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Can You Spare a Goalie?

Back in the day professional hockey teams did not have a back-up goalie on their rosters. They carried “house goalies” in which the home team was responsible for making sure a decent puckstopper was in the building for each game. At a time when teams were required to only carry one netminder, these standby goalies didn’t dress for the game but would leave their arena seats and head to the dressing room if either team’s netminder went down. The game was delayed until he could get his gear on and take warm-up shots. Some would also be the team's practice goalie. In November 1955, 20 year old schoolboy George Dermksian (Central High and Bridgton Academy) went into the Pittsburgh Hornets nets after Hornets Goalie Gil Mayer was hit in the nose by a shot by the Providence Reds Jimmy Bartlett in the second minute of the third period with the Reds leading 4-1. Dermksian didn't surrender a goal as the Reds prevailed 6-1. This would not be the only time Dermksian rescued Mayer. Two seasons later, in February 1958, Mayer now playing for the Hershey Bears, sprained his right ankle in the first period. Dermksian was summoned from the stands and came up with a performance that was hailed by the crowd of 5679. He guarded the net for all but five minutes and 22 seconds giving up four goals and making 26 saves as Hershey topped the Providence Reds 6-5.