Professional athlete misses a game because he is sick and his roster spot goes to a hockey coach from a local college. No, that is not the premise for the next Disney movie. It happened last night.
The Phoenix Coyotes were at the Madison Square Garden in New York last night to play the Rangers. Earlier in the day they suffered a minor setback when starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov came down with the flu. He was replaced in the starting lineup by his backup Jason LaBarbera but the Coyotes had no one available to back him up. There wasn't enough time to fly someone in from their Minor League affiliate in San Antonio so they reached out to a college coach in New York instead.
Tom Fenton a 26 year old coach for Manhatanville College lived out a dream last night and spent the night on the bench, in uniform at a National Hockey League game. He's from Sarnia, Ontario so I'm pretty sure like most Canadian kids he had dreamed of this moment his entire childhood. No, he didn't actually get to play in the game but he still has one hell of a story to tell for the rest of his life.
I loved this little piece from the NHL.com story.
"My phone rang, I didn't pick it up," said Fenton, who had less than three hours to get to MSG but arrived in time to back up Jason LaBarbera. "I eventually saw who it was so I picked it up after the haircut and called them right back.
"They basically said I have to get my butt down to MSG as soon as I can.
According to that same story he hasn't played an actual game since his senior year at American International College last year.