When you think of Devils goalies with the number 30, obviously there is only one name that could possibly come to mind, and that name is…Chad Erickson.
Chad played three years at the University of Minnesota – Duluth, before joining the Utica Devils in the 1991-92 season. He would play 43 games that season, and somewhere in the midst of that, was called up to play for the New Jersey Devils.
His first game was on March 22, 1992, a road game against the New York Rangers. Chad yielded six goals in a 6-3 loss.
He would play only one other NHL game, two days later on March 24, 1992. This was a home game against the brand new NHL franchise, the San Jose Sharks. I remember this game very vividly, because as it happens, 15 year old me was in attendance.
Whenever I had tickets back then, I was looking to watch Chris Terreri. I cannot remember why Chris was not playing, but I do remember Chad Erickson getting the call, and the only thing I really knew about him at the time was that he had played the previous game and we had lost.
But that night was a different night. Chad gave up three, but the Devils scored four. By the end of the game, we were screaming for Chad and rooting as hard as we could for that first NHL win. And wouldn’t you know it, it happened.
The story for Chad would be short lived, however, as he did not play another game at the NHL level. Two days later, the Devils would see another goalie make his NHL debut, wearing #29. That goalie was Martin Brodeur. That makes Chad Erickson the answer to a trivia question, as the last Devils goalie to start a game before Martin Brodeur, who would be around for the next 24 years.
Chad continued to play professionally for various teams in the AHL and in other leagues, before eventually retiring in 2001.
I wrote to Chad using an address I received from another collector in July 2021, in the early days of this project. I knew finding a signed puck of a guy who played only two NHL games is a tough task, so I figured it was worth a shot. I received no response.
I sent a follow up letter in August, no response again. Then I sought out other addresses, found one, sent out another puck. Nothing.
I have no idea how requests like this are received by former players. I am sure some love the opportunity to sign for fans and some don’t. So there was no way to know which camp Chad fell into.
Nearly 7 months later, a package arrives in the mail. It contains not only a signed puck, but both of my letters, and a handwritten note on one apologizing for the delay. Evidence that Chad is an awesome guy, as there is no reason to apologize for a delay in doing something that you had no reason or obligation to do!
I am beyond excited to have added this puck to the collection, and it only renews my desire to obtain the remaining two and complete this collection!