MEQUON, Wis. – On Saturday, October 26 former Concordia University Wisconsin goalie Billy Sias got to experience something many athletes dream of. Sias, for one day, was a professional athlete as he dressed as a backup goaltender for the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.
It all started Saturday morning when Sias received a text message from Falcons head coach Jasen Wise saying that he should expect a call about a potential opportunity to play in the Stars game against the Milwaukee Admirals that night. Texas, the AHL affiliate of the NHL Dallas Stars, had one of their goalies get hurt and needed an emergency backup for the night.
"I was eating at PJ Pipers when I got a call and it was the general manager of the Texas Stars," Sias said when recounting the initial phone call between him and the organization. "He asked if I had been skating to see if I was in decent enough shape to be their emergency backup."
From there Sias got in contact with the equipment manager of the Stars, who told him to report to the BMO Harris Bradley Center by 5 p.m. From there Sias began his journey as a professional athlete and took everything in, from the warm up session to making sure he got around to seeing what it was like in a pro locker room.
"I walked around and looked at all the different things (tape, laces, food, etc.) that they supplied the players with," Sias said. "After that we had a team meeting before warmups started."
Certainly Sias was nervous as he skated onto the ice during prior to the game. Several of his CUW friends and former teammates were in attendance, snapping pictures of Sias in his professional debut. Sias, who said he mainly tried to stay out of his Stars teammates' way, got the opportunity to face several shots during warmups.
During the game, which the Stars fell by a 4-2 score, Sias had the best seat in the house. He was on the bench with other professional players, watching the Stars and Admirals battle it out on the ice.
Growing up, kids who participate in sports dream of getting the opportunity to play their favorite sport at the professional level. Billy Sias got to live that dream on October 26 with the Texas Stars.
"Being a professional hockey player for a day was an amazing experience," Sias said. "I couldn't picture a better career."