'This is your moment, take it all in and have fun,' Canes fill-in goalie recalls win
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Sunday, February 23, 2020 1:58PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, February 23, 2020 5:26PM EST
A 42-year-old Whitby hockey coach and zamboni driver is Canada’s newest sports darling, holding his own against a Maple Leafs side with players nearly half his age, helping the Carolina Hurricanes notch a record-setting 6-3 win.
But despite the newfound fame, Dave Ayres told CP24 he’s taking it in stride and not getting ahead of himself.
“If someone needs a really old guy who can stop eight of ten shots then maybe, but who knows,” Ayres said, joking about the chances he’ll make it to NHL ice again soon.
Ayres was sitting a dressing room, ready and waiting, when Petr Mrazek was hurt in a collision with Maple Leaf Kyle Clifford in the second period on Saturday.
“The walk out there I felt fine and then soon as you get in there you feel the noise and see the people, the nerves start to kick in,” Ayres said, adding the remainder of the second period was a bit shaky.
“Everything’s faster – I think I was kind of in awe of what was going on around me,” Ayres, who wears number 90, said.
He eventually saved eight of ten shots, earning himself a place in the history books as the NHL’s oldest-ever goalie to record a win.
At one point, he said a Hurricanes player approached him and said “this is your moment, take it all in and have fun.”
After the buzzer sounded, the whole team mobbed him on the ice to congratulate him, and the celebrations continued in the dressing room.
Ayres wife, Sarah, said she has watched her husband put in maximum effort in hockey for years, and it finally paid off.
“People complain about age but he’s put in 110 per cent every step of the way,” she said.
He received a kidney from his mother in a procedure at Toronto’s St. Mike’s Hospital, and Sarah says he doesn’t often let on how much he has struggled.
“He’ll never let you know that he has down days – it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”
Dave and Sarah say they will be in Raleigh, North Carolina on Tuesday to accept more praise for the stellar performance.
They both say they’ll frame the puck used in the game, as well as his jersey, once it dries off.