Darlene Tokarski is ready to wear a groove into her living room floor tonight. Her son Dustin will be starting in goal for the Montreal Canadiens as they take on the New York Rangers in the NHL playoffs.
It's been a crazy few days for the 24-year old goalie from Watson, Sask.
He was thrust into the spotlight when Montreal's starting goaltender Carey Price went down with an injury. Tokarski, who was an AHL all-star this season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, started game 2 of the Canadiens-Rangers series and made 27 saves in a 3-1 loss. The start surprised both Dustin and his mother.
"He called on game day. And when he calls on the day of a game, we kind of suspect it's big news," Darlene Tokarski told the host of CBC Saskatchewan's Morning Edition Stefani Langenegger.
Tokarski grew up playing Sockball
Darlene said her son has always wanted to play goal in the NHL. When Dustin was little, she developed his skills in a unique way.
"All Dustin wanted to do was play sockball, which is when you roll up a ball of socks and I would take shots on him. Right from when he was little. That's all he wanted to do," she said.
"But he had to make sure his room was clean first before we would play."
'I do an awful lot of pacing and praying and glimpsing' - Darlene Tokarski
Darlene and her husband will be watching tonight's game at their daughter's home in Humboldt. Even though Dustin has played in big events like the Memorial Cup and IIHF World Junior Championship, Darlene said it's never easy to watch.
"I do an awful lot of pacing and praying and glimpsing. I am extremely nervous."
The Canadiens are down 2-0 in the series, but if they can win tonight in New York City, the Tokarski family hopes to watch Dustin in person when the series heads back to Montreal.