A 42-year-old Toronto man who usually spends his time on the ice driving a Zamboni machine, had his chance to shine as an emergency goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes in Toronto on Saturday night.
Dave Ayres, 42, was subbed in as an emergency goalie for the Hurricanes during the second period of a 6-1 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs after both of the Hurricanes' goaltenders, James Reimer and Petr Mrazek, left the game due to injuries. Because home teams are required to have an emergency goalie available to both teams on-call, the Hurricanes decided to call Ayres up for the rest of the game.
Ayres, who became the oldest goaltender in league history to win in his regular season debut, gave up two goals in the second period, but stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period.
"It was awesome," Ayres said following his NHL debut. "Obviously time of my life out there. I've been on this ice many times without fans, put fans in the mix it's a whole different game obviously, but, hey once in a lifetime, I'll take it."
The Hurricanes won their game against the Maple Leafs, 6-3.
"These guys were awesome," he said. "Actually the spot that settled me down, one of the guys (Erik Haula) said to me, 'Just have fun. We don't care if you let 10 goals in.' That settled me right down and it was great."
Ayres' performance in the game was so good, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper offered to make the 42-year-old an honorary North Carolina citizen.
"I'm ready to make emergency goaltender and Zamboni driver David Ayres an honorary North Carolina citizen after courageous @Canes win. Amazing," Cooper tweeted.
When he's not on the ice as an emergency goaltender, Ayres is a Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. He also works as a maintenance man at the Marlies' arena in Toronto, the Coca-Cola Coliseum, Fox Sports reports.
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