When both Carolina Hurricanes goaltenders went down with injury they called upon Dave Ayres, a 42 year-old Zamboni driver (the machine that cleans and waters the ice) to do emergency duty. Ayres had never played a professional game of hockey before in his life. Ayres received for his valiant efforts: $500 for playing, a standing ovation from the Toronto fans, and was made an honorary citizen of North Carolina by the governor.
When both of the Carolina Hurricanes' goaltenders left Saturday's game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs with injuries, 42-year-old Dave Ayres came in as the emergency backup goaltender -- and stopped 8 of 10 shots to get credit for the 6-3 win.
Ayres allowed goals on the first two shots he faced before stopping the final eight in succession.
"Obviously, that second period was a little shaky, but I told the boys in the dressing room, 'Once we come out for the third, I'll be settled down and ready to win this one,'" Ayres said afterward on the CBC Sports broadcast.
Ayres, a Zamboni driver and arena maintenance worker for the Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, has been the regular practice goaltender for the Marlies and has appeared at Maple Leafs practices and skills sessions this season. As the emergency goalie, he was available to either team, if needed.
"It was awesome. I had the time of my life out there," Ayres told the Sportsnet broadcast after the game. After he was named the No. 1 star, the crowd in Toronto gave him a loud ovation.
And his wife Sarah tweeted this later, with 'Canes coach Rod Brind'amour's after game speech.