When I took a hockey first-timer to a minor league hockey game about a month ago, she asked an amusing question: “Why do the goalies get water bottles?” My answer was simple: goalies are on the ice for the entire game (more or less) and don’t have the same “access” to water as players who sit on the bench during line changes.
But one thing I didn’t know was who started doing that (or when, really). The great Scotty Wazz explained the origins of this practice while discussing the career of former New Jersey Devils goalie Chris Terreri.
During that three overtime game in the tournament, Terreri and BC goalie Scott Gordon skated to their nets during one of the overtime periods and placed a water bottle on top of their nets. It was the first time this practice was used and showed a sign of solidarity, as both agreed to take one rather than having the playing field unbalanced. Bob Froese was the first NHL goalie to use a water bottle in those 1985 playoffs, though the Islanders called foul on Froese and the Flyers at first, the bottle stayed (because it was velcroed to the net) and it went into practice full-time the next season.
One of the coolest goals in hockey is the “top shelf, knocking off the water bottle” goal. I’m also a big fan of the “casually drinking from a water bottle to show that goal didn’t bother me” move goalies employ, which I believe is the modern answer to Ken Dryden leaning on his goalie stick to imply indifference. We can thank Terreri, in part, for both of those subtle gems.
Sometimes people (rightly) say that a particular invention probably would exist even if that specific person didn’t stumble on it and the water bottle on the net seems like a good example. After all, the idea just seems so obvious.
Still, while many Devils fans think of Terreri as “the guy who came before Martin Brodeur,” I will think of him as the Eli Whitney of goalie hydration.
(H/T to Hockey or Die)