Eric Semborski’s dream came true when he stepped on the ice as an NHL goaltender, albeit an emergency backup, on Dec. 3, and now he’s got an incredible piece of memorabilia to show for it.
Just days after the 23-year-old made his rookie debut, trading card company Topps has unveiled the official Eric Semborski rookie card. That’s right: the 23-year-old has his very own trading card. The card is part of Topps’ NOW series, which features milestone or memorable moments and are made available shortly after the achievement.
Semborski’s stint as the Blackhawks emergency goaltender came due to regular starting netminder Corey Crawford was sent to hospital to undergo an appendectomy. The Blackhawks were scrambling to find a replacement for Crawford, and a backup for Scott Darling, when they started asking around to find an emergency amateur netminder to fill in.
Semborski, a former goaltender at Temple University, was working with children at the Flyers’ practice facility when he was called to sign on for emergency duty. Hilariously, Semborski wore a Blackhawks No. 50 jersey — which most will recognize as Crawford’s number — when he took the ice for warmup. Of the chance to stop NHL shots in warmup, Semborski said it was the best moment of his life.
“I was a bit rusty. No matter how much I play I’m not going to be ready for them,” Semborski said, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Hine. “It was fast. I couldn’t even catch my breath because I was trying to take it all in.”
Possibly the only thing that could have made the moment better was if Semborski actually got into the game and, as it turns out, that was very nearly the case. Post-game, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said that had the Flyers scored on the empty net to stretch their lead in the Saturday afternoon contest, he would have thrown Semborski into the net for the final minute of the outing.
As for the card, there’s no chance it will be worth anything near what a Connor McDavid rookie card will be worth in a decade, but it’s certainly a nice piece of merchandise for the one-day NHL netminder.
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