Happy Story: A Zamboni Driver Was Brought Into an NHL Game as an Emergency Goalie

February 25, 2020
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On Saturday, the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes were in a MAJOR bind, after injuries to BOTH of their goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek.

All NHL teams are required to have an emergency goalie in the building, and Carolina had one in 42-year-old David Ayres, who was actually the maintenance man and Zamboni driver at the arena.  (???)

This is usually just a procedural thing.  Ayres was actually the emergency goalie designated for both the Hurricanes and the home team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ayres was handed a jersey, and was thrown into action in the second period.  He gave up two goals right away . . . but then made eight straight saves to help Carolina win the game 6-3.

He became the first emergency goalie to be credited a win in NHL history, and he played more than 28 minutes, which is also a record for an emergency goalie.

After the game, Ayres said, quote, "It was awesome.  I had the time of my life . . . I was in the media room by myself and a guy comes in and said 'get going.'  Then I walked down the tunnel.  It was wild . . .

"The guys told me to have fun with it.  Don't worry about how many goals go in . . . [they said] just enjoy it, and this is your moment."

Ayres has been designated as an emergency goalie before, and he's played some amateur hockey as a goalie . . . but he's never been on the ice in a pro game before.  Well, outside of driving the Zamboni.

Ayres was paid $500 for his effort, and will get to keep his game jersey.  But he won't be a new member of the team.  The Hurricanes made some moves to add two more goalies to their roster.

But the Hurricanes are calling Ayres an ICON on social media, and the team is selling shirts with his name and #90.  He will get royalties, and a portion of them will go to a kidney foundation in his honor.  Ayres had a kidney transplant in 2004.

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