Alaska hockey fans and family celebrate Jeremy Swayman’s first NHL victory

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 8:33 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage goaltender Jeremy Swayman made his National Hockey League debut for the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. The rookie survived a barrage of 42 shots from the Flyers to help the Bruins win 4-2, and became the third Alaskan goalie to play in the NHL.

Back in Anchorage, his father Ken Swayman received a barrage of texts congratulating the Swayman family on Jeremy’s first NHL win.

“At the end of last night’s game it went ballistic — constant ringing, very special,” Ken Swayman said, referring to the non-stop text messages he received after the Bruins game. “Lots of kind messages from people in the community who really care.”'

Under normal circumstances, Swayman’s father would have been at the game in Philadelphia, but he was unable to attend because of COVID-19 restrictions and limited seating at the game.

“I don’t like to miss any games, I don’t even like to miss the practices but the restrictions were so tough,” Ken Swayman said. “I watched on TV like everybody else. (It was) hard to sit, hard to contain myself, especially when they are shorthanded.”

The excitement for Swayman’s first NHL victory was felt by many in the Alaska hockey community, including Merit Waldrop, his former youth coach.

“You can’t really explain it,” Waldrop said. “As a coach, you’re super proud.”

Waldrop a former University of Alaska Anchorage and Aces hockey player, added shortly after the Flyers and Bruins game, Swayman facetimed from the team bus and thanked him. The Alaska Oilers coach said Swayman’s commitment to hockey was apparent from a young age.

“As a kid, I had to tell him less is more,” Waldrop said. “He would want to skate two, three or four hours in a row.”

Waldrop recalls a trip to California with Swayman as a 16-year-old, during which the opposing team had 70 shots but Swayman’s team won 2-1 thanks to his play in net. Those same heroics were on display Tuesday in Philadelphia when Swayman made 40 saves to help the Bruins defeat the Flyers.

Before playing for the Bruins, Swayman suited up for their American Hockey League affiliate the Providence Bruins this season where he put together an 8-1 record in net with 1.89 goals-against average. Boston called up both Swayman and fellow Providence netminder Daniel Vladar after Tuuka Rask and Jaroslav Halak were sidelined recently for an injury and due to COVID-19 protocol, respectively.

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