Zamboni Driver Steals Show, Takes Social Media by Storm

On Saturday, February 22, the day Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin scored his 700th goal, another hockey story happened that completely overshadowed Ovechkin’s milestone. Any other day in the league, a future Hall of Famer crossing a milestone would dominate the day’s social media coverage. Instead, a regular man went from being known only to his coworkers to a sensation across the sport. 

With just under nine minutes remaining in the second period of a Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs game in Toronto, 42-year-old David Ayres entered the game as an emergency backup goalie for the Hurricanes. An emergency backup goalie, or EBUG, is an arena provided goalie that can enter play in the event that a team’s goalie tandem cannot finish the game, regardless of that person’s professional affiliations. 



That being said, a dive into Ayres background is what makes this story truly interesting. The father of three is currently employed by the Toronto Maple Leafs organization as a Zamboni driver for the minor league affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. He also underwent a life-saving kidney transplant in 2004.


The fact that an Emergency Backup Goalie was used, while rare, is not necessarily noteworthy. Just more than two years ago, Scott Foster entered into a Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets game, making seven saves to preserve the hawks 6-2 win for the hawks. 



Ayres would finish the rest of the game, allowing two goals but stood strong to not only become the first Emergency Goalie to earn a win but would also be victorious against the organization that employs him—the NHL’s CBA currently allows for a team employee to enter into a game in relief of their opponents netminder. 

Moreover, at 42, Ayres is the second oldest NHL player to earn his first career victory. 


Following the game, the reactions to this unique accomplishment were almost overwhelmingly positive. Even the Leafs home crowd gave him an ovation as it was announced he earned the First Star of the Game honors. 

There was, however, one member of the Leafs nation who didn’t take too kindly to this loss. Sportsnet contributor and best-selling author, Steve “Dangle” Glynn, took to his Youtube page to share his thoughts on the game. His six-minute, scream-filled rant earned him more than three hundred thousand views on the first day it was posted.

In the days following the game, Ayres became the talk of not just the Hockey world, but his name dominated the news cycle. He even made appearances on The Late Show and The Today Show.


The NHL’s media department was on the ground following one of his media packed days.

It is safe to say David Ayres has taken the world by storm and will forever be a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, who honored him before their February 25 game against the Dallas Stars.  

His legend will be forever enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame, where his goalie stick will now be featured. 



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