St. Peter, Minn. – Former Gustavus Adophus standout goaltender and 2010 graduate Josh Swartout (St. Louis Park, Minn.) is one of the finalists for the Bud Light Search for the Next Paul Deutsch contest being held by the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League.
The contest comes following the Wild’s signing of Paul Deutsch, a beer-league goalkeeper who filled a role as Minnesota’s emergency backup netminder, on Nov. 23 against the Nashville Predators last season. Although Deutsch never saw a minute of NHL action, he singed an amateur contract with Minnesota, deeming him ineligible by the League to serve as emergency goalie.
To get to this point, everything seemed to fall into place for the former Gustie netminder, something Swartout attested to this afternoon following last night’s whirlwind. “The only reason I knew the Wild used an emergency goaltender was because I was at the game last season where the team had to call up Paul Deutsch,” said Swartout. “I was sitting in the stands thinking, ‘this is a 51-year old beer league goalie that gets called up to show for one game…how sweet is that.’ A year later, my girlfriend, Lauren, is suspiciously asking me for my hockey resume, and a week ago today I got an email from Mike Doyle of the Minnesota Wild telling me that I’ve been selected to take part in the emergency goalie contest they are putting on. A huge surprise and a crazy story, but that’s how we got here.”
After exhaustive YouTube viewing, scouring stats on hockeydb.com, and scouting various beer leagues across the State of Hockey, 11 goaltenders were selected to compete in an on-ice tryout for the preliminary round of the contest. The 11 goalies will auditioned for Wild Goaltending Coach Bob Mason, Wild Television Analyst and former NHL goalie Mike Greenlay, and legendary Wild emergency netminder Paul Deutsch on Thursday, Nov. 15.
After turning heads through the tryout portion of the contest, Josh Swartout, alongside Treye Kettwick, were selected as the two finalists to compete in a shootout against celebrity shooters during the second intermission of the Houston Aeros vs. Rockford IceHogs game at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 at Xcel Energy Center. The goalie that does the best in the shootout will be named the Wild’s next emergency goaltender, with the runner-up named next in line. The two finalists will receive an authentic Wild jersey with their name and number on the back and a Bud Light Prize Pack courtesy of Bud Light.
The 11 competing goaltenders were put through a tryout session for an hour and half at the Xcel Energy Center. “We did a little skating at the start and then went into a lot of lateral movement and goalie specific shooting drills,” said Swartout about last night’s tryout. “We split into two groups – one group was with Bob Mason and the other was with Mike Greenway. It was fun to mingle with and hear feedback from Bob, Mike, and also Paul Deutsch. Paul was great guy to talk to and it was awesome to hear about his experience last year.”
Although Swartout admits to not being in the mid-season form that Gustie fans can recall when he was turning away shots at Don Roberts Ice Rink two years ago, he is however active in hockey both from a coaching and playing standpoint. “I help coach the girls high school team in St. Louis Park, so I’m on my skates a lot, yet not necessarily doing goalie specific drills. To be honest, I haven’t been playing goalie for a while, so I just went into this thinking why not go out and have a good time. I had a good feeling through the tryout, but it’s all still a blur and I was just in and enjoying the moment,” said a still shell-shocked Swartout.
“Minnesotans need their hockey fix and this is a probably bigger deal because of the lockout, so I guess I have that to thank,” joked Swartout. “In all, it’s fun to be back on the ice and I’m trying to take the whole experience in. The contest aside, this has been a fun ride.”
Swartout finished his Gustavus career 45-25-5 overall with a 2.51 goals against average and a .899 save percentage. He logged 4,524:29 minutes between the pipes and recorded six shutouts. A two-time All-Conference performer, Swartout is one of just six Gustavus goaltenders in the history of the program to register over 40 career wins, ranking fourth all-time with 45.
A special thanks to the Minnesota Wild for contributing to this release.