The news these days is often depressing at worst and frustrating at best. It’s easy to get caught up in the spin cycle and let it get us down. Never fear… The News Blender has you covered. Once a week we feature Something Good and, in return, all you have to do is tell us something good that has happened to you this week, something you are thankful for, a joke, a cute animal story, an inspiring tale of heroics, a Random Act of Kindness… SOMETHING good.
This week’s Something Good is a once in a lifetime chance.
Dave Ayres, a 42 year old emergency goalie for Toronto hockey teams and building operations manager for Mattamy Athletic Centre, had such a chance after his dream to play hockey was cut short in 2004 due to a kidney disease that required a transplant, according to The Star.
The Zamboni driver served as emergency goalie for 8 years with the Marlies and the last three years for the Maple Leafs. League rules dictate that the emergency goalie be available for both home team and visiting team if the situation arises. Ayres started the evening as he has for years – he partially dressed in his goalie gear and sat alone in a room waiting for a call that almost never comes.
During the February 22 NHL game between Ayres’ hometown team, the Leafs, and visiting Carolina Hurricanes the call did come after the Canes lost both of their goalies. Ayres skated on to the ice, wearing a Maple Leafs shirt under his Canes jersey and Marlies stickers on his gear, tasked with helping the Canes retain their 3-1 lead.
For the remainder of the second half, Ayres was nervous and let 2 goals slip by. He said, “I couldn’t stop a puck if I had to.” But he promised the Canes he would settle down as the third period started and he settle down did.
By the end of the game, he had stopped 8 out of 10 Leafs’ shots, led the Canes to a 6-3 win and made NHL history. He was the first emergency goalie to win an NHL game and, at 42 years, 195 days, became the oldest goalie to win an NHL debut.
The hometown crowd, Ayres says, cheered him even though he was blocking their team’s goals. The Leafs players, even after being handed a humiliating loss on home ice, came up to Ayres and congratulated him.
The Canes were ecstatic. In a tweet, Roy Cooper, Governor of North Carolina, said, “I’m ready to make emergency goaltender and Zamboni driver David Ayres an honorary North Carolina citizen after courageous @Canes win. Amazing.”
Reimer, one of the Canes’ goalies who were injured, said that Ayres “kicked ass”. He continued, “It was unreal. It’s stupid. It’s so hard for an NHL goalie to come back after an injury. Your first game feels like you’ve never played before. For him, for what he did tonight, he’s a legend.”
Ayres received $500 for his efforts and got to keep his jersey. The Canes are selling #90 jerseys – Ayres will get royalties but part of the proceeds will go to a kidney foundation.
Getting to live a dream is something good! Now it’s your turn… tell me something good.