In the last week, the goalie position for the Florida Panthers has become like being a drummer for Spinal Tap. Anyone who gets between the pipes for the Cats has inevitably met with an injury. It's been so bad that the Panthers are not only down to their third-string goalie but they're holding an open tryout for anyone out there who has ever dreamed of being a goalie in the NHL.
That's right. The Panthers are set to host their "Goal of a Lifetime" contest where you can try to prove you have what it takes to be goalie for the Cats. Of course, there's a caveat. But still, you never know when this kind of thing can lead to a life-altering moment, followed by a book deal, followed by a Disney movie where you're portrayed by Jon Hamm.
The caveat is that the winner will serve as a backup goalie for practice only, so you won't be participating in an actual game. But with the way things have been going for the Panthers' goalie situation, this honestly has some real possibilities of accidentally getting you out there during an actual game.
Last week, starting goalie Roberto Luongo was hit by a puck in the head in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. His backup, Al Montoya, entered the game in Luongo's place and was himself injured, leading the Cats to seriously thinking about having goalie coach, 41-year-old Robb Tallas, suit up, sign an emergency contract, and get on the ice to finish the game. Luongo, who had showered and changed into a suit following his injury, told the team he could go back in if the team truly needed him. Tallas was expected to suit up, but Luongo changed back into his uniform and came out onto the ice.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 4, 2015
This all really happened. And now the Panthers are down to their third-string goalie, Dan Ellis, who was called up with both Luongo and Montoya nursing their injuries.
Meanwhile, the Panthers are in the middle of chasing a playoff spot and in dire straights with their goalie situation.
So while the contest is for practice only, we're thinking it might actually lead to a real-life game for the winner should the Panthers keep running out of goalies.
The contest is scheduled to be held on March 16 at 4 p.m. at the BB&T Center, where Tallas himself will be evaluating the talent. Two finalists will then be chosen to compete in a shootout against former Panther players during the first intermission of the Panthers' game against Montreal on March 17. The winner of that shootout will then become the official practice goalie for a day. Or... more???
"We are very excited to launch this contest and expect a great turnout for this ultimate fan experience," said Florida Panthers Executive Chairman Peter Luukko in a news release. "This contest provides our hockey community with the opportunity to earn a chance to skate with the Panthers and serve as the team's back-up practice goalie for a day."
The winner will also receive two tickets for every remaining home game and a team-signed jersey.
Those interested must be at least 18 years old, and the contest is open to men and women. The Panthers are asking those interested to log on here to submit their playing résumé.
"We look forward to welcoming goaltenders from across South Florida to this open tryout," Tallas said. "It promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the goaltender who is selected to serve as our team's back-up practice goalie for a day."
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