Bench Hall of Fame: David Ayres
Last Friday night David Ayres was living every Canadian kid’s dream. Within 24 hours, he went from being a run-of-the-mill zamboni driver, to living the life of a professional goalie. Ayres, the Toronto Marlies zamboni driver, was signed to an amateur tryout by the Marlies on an emergency basis.
The whole situation unfolded when James Reimer went down with an injury last Friday and the Leafs had to recall Bibeau to back up Sparks. On such short notice, there was no way that Rob Madore–starting goalie of Toronto’s ECHL affilitiate, Orlando Solar Bears–was going to make it from Orlando to Toronto. Enter 38 year old zamboni driver David Ayres. His Elite Prospects profile reveals that his experience is limited to 8 games in 2014-15 with the Norwood Vipers of the ACH. Unfortunately (my priorities are way out of wack), Bernier was stellar in a 4-0 over the Rochester Americans, so Ayres did not leave the bench.
Backup goalies are the MVP of any bench. Whether it is opening the door, encouraging teammates, beaking the other team, stopping the odd puck or just looking good, they are an integral part of any team.
I just imagine Aryes dragging himself to the rink for work, rough off a night of beers and shinny with the boys, only to be told to strap on the pads. To be honest, this right-place, right-time crap is what I live for. He can tell his grandkids that he shared a bench with the great Rich Clune–and to a lesser extent William Nylander. I’ve got to give Ayres the thumbs up and induct him into the Bench Hall of Fame so that this fleeting moment is remembered.
Other members of the Bench Hall of Fame.