42-year old Zamboni driver gets improbable win in debut

Playing goalie in the NHL, or any level of hockey, has to be one of the hardest things in sports to do. The average slap shot in the NHL travels roughly between 80-93 mph and then you people blocking your vision and it seems impossible to stop.

The Carolina Hurricanes were taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The starting goalie for the Hurricanes, James Reimer, went down with an injury and backup goalie Petr Mrazek took over. During that time, David Ayres, who was sitting in the stands at Scotiabank Bank Arena with his wife and is the Hurricanes' on-call emergency goalie, got a call. Ayres left his seat and got halfway dressed in the off-chance something happened to Mrazek.

And then it did.

The NHL requires home teams to have an emergency on-call goalie for either team. For Ayres, a Zamboni driver for the Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, it was his time to shine.

He gave up goals on consecutive shots that he faced before settling down and securing a 6-3 for the Hurricanes. Ayres would save eight consecutive shots after conceding the first two.

David Ayres, 42, had a kidney transplant 15 years ago and was not sure he would ever play hockey again. He has been a practice goalie for the Maple Leafs and Marlies for the past eight years.

He becomes the oldest goalie to win his NHL regular season debut.

For his troubles, Ayres received $500 per a try-out agreement contract and got to keep his jersey. The Carolina Hurricanes created a shirt with Ayres' number and are giving him royalties as well as working with him to identify a kidney foundation to receive a portion of the proceeds.

A 42-year old Zamboni driver making his NHL debut 15 years after a kidney transplant and gets the win.

This is probably one of the best stories you will see all year.


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