At the Blue Jackets morning practice on 3/28/12, Columbus goaltender Steve Mason took a puck to the mask and was ruled out for that night's game against the Detroit Red Wings. Columbus was already quite thin in net with veteran started Curtis Sanford and the promising Mark Dekanich being out for the season. Another former college goalie, Allen York from RPI, with 180-odd minutes of NHL experience was set to start the game. Columbus had no other healthy goalies with NHL contracts.
Needing a backup, Columbus called Michigan coach Red Berenson and asked if Shawn Hunwick was available. Fresh off a season ending loss a few days before, the 2012 Hobey Baker Award finalist was more than willing to take a trip down US 23 and join the Blue Jackets. His Michigan teammates would joke that his 2003 Ford Ranger might not make the trip.
The 5'6" goaltender packed his gear, complete with winged helmet and headed 3 hours south to the heart of Buckeye country. He spoke briefly with Columbus GM Scott Howson and signed an amateur try out contract so he could back up York. As if things weren't quite crazy enough, the game between the last place Blue Jackets and playoff bound Red Wings was being broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
In warmups, unbelievably small and decked out in full Michigan gear, he was quite a sight. In the end, he took a few pucks in the warmup and skated around, talking with fellow UM alum Jack Johnson and getting encouragement from his new teammates, each of them aware of what a special opportunity this was for him.
Today's featured jersey is a 2011-12 Columbus Blue Jackets Shawn Hunwick alternate jersey. Due to the quick call up, 2010-11 Set Stamp, and evidence of a nameplate change, it would appear that this is a recycled 2010-11 David LeNeveu jersey. It has very light wear as you might expect, having been shared by two backup goalies. The puck mark on the right shoulder is not there pregame photos, but is there when he is shown on the bench by NBCSN.
Hunwick got an early mention from Doc Emerick and some extra attention at the rink, but in the end, York would play the entire game and get his first career victory. The day after the Red Wings game, Hunwick signed a contract with Columbus for the rest of the season and would finally get into a game for the Blue Jackets home finale. That jersey is also in the hands of some lucky fan, since it was a "jersey off their backs" night.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2011-12 Columbus Blue Jackets Allen York alternate jersey, worn during the same game. As mentioned, the RPI alum earned his first career victory wearing this shirt with a stellar 29 save effort, also earning the game's first star.
Thanks to John for taking the time to photograph his jersey and share the story of his jersey from that unique set of circumstances. We really appreciate the efforts involved when our readers take the time and effort to share their jerseys.
Only Columbus could have more injured goaltenders than other teams have on their entire roster.