On the 40th anniversary of the 1980 USA Men’s hockey team winning Olympic gold, Carolina Hurricanes fans witnessed another miracle on ice. Emergency backup goaltender, David Ayres, suited up for the Hurricanes and led the team to victory.
We stan Dave Ayres, y’all. The 42-year old zamboni driver that received a kidney transplant in 2004 got his first win in the NHL against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 22, 2020. This was also the first win by an emergency back-up goalie in NHL history. Sorry Scott Foster, you didn’t get credited for your win because Chicago had already scored their game winning goal by the time you came in.
The events leading up to Ayres taking the ice weren’t so pleasant, though. Both James Reimer and Petr Mrazek went down after dirty hits from the Leafs. And that’s not even mentioning Brett Pesce going down in the game as well.
Right after he got dressed and took the ice for the Carolina Hurricanes, he allowed two early goals. But after that, boy let me tell you something. The man was, as Barstool Sports put it, A STONE WALL.
I was in attendance for Revolution Rampage’s live episode and the place was going absolutely nuts for this guy. Calling for number 90 to be retired, his merch, etc. Which, later the Canes put out they are releasing his shirsey; Ayres will collect royalties, with portions of the proceeds going to charity. He was making save after save on the biggest hockey stage in the world. This guy had never played above junior level.
A lot of people are talking about how the Leafs lost to a zamboni driver. But something that isn’t getting enough attention from the media, outside of those covering the Carolina Hurricanes, is how the team rallied behind Dave.
They lost both of their star goaltenders in quick succession, both from dirty plays. But Joel Edmundson did get Kyle Clifford some payback for his hit on Petr later on. And all seemed lost after Dave allowed those two early goals. But then something happened. Dave just started making saves. And this started to fire up the team. Who then started putting even more pucks in the back of the net and shut down Toronto defensively.
Then post game, Dave got stick taps from the Leafs and mobbed by the entire Hurricanes team. But the latter was obviously expected after that performance. He then got the first star of the game. And showered with hugs and water whenever he entered the Hurricanes locker room. Still don’t know what his win song was yet though.
David Ayres, don’t know if you’ll see this, but thank you from all the Hurricanes fans for a jaw dropping performance. You’ll drink for free whenever you’re in Raleigh from now on.
Question for CC readers: Will you buy Ayres gear?