Originally written on The Last Angry Fan  |  Last updated 11/24/11

The Minnesota Wild were in a tight spot heading into Wednesday’s home game against the Nashville Predators. Starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom was scratched due to personal reasons, and while backup Josh Harding was ready to step in and make the start, emergency call-up Matt Hackett was flying in from Houston, and the team was unsure if he would be on time for the pregame warm ups.

So the Wild went to Plan B and signed 51-year-old Paul Deutsch, a print shop owner and occasional beer league goalie, because league rules prohibited them from signing an emergency backup with pro experience.

Deutsch is buddies with former Minny assistant Mike Ramsey, and had, on occasion, filled in at Wild practices when the regular goalies were nursing injuries, so the 51-year-old was an obvious choice when the team had no other options for the game against the Preds.

Alas Deutsch was scratched after warm ups because Hackett made it to the arena in time for the game to backup Harding. Still, for a brief moment, Paul Deutsch, a 51-year-old print shop owner, rec league goalie, father, and all-around good guy was the backup goalie for the Minnesota Wild of the NHL, who not only had signed his first (and probably only) pro contract hours before the game, but hadn’t taken up the art of goaltending until his late thirties. I bet the only person happier to see Hackett show up on time for the game than the Minnesota Wild was Deutsch himself. It’s all fun and such to suit up as the Wild’s backup goalie for the skate around, but I don’t think he would have gotten too many kicks had something happened to Harding and he actually had to go in and face a Shea Weber slapshot.

[Star Tribune, image via @cjzero]

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