Exploring NHL Emergency Goalies: Who are they and what do they earn?

In the world of professional ice hockey, the NHL emergency goalies are the unsung heroes, ready to step into the spotlight at a moment’s notice. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating realm of these unexpected saviors, highlighting their contributions and shedding light on their salaries.

The Roster of NHL Emergency Goalies

The list of NHL emergency goalies features names that have etched their mark in the annals of hockey history. Let’s take a closer look at these extraordinary individuals:

#NameTeam Played For
1Jorge AlvesCarolina Hurricanes
2Scott FosterChicago Blackhawks
3David AyresCarolina Hurricanes
4Thomas HodgesAnaheim Ducks
5Matt BerlinEdmonton Oilers
6Jett AlexanderColorado Avalanche
NHL Emergency Goalies List

Jorge Alves: Carolina Hurricanes

Jorge Alves, born on January 30, 1979, in Stoughton, Massachusetts, exemplified the spirit of a true emergency goalie. When Eddie Lack couldn’t take the ice in 2016, Alves, who also served as the equipment manager for the team, stepped in. His seven minutes of fame became a testament to dedication and readiness.

Scott Foster: Chicago Blackhawks

In March 2018, Scott Foster, a professional accountant by day, became an unexpected hero for the Chicago Blackhawks. When both roster goalies were injured, Foster was thrust into action for the final 14 minutes of the game, making history by saving all seven shots he faced.

David Ayres: Carolina Hurricanes

David Ayres, a Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies, entered the record books as the first emergency goalie to secure a victory in the NHL. On February 22, 2020, he helped the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, making eight crucial saves during his 30 minutes on the ice.

Thomas Hodges: Anaheim Ducks

Thomas Hodges, a 29 year old life insurance salesman, got his moment in the spotlight when he played for the Anaheim Ducks on April 29, 2022.

He signed a one-game contract with the NHL, making two saves and earning a cherished game puck.

Matt Berlin: Edmonton Oilers

Matt Berlin, a non-professional player, was called upon to defend the Edmonton Oilers’ net on January 28, 2023. When the team faced a roster goalie shortage due to injury, Berlin rose to the occasion, blocking shots and showcasing his passion for the game.

Jett Alexander: Colorado Avalanche

Jett Alexander, an enthusiastic ice hockey athlete, made his NHL debut on April 8, 2023, for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He stepped in as a substitute for Ilya Samsonov, impressing fans with his agility and determination. Alexander, a student at the University of Toronto, balances his studies with his love for the game.

NHL Emergency Goalie Rules

Understanding the rules that govern NHL emergency goalies is crucial:

  • Every NHL team must have two or three netminders, with one in the lineup and the rest as backups.
  • In the event of a roster goalie’s injury, the backup goalie takes their place.
  • Each NHL club must provide the name of an eligible standby goalie to prevent any goalie shortage.
  • The emergency goalie can play for either team on the ice, adding an element of unpredictability to their role.

Emergency Goalie Salaries

The compensation for NHL emergency goalies varies, typically averaging around $4,000 per day. However, their pay isn’t fixed, as they don’t have full contracts with the NHL. The sporadic nature of their appearances and the fact that they mostly serve as standbys contribute to their unique salary structure.

Notable NHL Goaltender Salaries

While emergency goalies earn a respectable amount, their salaries pale in comparison to those of established NHL goaltenders. Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers boasts the highest annual salary at $12 million, followed by Andrei Vasilevskiy at $11 million and Jacob Markstrom at $8 million.

The Uncertain Path of an Emergency Backup Goalie

Emergency backup goalies may make around $4,000 per day, but their journey is filled with uncertainty. Unlike regular roster goalies, they don’t have guaranteed contracts, and they only step onto the ice when both roster goalies are sidelined. This rarity in gameplay makes their role unique in the NHL.

Handling Injuries: A Contingency Plan

In the NHL, injuries can happen at any moment, and emergency goalies must be ready. If an emergency goalie gets hurt during a game, the team has the option to dress and play any qualified goalie available. This ensures that the game can continue with minimal disruptions.


NHL emergency goalies are a testament to the unpredictability and excitement of professional ice hockey. Their readiness to step into the breach and make crucial saves adds an element of drama to the sport. While they may not earn as much as their regular roster counterparts, their contributions to the game are immeasurable. These unsung heroes continue to inspire and captivate fans with their resilience and passion for the sport.

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