PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Flyers practice rink employee from Manayunk took to the ice this weekend but the experience was far from just another work day. Eric Semborski went pro in a matter of hours to play as an emergency backup goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks in Saturday’s match up against the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.
According to NHL.com, the Hawks needed Semborski as a backup for goalie Scott Darling after being down goalie Corey Crawford due to an appendectomy. They also needed to recruit someone who wasn’t a pro and could come in under the salary cap.
Semborski, originally from Bloomsburg, Pa. practiced with the Hawks before the game and wore a jersey with his name on it. He didn’t get any official playing time, but in an interview tweeted out after the game, Semborski explained that it didn’t matter.
“It was surreal… I can’t explain it… A dream come true. That was so cool just hanging out with those guys today. They made me feel welcome right away, started joking around. Good group — it was a lot of fun.”
When asked whether he’s a Flyers fan…
“Not today,” said Semborski. “But every other day, yea.”
Semborski is no stranger to the sport. He was a goalie for Temple’s ice hockey team and still coaches and helps run leagues at Scanlon rink in Kensington and the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J.
“I’m a bit rusty but no matter how much I play I’m not going to be ready for them… So it was fast and it was just — I couldn’t even catch my breath because I was trying to take it all in.”
To top it all off, Semborski’s dad was celebrating a birthday — seeing your kid on TV as a pro hockey player, decked out in NHL gear and a jersey with your last name on the back — what could be a better present than that?
“That was the best 20 minutes of my life out there skating with them.”
The Flyers beat the Blackhawks 3-1.