Original Article from The Arizona Republic
Nathan Schoenfeld was at home bathing his five-week old twin boys when he got word his services might be needed elsewhere for the night.
The Coyotes’ head equipment manager – and Schoenfeld’s father-in-law – Stan Wilson sent Schoenfeld a text message around 6 p.m. to let him know backup goalie Anders Lindback may have suffered an injury leading up to puck drop.
Really? Schoenfeld wrote back.
Yeah. Pack your bag, Wilson replied.
This was the first season Schoenfeld served as the Coyotes’ emergency goaltender in Arizona and he fulfilled the role Monday against the Canadiens, sitting on the bench for a 6-2 win at Gila River Arena.
“I don’t know if I have the words quite yet,” he said. “It will probably take a bit to soak in. Just go home and sit with my family and just enjoy the night.”
Schoenfeld isn’t an unfamiliar face to the Coyotes.
He skated with players in the summer, and his dad, Jim, was the team’s coach 1997-1999. Although he skates with the Coyotes’ alumni and was on the ice for a game last Wednesday, he hasn’t played a competitive game since 2006 when he represented Arizona State’s club hockey team.
This isn’t the first time the Coyotes have had to find a goalie on short notice.
During the 2010-2011 season while on a road trip, the Coyotes needed another netminder after Ilya Bryzgalov became ill. Jason LaBarbera started Dec.16 against the Rangers in New York, and the team tabbed Tom Fenton as its backup. Fenton was a graduate student and hockey coach at Manhattanville College in New York.
Every team must provide the NHL with a name of a goalie in its market who could dress in case of an emergency.
“I don’t think I’m game-ready but ready in case they need me to sit on the bench,” Schoenfeld said.
Schoenfeld, who lives north of the Desert Ridge area in the Valley, is a relations manager at a bank and had the day off because of the Presidents Day holiday.
“Traffic was pretty good,” he said. “Luckily I didn’t have to break any laws to get here in time.”
The 31-year-old arrived at the rink around 6:30 p.m. – just in time to suit up and sign an amateur tryout agreement. On his drive over, he called his dad who is currently an assistant general manager with the Rangers to ask if he had any New York scouts at the game.
“I said, ‘Well if you do, let them know to check out the backup goaltender tonight,’” Schoenfeld said. “So he got a kick out of the call.”
Schoenfeld didn’t participate in the team’s warm-up, but he did skate onto the ice with the group for the start of the game. After that, he took a seat at the end of the bench in a No.40 jersey and a black hat.
“Nate, he’s not like a stranger,” coach Dave Tippett said. “He’s been around in the summer. He skated with the guys at the Ice Den, so it’s not that much different. But you can see the little kid in him is coming out. He’s got a big smile on his face as the action’s going. I was trying to hear if he was yelling at the other players, chirping anybody. He was pretty quiet there.”
After the game, Schoenfeld was awarded the team’s game belt. He was still sitting in his pads at a locker stall when most other players had cleared out.
“I was just going to keep my jersey on and stay here as long as I could,” he said. “But I think eventually I’ll have to go home.”
While Schoenfeld was able to fill-in on short notice, it sounds like the Coyotes will need to find a more permanent option for their No.2 role.
Lindback suffered an off-ice, lower-body injury, Tippett said. When asked how the injury happened, Tippett said he didn’t know all the particulars yet.
“It doesn’t look good,” he said. “We’ll get some more tests (Tuesday), but I think it’s a fairly serious injury. So we’ll see where it goes to from there.”
The Coyotes will likely call up a goaltender, but Tippett didn’t anticipate the player arriving in time for Tuesday’s practice.
But the team sure seemed to appreciate having Schoenfeld show up last-minute to help round out the roster against the Canadiens.
“He’s a real nice person, real well-liked by the players,” Tippett said. “He skates with the players in the summer, so it’s not as if somebody just walked in off the street. The other thing is his dad’s been around the game a long time, so he knows what an NHL dressing room’s like. But it’s still fun to see a guy sit in there after the game, sit in his equipment and take it all in.”
Arizona Coyotes call on emergency backup Nathan Schoenfeld after Anders Lindback injured prior to game
TUESDAY UPDATE: Schoenfeld sticks around, practices with team
Emergency goalie Nathan Schoenfeld sticks around for Arizona Coyotes practice