David Ayres is a Canadian ice resurfacer driver at Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto, Ontario, who is best known for playing in a National Hockey League (NHL) game on February 22, 2020, for the Carolina Hurricanes as an emergency backup goaltender, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6–3, and becoming the first emergency goaltender to record a win in NHL history.
Ayres is a native of Whitby, Ontario, and grew up playing youth ice hockey and camps in the town. His late father, Bob, and his brother, Chris, were also goaltenders. He became ill and required a kidney transplant (donated by his mother, Mary) in 2004.
In 2012, Ayres began working as a Zamboni driver and maintenance worker at Ricoh Coliseum (now Coca-Cola Coliseum) in Toronto, which is the home arena for the Toronto Marlies. In addition to these duties, he is now also a practice goaltender for the Marlies and Maple Leafs.
Ayres played eight games with the Norwood Vipers of the Allan Cup Hockey League in 2014. As a goaltender, he allowed 58 goals, had a .777 save percentage and an 0–8 record. Ayres has served as a backup to both the Toronto Marlies and Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey League (AHL), the primary affiliates of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes, respectively.
On February 22, both of the Carolina Hurricanes’ goaltenders, James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured during a game against the Maple Leafs. Ayres entered the game during the second period as the emergency backup goaltender, after signing a one-game contract with the NHL. He entered the game at 8:41 left in the 2nd period, meaning he played almost an entire half of the game in goal.
Similarly, he allowed goals on the first two shots he faced before stopping the next eight shots on goal to seal a 6–3 win for Carolina. He became the first emergency backup to enter a game in the NHL since Scott Foster in 2018. Ayres also became the oldest goaltender (at 42 years, 194 days) to win his NHL regular-season debut. He was named the first star of the game; he was paid $500 for the game and also received his game-worn jersey and the game puck. Reimer also gave Ayres an autographed goalie stick, and Rod Brind’Amour, Carolina’s coach, gave Ayres an autographed bottle of wine. His debut occurred on the 40th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice.
Following the game, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they would be selling t-shirts with Ayres’ name and jersey number 90, with royalties going to Ayres and a portion of the proceeds being donated to a kidney foundation of Ayres’ choice.
- Full Name: David Ayres
- Date of Birth: August 12, 1977
- Age: 42
- Birth Place: Whitby, Ontario, Canada
- Height: 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
- Weight: 201 lb (91 kg; 14 st 5 lb)
- Position: Goaltender
- Caught: Left
- Played for: Carolina Hurricanes
- NHL Draft: Undrafted
- Playing career: since 2020–2020
- Net Worth: N/A
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Reference David Ayres