Zamboni Driver Called Up by NHL Team To Serve as Emergency Goalie, Helps Secure Win


The Carolina Hurricanes were forced to use an emergency goaltender against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night after both of the team’s netminders left with injuries.

David Ayres, who works as a Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies, an American Hockey League affiliate of the Maple Leafs, served as the emergency goalie.

The 42-year-old Ayres was forced into action in Marlies gear and a Hurricanes jersey midway through the second period after Carolina’s James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured.

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The Hurricanes were leading 3-1 when Ayres took over.

The Zamboni driver helped the team secure a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.

Ayres, from Whitby, Ontario, has backed up both the Marlies and the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL in the past.

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Reimer started, but left just 6:10 into the first period with a lower-body injury after Toronto’s Zach Hyman shoved a Hurricanes defenseman on top of him in the crease.

Mrazek came in, but also had to leave after a collision with Leafs forward Kyle Clifford while attempting to play the puck near the face-off dot in Carolina’s zone in the second.

Both Hyman and Clifford were given penalties.

Home teams are required to have an emergency goalie on-call who is available to either team.

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Ayres was paid $500 for his services and was able to keep his game-worn jersey.

Shirts are available for sale with Ayres’ name and number. According to the Carolina Hurricanes Twitter account, royalties from the shirt will go directly to Ayres.

The team is also working with him to identify a charity to also receive a portion of the proceeds.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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