11:37 a.m. Post updated with background on Conacher.
The past few days have been crazy for many NHL organizations but the Vancouver Canucks wore the crown last night. After last year’s deal that sent then starting goalie Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils, Vancouver just dealt goalie Roberto Luongo back to the Florida Panthers, his original NHL team. In return, the Canucks received top goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom and centerman Shawn Matthias.
Vancouver had to conjure up a contingency plan since Luongo was gone. 26 year old NORRTÄLJE, SWEDEN native, Eddie Lack, would start but Luongo’s absence also meant the Canucks were without a backup goalie for last night’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes. It was physically impossible for Markstrom to fly to Phoenix from Florida in time for puck drop.
So Pat Conacher was announced as the Canucks backup goalie. If Lack got injured Conacher was expected to mind the crease. If Lack got hurt in the first minute, conceivably Conacher could play 59 minutes of professional hockey.
Many fans nearly had internet aneurysms after the announcement.
The Pat Conacher they remembered won the Stanley Cup in 1984 with the Oilers and is now 54 years old and Director of Hockey Operations for the Utica Comets. The Canucks should have clarified they meant Pat Conacher Jr–especially considering their fan base is probably outside the arena right now with pitchforks and torches–as trading away two premier goalies in two seasons to bet on Lack, who has played only 26 games in his NHL debut season, can ill afford to piss off their fanbase any more.
The younger Pat Conacher is listed at 6’0″, 181 lbs and 29 years of age. He last played in 2005 in the BCHL for the Cowichan Valley Capitals. According to Hockey-2.com, Conacher is now a goalie coach for World Pro Goaltending, an organization that puts on hockey clinics around Canada. Here is his hockey career arc as told by World Pro,
Pat Conacher joined our staff in the summer of 2012 and premiered with World Pro in 2011 as an instructor but is very familiar with our school, having trained with World Pro during his playing days. Pat played his minor hockey in the Calgary Royals organization, and went on playing for 3 different teams at the Junior “A” level. Pat also played for Concordia university College team and had a brief stint in the ECHL. Following his playing career, Pat has coached at the AA Bantam level and is now a scout for the Victoria Royals (WHL). Pat was promoted to our full time staff in December 2011 and is looking forward to dedicating himself to helping goalies get to the next level.
Do you think yesterday morning Pat foresaw himself getting to the next level? I’d bet a copy of South Park’s new game (a very valuable commodity) he didn’t. Luongo was blindsided by the trade and even spoke in the morning, hours before gametime, about how excited he was to compete against the Coyotes… I mean, the whole thing really reads like one of those quirky stories in the NHL Encyclopedia I got for Christmas in 8th grade. In fact, that book was full of stories like this and I won’t be surprised to see Conacher’s name go down in the 2014 edition. He’s already got a Wikipedia dedication.
Conacher was likely asked to step in
because he lives in Victoria (the game was played in Phoenix so this is not the reason.. thanks to reader, Bobby Lu, for pointing this out), about three hours and a ferry ride away from Vancouver according to Google Maps. Man, what a whirlwind it must have been for Mr. Conacher… one day you’re scouting and coaching youth hockey, the next you’re waiting in the trenches to take a slap shot to the chest pad from Keith Yandle.
While Conacher did not enter the game, Eddie Lack played very well, stopping 31 shots in a 1 – 0 losing effort to the Coyotes. He also seemed to think yesterday was taken from an episode of Twilight Zone. He explains how weird of a day it was in the clip below:
File this one away as the oddest deadline story of the 2014 NHL season.
With eight hours remaining before the trade deadline, will the Canucks make another move? Kesler or Edler to the Flyers perhaps? Either way, the Canucks have made this a memorable few days for hockey fans, players and former players – turned – scout.
The Trade Deadline is at 3 p.m. (ET) today.