everyone all around.
Hodges' cameo marked only marked the fourth time in NHL history when an emergency goalie saw action in a game, from what I've been able to unearth. Even if that's a little off-base, it's RARE as hell that this ever happens. It's something you can't possibly prepare for. Usually it merely means a goalie dresses. That's why they're labeled an "emergency" backup.
Good on you, Tom Hodges. You're a fucking champion.
Even though Ducks fans have to be disappointed with the club's late-season collapse after a promising start in which they were leading the NHL in record vs. the puck line for quite some time, this is a heartwarming human interest story to take a little sting out of all that. Plus hey, at least you still have Trevor Zegras scoring lacrosse-style goals and stuff.