Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 11/23/11
ST. PAUL, Minn The Minnesota Wild announced an unusual transaction early Wednesday evening: Goaltender Paul Deutsch, 51, has been signed to an amateur tryout contract. You read that right: 51.The part not on the Wilds press release is that Deutsch is a rec league goalie who runs a printing business in Richfield, Minn. He is a friend of former Wild assistant coach Mike Ramseys and used to fill in at Wild practices when goaltenders were injured.So how did Deutsch end up going from rec league to National Hockey League? Due to personal reasons, goalie Niklas Backstrom could not suit up for Wednesday nights Wild-Predators game in St. Paul. The team recalled Matt Hackett on Wednesday afternoon from Houston of the American Hockey League, but his flight wasnt scheduled to land in the Twin Cities until about 6:30 p.m. CT and that was a flight on the biggest travel day of the year.So Josh Harding got the start, and Deutsch donned No. 33 and took warm-ups with the team. Not bad for a guy who didnt even play goalie seriouslyfor the first time until he was 37."When you play senior mens hockey, when there is no goalie, you cant play," Deutsch said before the game. "So thats how I got stated playing (goalie)."Kidding aside, if something were to happen to Harding before Hackett could get to the Xcel Energy Center, Deutsch would be in the crease."Im very nervous," he said. "Practice is one thing, but the game faces, if you will, are on (in the locker room). So Im trying to stay out of the way. ...Ill say a quick prayer."Deutsch was faxed a contract in the afternoon, and the only thing left to do was to enjoy a pregame meal."I did have a poppy-seed muffin," he said.At 51, you cant afford to get weighed down.
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