What did the team do? They pulled out a 42-year-old Zamboni driver to stand in as their goalie – to incredible results!
Dave Ayres, the Zamboni Driver Turned Hero
Much like other hockey fans, Dave also dreamed of becoming a pro athlete, but little did he know that dream would soon come true. Since the goalie is a complex and dynamic position, NHL teams usually have a plan B that involves asking a player to serve as their emergency backup goalie.
Typically, that player has collegiate or minor-league experience. It rarely happens that both of the main goaltenders get hurt during a game and the backup has to be called in, but that is precisely what happened with Dave.
The Oldest Major Athlete Debut
Ayres is an occasional practice goalie and a Zamboni driver for the minor league affiliate of Toronto. When the visiting squad from Carolina had to use his goalie services, Dave got to put on an NHL jersey for the first time in his life. Midway through the game, the heavy burden of taking over the goalie position fell on his shoulders. Although he had a rocky start by missing two goals, he then quickly got into the rhythm of the game and helped the Hurricanes win by 6-3.
Ayres is now the oldest major league athlete in history to make his debut at age 42. Who said dreams don’t come true?