Strange But True: No Goalie Needed

When a team is losing in the final moments of a hockey game, it is quite common to see the goalie pulled out of the game and replaced by a third forward. Then six offensive men go storming down the ice trying to tie the score. Pulling the goalie sometimes works, but it often backfires, too. If the defending team can get a shot on the empty goal, it can just about end the game.

In 1950, Babe Pratt, a legendary player in his younger days, was coach of New Westminster in the old Pacific Coast Hockey League. One night New Westminster was losing to Vancouver, 6-2, with 14 minutes left to play. Pratt realized that his goalie wasn’t helping the team, so he took him out of the game and replaced him with an offensive man.

The fans thought he was crazy, but Pratt felt he had nothing to lose. For most of the remaining minutes there was no goalie in the New Westminster net. Luckily, New Westminster was tremendously successful controlling the puck. In 14 minutes without a goalie, they allowed no goals and scored four themselves, to tie up the game, 6-6.

From The Giant Book of Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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