42-year-old Zamboni driver, kidney transplant recipient, and practice hockey goalie David Ayres, led the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-3 win after their two pro goalies were injured. Cheered by the opposing team’s fans, he was the oldest player ever to make his pro debut in a major sport.

Carolina Hurricanes’ emergency backup goalie beats Toronto Maple Leafs

Dave Ayres is a 42-year-old Zamboni driver and kidney-transplant recipient. He gets his first NHL win after Carolina’s two goalies leave the game hurt.

TORONTO — David Ayres was sitting by himself in the bowels of Scotiabank Arena when he got word that Hurricanes starting goalie James Reimer had suffered an injury.

The on-call emergency netminder in Toronto, Ayers got half dressed into his gear on the off chance something might happen to Carolina’s second option, Petr Mrazek.

Midway through the second period, Ayres noticed his cellphone started to blow up. What he didn’t realize was that Mrazek had been hurt in a scary collision with Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford and was down on the ice.

Next thing the 42-year-old Zambon… Continue Reading (6 minute read)

15 thoughts on “42-year-old Zamboni driver, kidney transplant recipient, and practice hockey goalie David Ayres, led the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-3 win after their two pro goalies were injured. Cheered by the opposing team’s fans, he was the oldest player ever to make his pro debut in a major sport.”

  1. HockeyDog66

    I watched that game live on tv. People loved it, and the moment got turned into a hockey card! I have one.

  2. sharksfan707

    The Emergency Backup Goalie rule in hockey is, IMO, the coolest rule in all of sports. It’s certainly the quirkiest.

  3. RabidOtterRodeo

    Not to mention that he works for the team that he beat

  4. AshaGray

    Props to the Carolina Hurricanes players for being great about it. If you watch the game, after every save or goal they go to him, tap him, and give him a few words of encouragement. They also did a great job playing defense to make sure they didn’t put him in a bad spot.

    Ayres said after the game that, when he came into the ice, the players told him they didn’t care if he let 10 goals in: he should just have fun and enjoy the moment. Now THAT is a team.

  5. faceintheblue

    I watched that happen in real-time. Within five minutes I was calling everyone from my grandmother to my girlfriend, telling them to turn on the television. That was a once-in-a-century moment in sports. Not only was it extremely unlikely the emergency backup goalie would ever get to play an NHL game, but for him to actually win? Everyone assumed it would be a bloodbath, and as soon as he started holding his own, the mood of the crowd just shifted. All anyone wanted in that moment was for this guy to win.

    Footage of that game should play at every family function for the rest of time. That was truly magical.

  6. wigg1es

    How is this not a movie starring Mark Wahlberg yet?

  7. Senepicmar

    Just want to point out that the team this poor, old, injured fellow beat was the Toronto Maple Leafs

  8. SageSwaaaaad

    He wasn’t even supposed to be the goalie that day, the emergency backup goalie for that arena is the goalie for the University of Toronto, he wasn’t available that day and so they instead went with David Ayers

  9. sasksasquatch

    This has lead to the only Steve Dangle video I like, a Male Leafs fan screaming over and over “YOU LOST TO A 42 YEAR OLD ZAMBONI DRIVER WHO WORKS FOR YOU.”.

    My mom is a Leafs fan as well and I’ll tell her that every once in a while.

  10. danfromwaterloo

    As a Maple Leaf fan, we know. We know.

  11. princeofthemist

    Hahah I remember this from a couple years ago! He was hockey’s Everyman for a fleeting moment. Seems like years ago, but was only last hockey season just before the pandemic!

  12. Prize_Guest

    You could have a single piece of cooked macaroni from the centre of the goal and it would beat the Leafs.

  13. hobbsarelie83

    What a bunch of jerks

  14. mhelfrich1978

    Why can’t one of the other players be the goalie?

  15. IanMc90

    Such a great game to watch! Dude was a class act

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