Anthony Stolarz to make hockey history as first NJ-born NHL goalie
PHILADELPHIA — A former Ocean County hockey player makes NHL history Sunday night with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Anthony Stolarz, 22, is expected to become the first New Jersey born goalie to play in the NHL when he makes a scheduled start for the Flyers against the Calgary Flames at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
"My son will become the answer to a trivia question," laughed Anthony's mother, Karol, who will be at the game along with a contingent from Jackson and also St. Vianney where Anthony finished his high school hockey career.
"I'm happy to be sharing this moment with them," Anthony told NHL.com.
Karol Stolarz said Anthony was a Devils fan growing up and his favorite player was fellow goalie Martin Brodeur.
"They met once at an autograph session after a game," she said.
He played for St. John Vianney in Howell as a freshman, and then Jackson Memorial for his sophomore and junior years before playing for the Corpus Christie, Texas IceRays his senior year.
"He was a very smart kid — a National Honor Society type. He could have gone to Harvard but chose Nebraska," Peter Morris, his coach at Jackson Memorial, said.
Morris said he is so confident in his former player's ability that he has tickets to the next Flyers' game on Tuesday.
Anthony Stolarz also played for the London Knights in Ontario, Canada before being drafted by the Flyers in 2012 and sent to the Flyers AHL afaffiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
"This couldn't happen to a nicer kid. His whole family is terrific" Morris said.
New Jersey's best-known hockey player, former Devil and Flyer Jim Dowd from Brick, also praised Stolarz's family.
"He comes from a great family and he's a tremendous kid," Dowd said, adding Anthony Stolarz played in the high school all-star hockey game he used to run.
Stolarz has been called up to the Flyers seven times and but has never played in 26 games.
"For me it was all about being patient and working hard. The coaches told me to just be ready because you'll get your opportunity. It's my job to show them I was ready," Anthony said.
Dowd said the Flyers, the last team he played for before retiring in 2008, "took their time and then brought (Stolarz) up the right way. He's ready to go."
Dowd said he'll be rooting for him to do well.