Bobby Segin was walking around the BB&T Center as he does on most Florida Panthers game nights when he received a call on Friday.
A ticket sales account manager for the Panthers, Segin also serves as the team’s unofficial emergency goaltender.
On Friday night, he became their official backup.
Segin was called in from the ticket office to the locker room on Friday night after Roberto Luongo had some sort of malady that forced him to not only miss his start against the Nashville Predators, but not even be able to serve as backup to James Reimer.
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The NHL stipulates each team needs two ready-to-play goaltenders on hand at all times; with Luongo out, the Panthers had to act fast.
Segin was more than ready to come down to the locker room, sign a contract and suit up.
“It was pretty exciting knowing that any moment you could hop in the net and do whatever you can to help the team,” said Segin, who plays goal in the Panthers’ arena staff daily hockey game each weekday morning ice is open.
“It’s nice to get a win. I like to think I’m 1-0 now.”
Segin has helped out the Panthers in the past, filling in when one of the team’s other goalies needs a day off when the team is practicing so he’s known to the players and coaches.
What many of them don’t know is how he came to the Panthers.
Well, Segin has been a longtime friend of Nick Luukko — whose father Peter was an executive with the Philadelphia Flyers and is now with the Panthers.
“I’ve known Bobby since he was 13,” Peter Luukko said.
Segin played goal and was Nick Luukko’s roommate as the two played hockey at Gunnery Prep in Connecticut. Segin went on to play hockey at UConn; Luukko went to Vermont.
After school, Segin spoke to Peter Luukko about the chance of getting a job with the Panthers. Luukko got him an interview and says Segin did the rest.
“I told Bobby, this was all up to him,” said Luukko, who scored a goal on Segin during their daily hockey game Friday morning hours before the Predators game.
“If you have a good interview, [Florida director of sales] Jim Willits will hire you. If you don’t, he won’t.
“It’s a sales job so it’s very easy to measure your success. Either you can sell or you can’t. Bobby has become a pretty solid sales guy — and our backup goalie.
“Listen, knowing him as long as I have, it was real exciting to know he was going to get this chance.”
Segin, Luukko says, definitely has a gift for sales and probably helped himself out with his clients by stepping in and helping the team when they needed it.
Unlike Carolina Hurricanes’ equipment manager Jorge Alves, Segin didn’t see any playing time on Friday night and ended up watching the game — in full equipment and uniform — from a television underneath the arena.
That seemed to be OK with him.
“I was walking around [before the game] with my sales team, talking to some clients when they called me,” said Segin, who was given No. 35 by the Panthers as that was the number he wore at UConn.
“I have gotten to practice a few times with the team and that’s fun. It’s a long season so when one of those guys need a day off, they know they can call me.”
And, if the Panthers needed a backup goalie again, would Segin be interested?
After all, Florida does has a history with losing goalies during games.
Two seasons ago, the team lost Luongo and backup Al Montoya to injury in the same game and nearly had to have goalie coach Robb Tallas go in and play.
“Absolutely,” he said.