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Zamboni Driver Turns Emergency Goalie, Becomes Oldest to Win NHL Game

By Craig Bannister | February 24, 2020 | 10:55am EST

When their first two goaltenders were injured in Saturday’s National Hockey League (NHL) game, the Carolina Hurricanes turned to a 42-year-old Zamboni driver to save the day.

42 year-old emergency goalie David Ayers (Screenshot)

David Ayres, a Zamboni driver and emergency backup goalie under contract to the league, took to the ice, stopped 8 of 10 shots, and became the oldest goalie to win an NHL debut as the Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3.

Ayres became an instant celebrity following the win. He was named the player of the game, made televised appearances on national news programs – and will even be honored with a day in his honor on Tuesday, NHL.com reports:

“Ayres, 42, is a maintenance operations manager at Mattamy Athletic Centre and practice goalie for the Maple Leafs and their American Hockey League affiliate in Toronto. He became the oldest goalie to win his NHL debut after James Reimer (lower-body) and Petr Mrazek (upper-body) were injured Saturday.”

“The Whitby, Ontario, native was named the game's No. 1 star and was inspired by the reception he received after returning to ice to acknowledge the crowd.

“Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin proclaimed Tuesday "David Ayres Day" in the North Carolina capital, and the emergency backup goalie will crank the siren before Carolina's game against the Dallas Stars.”

As of Sunday, the Hurricanes had already sold more than 3,200 Ayres jersey t-shirts at the stadium’s team store.

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