The AHL’s Ontario Reign needed two goalies on short notice so turned to 22 year old Jonah Imoo to start between the pipes, while his 46-year-old father Dusty was his backup.
The Los Angeles Kings’ goaltending woes resulted in some interesting hockey history on Saturday night.
When goalie Jeff Zatkoff was injured during practice and Jack Campbell needed to be recalled to the NHL, it created not one but two openings between the pipes for their AHL team, the Ontario Reign.
The Reign handed the starter’s job to 22-year-old goalie Jonah Imoo on an emergency basis for their game Saturday night against the San Jose Barracuda. Imoo’s backup goalie for the evening? His father, Dusty.
Dusty Imoo, 46, is a goalie development coach in the Kings’ organization, and got to watch his son’s AHL debut up close and personal, in full uniform, on the Reign bench. Jonah Imoo spent four seasons playing in the BCHL and had split last season in the Federal Hockey League and Southern Professional Hockey League before a finger injury and surgery ended his season after just three games.
Imoo stopped 26-of-31 shots and the Reign lost 5-4 in overtime but it didn’t diminish the special moment for father and son.
“Old man crying, even as I think about it I kind of well up,” Dusty told NHL.com. “It’s emotional. It’s weird. I watched him play exhibition games with us this season, the rookie games. I saw him put on a NHL jersey and it was all heartwarming to see, but this is different. . . I walked into the dressing room before anyone was there and I see the two jerseys and our nameplates.”
Earlier tonight, Jonah Imoo and Dusty Imoo took the ice as a father and son goaltending duo!
Posted by Ontario Reign on Saturday, October 22, 2016
Dusty Imoo had a long career playing in professional leagues in Asia, including suiting up for the Japanese national team at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano. His son’s career is just beginning but got off to a memorable start.
“I found out I was starting after morning skate,” Jonah said. “As I was getting undressed, one of the trainers said, ‘Guess who is backing you up tonight?’ And he put in another Imoo nametag in the stall next to me. I couldn’t believe it. It was pretty surreal.”
The Kings, of course, lost Jonathan Quick to an injury in their opening game of the season. With Zatkoff hurt, that mean both Reign goalies — Peter Budaj and Campbell — were recalled to the NHL. It means the younger Imoo might be sticking around a little while longer. Though that’s probably not the case for dad.
“I don’t think they want a 46-year-old backup for too long,” Dusty told Jim Alexander of the Press Enterprise.