GLENDALE, Ariz. — Nathan Schoenfeld was at home north of Desert Ridge with his wife, bathing their 5-month-old twin boys when he got a call from his father-in-law, who is also Coyotes equipment manager Stan Wilson.
Wilson told him backup goaltender Anders Lindback had suffered an injury prior to warm-ups so Schoenfeld needed to pack his bag and get to Gila River Arena right away so he could back up Louis Domingue when the Coyotes faced the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.
“Traffic was pretty good,” said Schoenfeld, who arrived by 6:30 and signed an amateur tryout agreement while getting dressed. “Luckily, I didn’t have to break any laws to get here.”
A new NHL rule requires every team to submit the name of an emergency goalie in their market who can suit up in a pinch when an unexpected injury, illness or other calamity reduces a team’s roster to one goalie. Schoenfeld, 31, works as a bank manager and hasn’t played competitive hockey since he played for ASU’s club team in 2006.
He is in his first year as the Coyotes’ emergency goalie, but he’s no stranger to the team. He is related to Wilson and he is also the son of ex-Coyotes coach and current New York Rangers senior vice president and assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld.
On his way to the arena, he called his dad to ask if the Rangers would have any scouts at the game. When Jim Schoenfeld asked why, Nathan told him: “If you do, let them know to check out the backup goaltender tonight.”
Coach Dave Tippett enjoyed watching Schoenfeld’s reaction on the bench.
“You can see the little kid coming out,” Tippett said. “He’s got a big smile on his face as the action is going.
“I was trying to hear if he was yelling at the other players or chirping anybody but he was pretty quiet.”
Tippett said the Coyotes would recall a goaltender from Springfield of the AHL (possible Niklas Treutle) on Tuesday, who will likely join the team on Wednesday. As for Lindback’s lower-body injury, Tippett sounded pessimistic.
“It doesn’t look good,” he said. “We’ll get some more tests but I think it’s a fairly serious injury.”
The Coyotes have been down this road before. On Dec. 17, 2010, Tom Fenton, a graduate student at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, backed up Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera against the Rangers when Ilya Bryzgalov came down with the flu for the team’s game in New York.
It’s one of those enjoyable oddities of the NHL. On Monday, it worked in Schoenfeld’s favor. After the game, the team gave him the game belt and he sat at his locker beaming, talking to media and joking that he was going to sneak his No. 40 jersey into his bag.
“He’s the lucky charm now,” center Martin Hanzal said. “That means he’s got to come back to give it away.”
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