Oiler’s surprise goalie pulled out of college to play in the NHL
Not many full-time college students get a chance in the NHL, but the Edmonton Oilers gave that chance to University of Alberta netminder Matt Berlin on Saturday.
It wasn’t until about three hours before the puck was dropped that Matt Berlin knew he was going to be an NHL fan – and it wasn’t until the end of the 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks that he found out. he was coming into the game.
The 25-year-old came on at 2:26 in the third period, made one stop against Chicago’s Caleb Jones and got into hockey trivia.
“Actually, I’m sitting there doing homework and my heart rate is shooting up, ‘Oh my god, what’s up’, so it was not a bad day,” Berlin said after the game, after being dropped from his psychology degree. . “It was amazing and everyone was so welcoming when I came in.”
EBUG BUILT 👀
Matt Berlin from the University of Alberta (@GBHKY), dressed for the @EdmontonOilers Tonight. He saw 2:26 on the ice, made a save on a shot for 1,000 SVP% and a memory that will last a lifetime. pic.twitter.com/go9fvADKPH
— NHL (@NHL) January 29, 2023
A fourth-year goaltender with the Alberta Golden Bears, he was called up as an emergency backup to Jack Campbell against Chicago after Stuart Skinner was declared unfit to play.
He trained with the Oilers in the past and primarily in a backup role helped the Golden Bears, playing five games this season and helping them reach the 2022 College Cup Final.
With a big lead over Chicago, plans changed to bench him and watch Connor McDavid. Head coach Jay Woodcroft came up with the idea of sending him into the game while Campbell and his Oilers teammates were also on board.
Matt Berlin thought Jay Woodcroft was joking when he said they were going to the net to end the game, but he was thrilled with the chance to attend an NHL game. He said his save was the most memorable of his career #Oiler pic.twitter.com/irkOmDaARY
— Avry Sports Show (@Avry) January 29, 2023
“It was intended for no other purpose than to give a young man an experience of a lifetime that he will never forget,” Woodcroft said. “We came from the players, we talked about it on the bench and we wanted to make sure we were doing it in a respectful way… we just wanted to give someone a chance to remember for the rest of their life.”
Despite not playing with former teammate Kailer Yamamoto, Berlin did the legendary interview “Hockey Night in Canada” with Scott Oak and got to hold the towel. The night was free; With him on an amateur Test contract, however, he cannot sign a pro contract as he has not played professional hockey before.
Golden Bears and U SPORTS, are not new to the NHL
Berlin’s contrasting green and gold pads wouldn’t have stuck out like a sore thumb with the Oilers anymore. Still, he wasn’t the only Golden Bears ice hockey connection, as Edmonton forward Derek Ryan played for the program from 2007 to 2011. Additionally, former U SPORTS Player of the Year Luke Philp was a healthy scratch for Chicago.
The Golden Bears also played on Saturday night and beat the Regina Cougars 8-4.
Boris Katchouk scores his 2nd goal of the season after suffering a healthy scratch in the last 9 games.
Luke Philp also records his first career NHL point with a primary assist. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/r6KZVBrahl
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRumeliotis) January 27, 2023
Berlin became the 15th Golden Bear to make the NHL, becoming the third U SPORTS goaltender in the last two years to have an NHL season, along with Vegas NHL All-Star and alumnus of Brock Logan Thompson Badgers, and Zach Sawchenko, former Alberta golden tender. who saw time with the San Jose Sharks.
From the Brock Badgers to Team Canada to the NHL All-Star Game.
Logan Thompson’s incredible rise continues as he represents the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2023 NHL All-Star Game.
Simply incredible – among, if not the best of U SPORTS. pic.twitter.com/QYo7XUc1XS
— Ben Steiner (@BenSteiner00) January 6, 2023
The greatest Golden Bear to ever play in the NHL was Randy Gregg, who won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers in the 1980s.
Other recent teams using the U SPORTS EBUG include the Toronto Maple Leafs with University of Toronto goalie Alex Bishop, the Colorado Avalanche with Bishop’s former backup Jett Alexander, and the Vancouver Canucks with former goalie -UBC Rylan toth
It may be the last time Berlin will look at an NHL shot, but it likely won’t be the last time he plays professional hockey as his strong performance as a goaltender at the collegiate level Canadian puts minor league and European contracts within reach.
“You never know what might come your way,” McDavid said. “Maybe one day we will see him in the league. Today he plays in the NHL. He can hang his hat on that for a while.”