MLB Hall of Famer Larry Walker to serve as honorary emergency backup goaltender for Avalanche

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Long before he became an MLB Hall of Famer, longtime Colorado Rockies slugger Larry Walker had his sights set on suiting up in the NHL. His junior hockey hopes were dashed early, but the Avalanche are giving the 53-year-old the chance to live out his dream.

Larry Walker|Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The emergency backup goalie is a big topic in the NHL these days and the Avalanche are about to employ the most famous one yet.

For Saturday’s game against the Golden Knights, the Avalanche will celebrate newly elected Baseball Hall of Famer Larry Walker by having him serve as the honorary emergency backup goalie.

After Zamboni driver David Ayres was pressed into action for the Hurricanes against the Maple Leafs last month, NHL general managers discussed amending the procedure that results once or twice per year in an average Joe being pulled out of the stands to sit on the bench, or even see ice time.

But the system remains in place, and so Walker can live out his dream of playing for an NHL team (sort of).

Before he became one of the greatest hitters in MLB history, Walker dreamed as a kid growing up in British Columbia of being an NHL goaltender. He told Sports Illustrated in 1993 that he once traveled 15 hours to Saskatchewan for a tryout with a junior team. He didn’t make it. He went back the next year and didn’t make the team that time, either.

Baseball was Walker’s backup plan. It worked out fine.

This story originally appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard.

Dan Gartland, Sports Illustrated

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Dan Gartland, Sports Illustrated