David Ayres got to live out a scenario that most people only dream about. He got to step in as a substitute goalkeeper for an NHL team. The Zamboni driver’s goalieperformance was one for the ages, and now he’s even getting his own hockey card.
Upper Deck announced the new collectible on Twitter, writing “Get excited @35Ayres, your husband is getting an official Upper Deck @NHL @Canes trading card! He will also get an Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie card in 2019-20 NHL SP Authentic due out in mid-May.”
The 42-year-old Ayres works as a maintenance operations manager and part-time Zamboni driver. He also happens to be the practice and emergency goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In a historic move, the Carolina Hurricanes recruited Ayres after both of their goaltenders were injured during a recent match in Toronto.
Not only did Ayres get to play in an actual NHL game, but he also led the Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory.
Aside from his professional debut being commemorated on a hockey card, Ayres also donated the stick he used to the Hockey Hall Of Fame.
“There’s so much excitement and then all of a sudden the crowd sees you,” Ayres told CBC News, “Your legs lock up and the nerves go crazy.”
While the story of a Zamboni driver getting to be an NHL goalkeeper for a day is inspiring, Ayres already had experience on the ice, having played in a competitive men’s league in 2014.
With all of the exposure he’s receiving, the substitute goalie is using his platform for a good cause: organ donation awareness. He had a kidney transplant in his early twenties.
He may never take the ice again during a professional game (especially so close to the playoffs), but David Ayres has quickly become an indelible part of hockey history.