The Los Angeles Kings brought goaltending coach Dusty Imoo’s son Jonah into their system on a 25-game tryout contract at the AHL level earlier this month, following the injury of NHL starting netminder Jonathan Quick. He replaced veteran Peter Budaj with the Ontario Reign, as Budaj was recalled to Los Angeles to serve as backup to Jeff Zatkoff.
Now, Zatkoff has been injured in practice for the Kings as well – so with AHL prospect Jack Campbell making his way up to the Kings as well, the Reign will see a unique tandem in net tonight.
Lindsay Czarnecki, who serves as the official insider for the AHL Reign, confirmed on Saturday morning that Jonah Imoo will be starting in net for the minor league club tonight. Backing him up, though, will be his own father, serving as the emergency backup for the 22-year-old netminder.
Dusty Imoo, a Canadian-born Japanese goaltender who spent years skating in the Japanese and Asian pro leagues, has served as LA’s goaltending development coach for the last season, working with the team’s AHL prospects. Prior to that, he worked with the St. John’s Ice Caps.
His son, who grew up skating in British Columbia, is currently playing at his highest level of hockey with the Reign. He skated with the Louisiana IceGators of the SPHL for one game last year, then with the Port Huron Prowlers of the FHL for two games. Prior to going pro, he stood in net for the Powell River Kings and the Merritt Centennials, both of the BCHL.
The Kings will likely need to address their quickly-depleting goaltending depth sooner rather than later; neither Imoo seem suited as a long-term solution at the AHL level, and the injury bug in net for Los Angeles could always strike again.
For now, though, this is the feel-good story of the year.