Does The Emergency Backup Rule Make Sense?


Reading Royals occasional emergency backup Nick Niedert plays in last night’s EPHL Jersey Rockhoppers game.  Photo: Mike Ashmore

To answer the question raised in the headline, no it doesn’t.  In fact, in many cases, it makes the league look like a joke.

The emergency backup position is often filled by guys who either haven’t played in years or even equipment managers.  But that’s not even my biggest problem with it.

The big issue I have is that you’re paying a player to do nothing.  The ECHL’s emergency backup goaltender rules state that he can only play in the event of an injury to the starter, and that it can’t be based off of performance.

So while this may work out in the best interests of those who fill the position who have little business wearing a jersey, what does it do to the guys who are trying to work their way up to one day play in the ECHL and perhaps advance through the higher levels.

What does this rule do to…say, Nick Niedert?

In camp with the Reading Royals this season, he didn’t make the cut as the team instead went with ex-NHL’er Danny Taylor and Maple Leafs prospect James Reimer.

Niedert is undersized at just five feet, eight inches tall, and has played in more “A” leagues than you probably knew existed.  He’s got time in the NAHL, CEHL, SPHL, MAHL and now the EPHL, where he’s currently employed by the upstart Jersey Rockhoppers.

On several occasions already this season, Niedert has been used by the Reading Royals as an emergency backup.  And by used, I mean he was chained to the bench for a few games, with next to no chance to get to play in an actual game.

For someone who’s been trying for as long as he has just to get to the ECHL level, what benefit is there for him to not be able to actually play once he gets there?

There are plenty of capable goaltenders available once a roster spot opens up in the ECHL.  Perhaps it’s time for the ECHL to do away with the emergency backup rules, and force teams to acquire goalies who can actually play if needed.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT


3 Responses to “Does The Emergency Backup Rule Make Sense?”

  1. Al (PhillyDevil) Says:

    I say do away wit the rule, Sorry Anthony!

  2. chiarams Says:

    I think a lot of it has to do with the cap.

    And I disagree that there are ample decent goalies to play at this level. A guy like Neidert or Conti, or any of the other numerous EBUGs the Titans/Devils have used over the years aren’t capable of playing at this level long-term.

  3. Bobby Says:

    Yes, it is a salary cap rule. EBUG’s are generally local players who are called in case of injury.

    Also the EBUG is used in “dire” situations. South Carolina had TWO EBUGS against Florida Saturday when both of their goaltenders were recalled — Neuvirth by Washington and Goephert by Hershey. DeBono, the backup EBUG, is a local (Estero) player. The other player, Vigier, is an SPHL (single A) goaltender who got the call-up for one day and for legal reasons, was listed as an EBUG since the Stingrays recalled him from an SPHL team for one game. This allows the SPHL team to pay the player while he is being scouted by an ECHL team in this emergency situation.

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