John Aiken

John Aiken was a mathematician who beat the odds.

A United States Air Force mathematician, Aiken also served as the Boston Bruins practice goalie. In these days it was common to carry a practice goalie as teams usually only carried one goalie for games. Born in Arlington, Massachusetts on January 1st, 1932, Aiken tended the nets for the 4 seasons with Boston University of the NCAA.

On March 13, 1958, the powerful Montreal Canadiens were in Boston for a showdown. However half way through the second period Jacques Plante got injured and was unable to finish the game. Without another goaltender, the Habs asked for Boston's permission to use their practice goalie, John Aiken. The Bruins obliged.

The Bruins had only scored 1 goal against Plante, but lit up Aiken as though it were a practice, not an NHL regular season contest. In 34 minutes of play Aiken gave up 6 goals. His goals-against-averaged was a bloated 10.59.

Aiken never played hockey at high level after that stint. Instead he carved out at a career using his skills as a mathematician.


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