When the Stars take on Ontario in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, they hope Mike McKenna and Landon Bow can avoid injury or getting sick. But if disaster strikes, Texas knows who to call.
“I’ve now been with Chicago Wolves, Manitoba, San Antonio and the Stars,” Rick Plester said. “So I’ve played for all those teams in the last few years.”
Well, not exactly. Plester, a 52-year-old musician and former minor league hockey player, has suited up for all four of those teams, but he’s never gotten on the ice in an actual game.
“We’re still working on that hopefully, haha,” Plester joked.
Because most hockey teams only carry two goalies on their roster, if disaster strikes, they have to turn to an amateur emergency backup goalie, or an ebug, like Plester.
“Can you imagine if you lose both quarterbacks and you gotta pull a guy outta the stands to quarterback the team,” Stars head coach Derek Laxdal asked. “That’s exactly what happens in hockey, so it’s crazy.”
While it’s not an ideal situation, if an ebug ever does get in a game, it can give a team a shot of life.
“It’s a unique situation,” Laxdal said. “It’s kind of interesting. It brings a lot of energy sometimes to the group because at the end of the day, it is only a game. It allows players to step back and have a smile and kind of release a little bit of that tension sometimes.”
“I suppose there’s nothing to lose,” Plester said. “For myself, I think that I would have, if I got the chance to play and I let in a goal or two, I’d probably, just like normal, I’d be upset at myself.”
But even if he never gets that opportunity, he’s still had fun on the ride.
“If it ended now, and I don’t get the call again, hey, I’ve got nothing to complain about,” Plester said. “But we always are hoping for the phone to ring.”
Just don’t blame the Stars for hoping they never have to make the call.