Bear in the cage

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

At first Aaron Sorochan thought it was a joke.

He had to make sure it wasn't April Fools Day.

Yesterday the University of Alberta Golden Bears goaltender got a call from the Edmonton Oilers. Dwayne Roloson was sick at home with the flu and they needed him to back up Mathieu Garon against the New Jersey Devils.

"His coach contacted him and he did think it was a joke," said Rick Olczyk, the Oilers director of hockey administration and legal affairs. "When you get a call like that, I'm sure he was thinking 'yeah right, there's probably some good swamp land in Florida too.'

"But we signed him to an amateur tryout contract which means he gets no compensation - he doesn't get paid. It's for 24 hours and it's done after that."

Roloson was not at the morning skate, but was expected to be well enough to back up Garon last night.

However, when it became apparent Roloson would not be able to sit on the bench, the Oilers went searching for a backup goaltender.

"I was at the Millwoods Arena doing some work with the kids in our hockey program," Sorochan said. "When I got a call from the Oilers, I rushed down to my car and got down to the Oilers office and signed the one-day contract, picked up my gear, came here and enjoyed my one NHL game from the bench."

There wasn't enough time to call up a goaltender from their affiliate in Springfield, who are currently on a road trip in Texas.

So the Oilers turned to Sorochan, who was recruited to the U of A by Oilers assistant coach Rob Daum during his tenure as the Golden Bears head coach.

In order to maintain his university eligibility, Sorochan had to sign an amateur tryout contract and could not be paid for dressing with the Oilers. The provision was put in the collective bargaining agreement for emergency purposes such as last night and to allow players to attend a professional training camp without losing their university eligibility.

The CIS also had to agree to the clause.

Two years ago Sorochan, 23, attended the Oilers rookie camp. He's been with the Golden Bears since graduating from the Western Hockey League after stints with Prince Albert Raiders, Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes.

"Coming here gives you a solid understanding of what you need to do to make it to the next level," he said. "It's definitely a motivating thing for me."


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