Zamboni driver turned NHL goalie David Ayres given his own hockey card
TORONTO -- The Toronto-area Zamboni driver who became famous after suiting up at the last minute for the Carolina Hurricanes has now been awarded a hockey card in his honour.
David Ayres, a 42-year-old from Whitby, Ont., joined the Hurricanes as an emergency goalie on Saturday after both their regular goalies left the game due to injury. Ayres went on to make eight saves on 10 shots to help the Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3.
- Read more from CTV Toronto: Ayres’ stick gets a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame
Since the win, Ayres has become an internet sensation, leading to appearances on the TODAY show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, to name a few. He went to Raleigh, N.C., where he celebrated “David Ayres Day” in the city by signing autographs from Hurricanes fans and ringing the “siren sounder” before the game.
The stick Ayres used in the game has also been sent to the Hockey Hall of Fame, due to the fact he is now the oldest goalie to win in their NHL debut and the only emergency goalie to ever record an official win in the league.
Ayres’ 15 minutes of fame is not yet over, however, as the trading card company Upper Deck has created a hockey card in his name.
“When we saw the moment, we were blown away by how special it was,” Chris Carlin, head of customer experience at Upper Deck, said in a phone interview with CTVNews.ca.
Ayers is featured in Upper Deck’s “Game Dated Moments” collection, which are cards unveiled on a weekly-basis that highlight notable performances from the past week. Ayres’ card features him standing in the Hurricanes’ net, wearing the team’s jersey and Maple Leafs equipment, while the back of the card tells the story of the game.
Other cards in Ayres’ pack include an Alexander Ovechkin card highlighting his 700th career goal and one about Los Angeles Kings forward Gabriel Vilardi, who scored his first NHL goal just 10 seconds into his first shift.
Carlin said the cards for each week are chosen based on fan requests and that calls for an Ayers card were “like something we’ve never seen before." It’s already one of their top-performing weekly designs.
“We knew it was a special moment, so it was important for us to dedicate all the resources we had to acquiesce to our fans,” he said.
“There is surprisingly huge demand for a 42-year-old rookie.”
Creating the card didn’t come without its own challenges, however. Because Ayres is not a member of the NHL Players Association, Upper Deck had to secure a deal with Ayres directly for permission to make the card.
“I was surprised myself that we were able to get this done in three days,” Carlin said. “Our window is so tight on these ‘Game Dated Moments’ cards that it’s really a tough one to get done. It’s not the hardest thing to go out and get an image rights deal with someone, but to get it done within three days is pretty much unheard of.”
Carlin said Ayres will also have a “Young Guns” rookie card in his name, which is set for release in mid-May and some autographed cards at a later date.
“We disputed perhaps calling it an ‘old guns’ given his age, because typically the players are anywhere from 18 to 20,” he joked.
Carlin added certain versions of Ayers’ rookie card will only be printed 10 or 100 times, meaning they could hold some serious value.