For those of you who missed this gem of a story, last week the Phoenix Coyotes were scheduled to play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Shortly before gametime Ilya Bryzgalov, the team’s starting goalie, came down with the flu. Lacking the time to call up a reserve from the minors, the team scoured New York for an available amateur goalie.
They found Tom Fenton, a former goalie for American International College who, in 2009, went 1-12-1 with a 3.60 goals-against average that season. Fenton is now a grad student and coach at Manhattanville College, where I teach. One of my students, Scott Hudson, plays for the Division III Valiants. He had this to say …
Let me preface this story by saying, now that Tom Fenton has hit the big time, he better remember his friends at Manhattanville College.
You see, thanks to the exciting opportunity Tom received with the Rangers on Thursday, his pockets and his dreams are now more full then he could have previously imagined. I am guessing that for a one day NHL contract Fenton could expect to make at least $5000—so we, the schmucks he coaches back at M-Ville, are expecting some really good Christmas presents with his new found wealth.
All the money aside, the coverage of Fenton’s recently found national fame has given the boys quite a bit of material for when we come back after the Christmas break. The news has become huge. Fenton was featured as the main story and video banner on NHL.com, and he was interviewed on MSG, FSN and ESPN. Suffice to say the guys on the team are loving every minute of it and are not soon to forget Fenton’s chance to ride the pine in the NHL.
My personal favorite headline was the story featured on the NHL site, “Yotes sign man off street”. The guys watching the game on TV got a good laugh out of the title, which seemed to insinuate the Coyotes pulled Tom off of Broadway as he was scalping tickets.
Truth is, we are just happy Tom survived the warm-ups. I am going to fill you in on a hockey secret: Goalies are weird. There is an unwritten rule during warm-ups that you don’t shoot high and hard in warm-ups because you might hit the starting goalie in the head, thus getting him “rattled” and throwing him off his game. But towards the end of warm-ups the starting goalie leaves and the back-up comes in to face the firing squad. For the players, this is their chance to let loose and warm-up their shot without worrying about hurting the starter. We do this in Division III hockey, so I am guessing when a “man off the street” took the nets toward the end of warm ups, that the Coyotes players did not let up on him. I know myself and the guys on the team would have paid a lot of money just to see Tom out there with the world’s best hockey players whizzing pucks past him. But as Shane Doan states in the article, Fenton did really well. Tom was the talk of the room after warm-ups.
All joking aside, Tom Fenton is a fantastic representative of our school. We, the players on the Valiants hockey team are very proud to have him involved with the program. Fenton personifies the qualities our coaches hope to instill in us and we are very thankful to have him helping us out. We enjoy having Tom around and hope he is still willing to work with our team after his brief stint in the NHL.
Congratulations to Tom Fenton on his once in a life time opportunity.